Slip-and-Fall Accident Dos and Don’ts
Falls account for about eight million visits to the hospital emergency room every year. Slip-and-fall accidents account for about 12% of those ER visits. The cost of medical treatment, including hospital stays, is over $30,000 on average. The unexpected cost and lost time at work can devastate families.
The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents expects slip-and-fall accidents at the workplace will decline since many employees are now working from home. But an uptick in claims connected to civil unrest and worsening weather is predicted.
However, accidents can happen anywhere including at the grocery store, as this $1-million-case against BJ’s Wholesale Club illustrates. Of course, not all cases are worth $1 million. The average is in the tens of thousands, between $30,000 and $40,000. Regardless of what yours is determined to be worth, an experienced lawyer who is well-versed in the process is a critical component in your success when trying to sue somebody for a slip-and-fall accident.
While no two situations are the same, there are some dos and don’ts that will greatly improve your chances of getting a fair settlement.
Proving Premises Liability
Victims of slip-and-fall accidents are caught off guard, and even if you have a great memory, you may be surprised at how many details slip your mind after the fact. That is why you want to document the scene and if possible, record it.
The key to being successful in your lawsuit is to prove premises liability which means that the responsible party was negligent and ignored dangerous circumstances that caused your fall. You can make your case airtight by taking pictures, cellphone videos, and making notations of uneven pavement, debris in the way, icy conditions, poor lighting, or anything else that led up to your fall. Also, note the lack of any hazardous condition warning signs that you would have heeded if they had been there.
After you’ve documented the scene and preserved evidence, the next thing to do is tally up your lost income and time kept away from your job. Gather together pay stubs and expense receipts for anything related to your accident and keep them in a safe place.
What Not to Do
Don’t delay seeking medical treatment. Whether your injuries are severe or minor, immediately seek treatment in the emergency room. Any delay will give the defendant the opportunity to say that your injuries happened in the time after you left the accident scene. Even if you do not feel particularly sick, you may have a head injury or concussion that needs to be checked right away. Concussions can produce vague symptoms which are not always immediately apparent.
Don’t wait to file. The statute of limitations for slip-and-fall accidents is different in each state. In New York, you have up to 3 years to file. Keep in mind also that soon after your accident, the insurance company or at-fault entity or person could ask you to sign a waiver or some other written statement. Definitely politely decline to sign anything, regardless of how harmless it may seem, without consulting your lawyer first. Doing so could absolve the negligent party of any guilt whatsoever. Let your lawyer review any document so you don’t unknowingly sign away your rights.
Greenstein & Milbauer attorneys have decades of experience representing injured clients and helping them recover significant awards for damages. You deserve rightful compensation for your injuries as well as money lost because of an extended absence from work. Securing the right representation, avoiding common pitfalls, and following the correct procedures will go a long way toward ensuring your success.