A “slip and fall” injury can damage more than just your self-esteem. Slip and falls are a leading cause of injuries, sometimes resulting in fatalities. Whether at a shop, office, apartment or government complex, your injury can cause months of intense pain and rehabilitation, lost wages and over-the-top medical bills.
There are some proactive and simple steps you can take to help yourself:
- Get immediate and ongoing medical help. The full extent of your injury or pain may not be understood until later. If you dislike going to the doctor, you may choose to suffer through the pain — but delaying medical treatment can upset your case just as much as accepting a settlement before you know the extent of your injury. Without immediate or ongoing treatment, the insurer may argue that some later event caused your condition.
- Create a detailed file, ASAP. You must prove your accident was caused by certain conditions. For reasons of legal evidence, it is preferable if the property manager creates a timely report. While potential defendants are usually disinclined to help your case — sometimes they even displace or destroy evidence — they may inadvertently admit things against their interest which may be helpful to your case. A report of the accident should include detailed witness statements and the circumstances of the fall, with exact time and dates. In this way, you can guard against a defendant who may claim your injury never happened.
- Determine what caused the accident. For a sustainable injury claim, it is essential to identify the injury causing condition. For example, was it an uneven surface or a hole in the ground? Did a solid or liquid object cause your fall? Time and date-stamped photos can spark your memory about an overlooked but vital detail. If cracks or uneven surfaces caused your fall, a simple ruler may gauge the scale of the location. Be aware that the accident scene often changes because the owner may remove or displace evidence. Some locations, like a construction site, evolve daily.
- Retain a competent law firm. A quality firm will have the means and expertise to thoroughly analyze the location where you fell by obtaining proof of prior problems at the scene from witnesses, physical evidence and/or surveillance video footage and will pick the appropriate expert for your case. The attorneys may partner with a structural engineer to prove safety hazards. If a trial is necessary, an expert jury consultant may help. A reputable lawyer can identify all potential defendants — owners (sometimes multiple), employers, parent companies and service providers. Sometimes you are dealing with a major conglomerate with an army of lawyers. In Florida, your case must be filed within four years or you risk permanently forfeiting your right to sue.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident in Florida, level the playing field by contacting the Law Offices of Cohn & Smith, PA.