I would love to say that every commercial location has its facilities in perfect repair, but the truth is there can be a lot of hazards out there in all the regular places you visit – restaurants, grocery stores, hotels and the like. Think of how many times you’ve just missed tripping over that torn carpeting, or strained to see in a poorly lit narrow stairway. Or how many times you’ve seen a spill on a tile floor just sitting there, an accident waiting to happen in plain sight. Under any of these conditions, a slip and fall could cause some real pain. And not just physical pain.
What would you do if Grandma fell at the local supermarket, you tripped at a car dealership, or your friend slipped in liquid at a restaurant on the way to the restroom? What should you expect? Who do you call? Is it okay to have them call an ambulance?
From the moment a fall happens, forms can be pressed into your hands to record the incident, people may surround you asking questions and with all that happening at once, you might not be sure how to handle it. You’re likely still in shock from the actual impact!
We don’t want the aftermath of the fall to cause as much, if not more, damage than the fall itself. So here are the five things you must do when you, or someone you are with, is involved in a slip and fall at a commercial location. These may not be the first things on your mind but they’re important to the big picture of your recovery.
- Notify someone immediately and get help. The first thing you should do is make sure that you notify someone in charge at the location of the incident. If you are injured, don’t hesitate to have the business (or someone nearby) call for an ambulance. Your safety is the most important thing!
- File a police report. If it’s an emergency situation, call 9-1-1. This will summon an ambulance and the police. If it isn’t an emergency, look up the number for the non-emergency local police so that you can file a report. This is a must! You want your experience captured by an independent party.
- Take pictures. We’ve all heard it said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, in the case of a slip and fall, it can be the key to getting you the help you desperately need. If you slipped on water on the floor or tripped because of a hole, take a picture of it. Also be sure to take a picture of the exact location of the fall. This could be important because the owner of the location and the owner of the parking lot or plaza may be different. The more visual detail of the incident you have, the better.
- Get the names and contact information for any witnesses. Along with photo evidence, statements from eyewitnesses can be vital to helping establish the exact location and details of the incident. When you’re hurt, sometimes it’s hard to remember exactly how things happened and having eyewitness accounts can fill in any gaps. Most good citizens will be willing to help so don’t be afraid to ask!
- Contact an attorney soon after. An attorney can help you with much of what comes after a slip and fall incident, starting with obtaining any video evidence that might exist. Many locations have video cameras on premises that save to a hard drive. However, if footage isn’t requested soon enough, they may have deleted it. Still other places may only provide video if ordered by a court. An attorney can help you navigate these and other challenges surrounding the aftermath of a fall at a place of business.
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property and are considering a legal claim, you should discuss your case with an experienced attorney. You should do so quickly, as there are time limits in which injured persons may file a personal injury lawsuit. We are here to help! You can contact me either at the office or on my cell (954) 854-1920.