What to Know If You’ve Had a Slip and Fall Accident December 10, 2018 Our slip and fall attorneys are experts in premises liability cases and we’ve helped recover compensation for clients who suffered a wide range of injuries in all types of accidents involving falls. As with any personal injury, no two cases or clients are alike, but if you or a loved one has been injured in a fall on someone else’s property, a better understanding of the legal issues surrounding such accidents can help you take the right steps to ensure your rights are protected. What is premises liability? The owners and/or operators of places open to the public have a responsibility to maintain safe conditions. These places include restaurants, retail stores, grocery stores, amusement parks, office buildings, apartment complexes, construction sites and more. When an injury occurs on such premises and it can be demonstrated that the injury was caused by negligence, the owner or operator may be held liable for not having met his or her legal responsibility to maintain a safe place for the public. It’s important to understand that simply being injured on property owned by someone else does not necessarily involve negligence. In addition, even if unsafe conditions existed at the time the injury occurred, the owner or operator must be shown to (1) have known that the premises were unsafe and (2) neglected to make them safe. The circumstances surrounding slip and fall accidents aren’t always clear and the legal concept of premises liability can be complex. That’s why it’s important to consult an experienced premises liability lawyer if you’ve been injured in an accident on someone else’s property. At Harrell & Harrell, P.A., we provide free consultations to help determine if you have a case. What to do after a slip and fall accident. At best, a slip and fall accident in a public place can be embarrassing; at worst, it can mark the beginning of a long-term struggle with recovering from serious injuries. Regardless of the severity of your accident, taking a few important steps in the immediate aftermath of the event can help ensure that you receive compensation and protect your and your family’s future. If you or a loved one has a slip and fall accident, keep these tips in mind: Get medical attention right away. If you do not need emergency medical help right after your accident, see a doctor within the next 24 or 48 hours. Report your accident to the property owner or operator/manager and ask to make a formal report. Many businesses have procedures and forms as part of their policies; when they don’t, describe your accident and injuries in detail in writing and mail it to the business. If a police report was made, request a copy. Gather information, including contact information, from witnesses at the scene if you can. Take photos from several angles of the accident scene and the hazard that caused your accident. Keep records of any communications with the property owner or manager or any of their representatives. Also, keep records of all bills and receipts related to your injuries. Don’t make any statements about legal action or place blame, especially on social media. Speak with a slip and fall lawyer before you sign anything provided by a property owner or operator, or by their attorneys or insurance companies. It’s their job to settle your claim as quickly and for as little money as possible. Consult a slip and fall attorney before you file a claim against the responsible party or parties. Types of slip and fall injuries. Every slip and fall accident injury is different. Someone who may already be compromised by poor health may suffer particularly devastating injuries from what appears to be a minor accident, while another person may have serious injuries that aren’t immediately apparent. In general, these are the types of injuries our personal injury attorneys often see at Harrell & Harrell, P.A.: Torn ligaments Head injuries Neck injuries Back/spinal cord injuries Broken bones Soft-tissue injuries Treatment should be sought immediately for injuries to the head, neck or back. Although some other types of injuries may not seem to be severe, it’s important to seek prompt medical attention for those as well, since the true effects of such injuries may not be evident right after the accident. One example is soft-tissue injuries, which may result in long-term chronic pain if they are left untreated. If you have fallen on someone else’s property, see a doctor right away to help ensure you haven’t sustained serious injuries that aren’t immediately apparent and to establish documentation of your injury. Slip and fall accident causes. The first cause that comes to mind is falling on a wet, slippery floor. This can happen anywhere, but it can be especially common in establishments where food and drinks are served. Other types of public places may have wet floors when an area has just been mopped; people may slip and fall if no caution signs have been posted. There are other common causes of falling, including: Mats or area rugs that aren’t secured to the floor Carpeting with tears Waxed floors Uneven surfaces or small differences in surface heights that are not easily seen Clutter or debris that blocks walkways Potholes in parking lots A lack of sufficient lighting on walkways or floors Staircases in need of repairs Types of damages that may be recoverable. Depending upon the unique circumstances of your slip and fall case, you may be awarded compensation for economic and non-economic damages, including: Medical bills and related costs: Treatments, hospitalization, diagnostic tests, prescription medication, assistive devices, physical therapy and more. Costs of medical services required in the future: Treatments, medications, therapies and more that you may need over the long-term. Loss of income: Salary and wages missed as a result of your injuries. Your potential loss of employment: A compromised capacity for earning if you cannot perform the same type of work you performed before you were injured. Incidental expenses: Costs not directly related to medical expenses, such as transportation to and from doctor’s appointments or physical therapy sessions. Pain and suffering: Physical or emotional distress that results from your injury. When to call a slip and fall accident attorney. A fall can last just a few seconds, but its effects can last a lifetime. For the best protection of your rights after a slip and fall accident—and to increase your chances of receiving a fair settlement—consult a qualified personal injury lawyer anytime you’ve been injured in such an accident. At Harrell & Harrell, P.A., our team of attorneys, medical experts, and financial experts have deep experience in investigating accidents, building a comprehensive case, and negotiating the settlements our clients deserve. Slip and fall cases can involve multiple parties, since a property may be leased by a store owner or there may be a landlord involved, and negligence can be challenging to prove. In addition, factors such as faulty design, poor maintenance or poor construction techniques may play a role, further complicating a slip and fall case. The guidance of a team of experienced slip and fall lawyers is essential in sorting out liability, so we urge you to take advantage of a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss the particulars of your case. What to bring to your free consultation. The more information you can provide during your initial consultation with our slip and fall attorneys, the more quickly we can assess the strength of your case. Documentation to bring to your consultation includes: Medical records and invoices: Medical costs can quickly add up to an amount that can devastate a family’s finances, so keep track of all costs related to medical treatment. Documentation can help your attorney gauge the economic damages that you may be able to recover. Official reports: If any reports were made by law enforcement, security personnel, or anyone at the establishment where your accident occurred, obtain copies of those to bring to your consultation. Photos: Bring photos and/or videos that you may have taken of the accident scene and your injuries. Witness information: Names and contact numbers of witnesses, as well as the names of emergency personnel at the scene can help in your attorney’s investigation. Contact us now for a free consultation on your slip and fall accident. If you’ve slipped, fallen or been injured on someone else’s property and believe that negligence may be a factor, schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with Harrell & Harrell, P.A., before you communicate with insurance companies, attorneys or any other representatives of the establishment where your accident occurred. Call 904-251-1111 or 800-251-1111, or complete the “Do I Have A Case” form above.