How Can I Protect the Value of My Slip and Fall Injury Claim?

In the minutes after a serious slip-and-fall accident, the last thing you are thinking about is what you can do to build the strongest personal injury claim possible. While you may be confused and overwhelmed, the actions you take immediately after your accident could be the difference between a successful claim and an unsuccessful one. The outcome of premises liability claims often hinges, in no small part, on the evidence you are able to gather and what you do in the days immediately following. In slip-and-fall cases, documentation is your greatest ally. So, simple actions such as taking photos of the scene, and writing down the names and contact details of any eyewitnesses, can all strengthen your claim. If a hazardous condition on someone else’s property caused you harm, contact the Outer Banks slip-and-fall lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule a free consultation.

What To Do After a Slip and Fall Accident

Seek Immediate Medical Treatment 

The first thing you need to do following a serious slip-and-fall or any other type of accident on another person’s property is to be medically evaluated. If you are concerned that trying to move will worsen any potential injuries, stay where you are. Request that paramedics be called to the scene for immediate evaluation and treatment. If they confirm that you have been injured, ask to be transported to your local hospital. This is critical for two reasons: 

  • One in five slip-and-fall accidents results in a serious injury, so always err on the side of caution. This ensures you receive prompt medical care and prevents you from sustaining any additional injuries. 
  • If you refuse emergency assistance or transportation, the insurance adjuster or jury is probably going to call the severity of your injuries into question.

Ask for a Copy of the Incident Report

The next step you should take after a slip-and-fall accident is to make sure that an incident report is drawn up. This is an official document drafted by the owner or occupier of the premises that documents the facts of your accident, such as the day it occurred, an account of what happened, and the contact information of any witnesses.  

Juries and insurance companies tend to approach slip-and-fall injuries with a healthy dose of skepticism. Since it is written up by the owner or occupier immediately following your accident, the incident report is usually a fundamental piece of evidence that a jury or insurance company will use to assess the validity of your claim.

As inconvenient as it may be, you need to go a step further and check that the incident report is correct before you accept it.  Ask to see the report before it is completed to ensure it accurately describes what happened.  If the report is inaccurate or incomplete, insist that it be corrected. If the property owner refuses to alter the version of events contained within the report, ask if you can write up your own narrative describing the events that took place to be included along with their version. If they decline that request as well, write up your side of the story in a text or email; anything that includes a time stamp to show when it was created. Be sure to include the fact that the owner refused to write out an accurate incident report. 

Finally, make sure you get a copy of the report. Doing so is your best bet to ensure that the owner does not destroy or alter the incident report once you have left the premises.

Take Pictures

The other critical step you need to take after a slip-and-fall accident is to take pictures. When it comes to strong supporting evidence for your injury claim, a picture truly is worth a thousand words.  

Be sure to include pictures of the hazard that caused your fall. If someone comes along to repair or clean up the hazard, take pictures of that as well. Since you have no way of knowing what will and won’t be important to your claim, it is best to take as many pictures as possible of the accident scene, the surrounding area, and anything else you feel might be relevant. If you develop any visible injuries either at the scene or in the days to come, you should take pictures of those as well. 

Were You Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident?

Slip-and-fall accidents frequently cause severe injuries. To ensure your rights are protected, get immediate medical care, a copy of the incident report, and take pictures. Then, contact the experienced Outer Banks slip-and-fall lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We have over 70 years of experience in successfully establishing liability and obtaining maximum compensation for North Carolina residents who have been injured due to hazardous property conditions, such as the $800,000 jury award we won for our client when sustained a broken pelvis at a rental property after he fell on a set of stairs that was not up to code. If you are considering taking legal action after being harmed on someone else’s property, schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled slip-and-fall lawyers by calling (833) 997-1774 or filling out our online contact form. We serve clients across the Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hills areas.