A step-by-step guide on how to handle a slip and fall accident
People slip and fall all the time, often without any serious repercussions. However, occasionally slip and fall injuries can be serious — particularly among Florida’s elderly population. Injuries to the head, neck, and back are not unusual, and many of these injuries can last a lifetime.
In Florida, slip and fall victims can be compensated for these injuries in certain cases, but they are always defended strongly by the defendants and their insurance providers.
The typical defense for a slip and fall claim is one of no responsibility due to a technicality or personal fault of the claimant. Responsibility can be either direct or indirect, and it can be established in comparative fault percentages. It is the responsibility of the injured plaintiff to prove that the injury occurred due to an accident on a specific location, and that the defendant was negligent.
Proving slip and fall injury claims can be difficult, and it almost always takes the expertise of an experienced Florida slip and fall lawyer to successfully resolve a claim. If you’ve been hurt in a slip and fall accident, follow this step-by-step guide below to give yourself the best shot at winning your claim.
1. Report the accident
The first step in documenting a slip and fall incident is reporting it to the property owner, manager or operator. Sometimes the property owner or manager will respond appropriately, but many times they can be difficult. Regardless of their response, always contact emergency medical technicians by calling 911. This should alert local police officers as well, which then leads to an official accident report filing.
2. Gather evidence
Take pictures of the accident scene and ask witnesses to share what they saw. An official report is not always necessary, and accidents can happen in remote areas. But it is still important to have as much supporting evidence as is available. You don’t want to miss out on compensation by failing to gather evidence that established liability against the responsible parties.
Slip and fall cases are rarely investigated by law enforcement because they don’t always happen on public property, even though that’s possible. No detail is too small to an insurance claims agent looking to deny or reduce a claim value.
3. See a doctor immediately
It is vital to seek medical treatment as soon as possible when you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident. Injuries aren’t always apparent, and thinking you may be able to shake it off is a bad decision. Internal injuries are common with slip and fall cases, including head and neck injuries.
If medical problems manifest later and you failed to seek medical attention right after the incident, then it may be too late. Any lapse in time between the accident and treatment records could be used as a defense in the claim if it goes to court.
In addition, always follow the directions of healthcare professionals regarding rehabilitation and treatment.
4. Contact a Florida slip and fall injury attorney
Last but not least, do not delay in contacting a personal injury attorney. Your attorney can conduct a thorough investigation into the case and ensure that all responsible parties are put on notice of the event and resulting injury. This investigation can help emphasize the injury and allow your legal team to seek maximum damages from the respondent insurance company.
Many times a responsible business will not even contact their insurance company until forced to do so, and your slip and fall lawyer can make sure all potential parties are notified.
What your attorney can do that you cannot
Insurance company agents (or “adjusters”) are professionally trained negotiators who work diligently for the insurance company (not you). They do so by denying or reducing as many claims as possible. Even when a case is well-documented, insurance companies can make an issue of legal occupancy of the property where the injury occurred, along with personal contribution to the injury.
Your slip and fall attorney can anticipate these defenses and craft your case based on all of these factors. Slip and fall cases don’t always find their way to court, but they can be very contentious court matters when they do. Your attorney can make a major difference in the final outcome of the claim.
Never try to handle a slip and fall accident injury case on your own, especially when it results in serious ongoing medical issues. You only have one opportunity at justice, and it is important to make it count for everything it is worth. Tampa and Clearwater, Florida residents should always contact the law firm of Tragos, Sartes & Tragos for comprehensive aggressive representation in your slip and fall injury claim.
Contact us today for your free consultation.