Medical and Legal Guide for Slip and Fall Accidents
It’s not possible to predict accidents, no matter how careful you are. Be it a workplace or a senior care home, mistakes happen and they lead to unwanted consequences. Sometimes they are avoidable and sometimes they happen because of negligence on part of the employer or the facility owner.
Even with medical alert systems and best safety practices in place, accidents are a reality of life whether you live at home or a care home. If you become a victim of a slip and fall accident where you sustain injuries, you should know what to do so that you can file a claim for personal injuries. Here are some expert tips to guide you.
Remember that your health should be your first priority after a trip, slip, or fall. This is especially true if you sustain severe injuries – it is important to go to a doctor to have the injuries properly documented. Remember that these medical records will become important pieces of evidence if you choose to seek compensation for your injuries.
Report and document
Wherever an accident happens, it is important that you report this to the owner, landlord, or manager of the place where it occurred. Make sure to get all of the details of the accident in writing. Also, ask the owner, landlord, or manager to create a written report of the accident and give you a copy.
Write down the names, addresses, email addresses, and contact details of all witnesses. Their statements will greatly help in proving your claim should you decide to proceed with a legal claim.
Take photos of the exact place where your accident happened. Take pictures of icy patches, faulty stairs, and any other conditions that might have contributed to your accident.
Include a brief narrative about what happened before the accident, how you fell, and other significant details along with the exact date and time. Store the clothes and shoes you had on during your accident. You might need them as pieces of evidence in the future.
Know when to file your claim
You should know the laws of your state regarding the Statute of Limitations. This refers to the time limit on how long after an accident has occurred that you have to file a claim. Should you fail to file your claim within the time frame, the court won’t hear your case. As such, you won’t have eligibility for compensation.
The evidence that’s considered admissible in a slip and fall case may vary depending on what type of accident occurred. If you want to file a claim, you must gather evidence like your clothes and shoes, surveillance footage, medical records, photos of your injuries, photos of the dangerous condition or object that caused your accident, an accident report, and witness statements. Organizing these will help you build a solid case to get the financial settlement you deserve.
Hire an attorney
It is highly recommended to seek the services of a personal injury lawyer if you suffered serious injuries caused by a fall, your liability gets disputed, or your case is too complicated. Doing this helps you get the compensation that you deserve from your claim. But if you only sustained minor injuries, it is best to handle your slip and fall claim on your own.
Whichever you decide, remember that you have nothing to lose by consulting with a slip and fall lawyer. These lawyers won’t charge you for first meetings and many of them work on a contingency basis.
A lawyer will help you secure evidence that you cannot get on your own, for instance, using a subpoena to force an entity to provide copies of surveillance films or incident reports. An experienced lawyer will also protect your rights and won’t allow the other party to trick or bully you.
Getting your settlement
Often, compensation for slip and fall injury claims comes from the insurance company of the property owner. As a general rule, business properties are under the coverage of liability insurance whereas accidents at a person’s home are under the coverage of the renter’s or homeowner’s insurance.
Make sure to claim the full cost of your treatment even if it’s paid by health insurance. You also have to include out-of-pocket expenses for bandages, medications, crutches, and other medical equipment. Also, remember that the insurance company will simply give you a check for compensation.
You should always expect a negotiation for a settlement between you or your lawyer and the other party. This negotiation takes experience and time. Although most injury claims get settled out of court, some cases involve filing a lawsuit against the owner of the property if settlement negotiations don’t work out.
The injuries you sustained in a slip and fall accident might heal after a couple of days of rest or they might leave you permanently disabled. This makes it very important for you to learn everything that you can about the injury you sustained and the kind of insurance settlement to expect. To help you out, you need an experienced legal professional who has the resources to help you win your case.
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