Seek medical care whenever you suffer a serious injury.
This is not legal advice (which we’re not allowed to offer in a blog post, anyway). Nothing is more important than your health and well-being. Attend to yourself before you give a thought to potentially holding a negligent business or homeowner accountable for creating the situation in which you slipped, fell and got hurt.
Second, do not assume you are fine just because you don’t see blood or feel as if bones were broken. Slips and falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) among adults, and the most serious symptoms of a concussion may not manifest until hours or days after a blow to the head.
Yes, a concussion is a TBI. Symptoms may linger for years. Go to an emergency room or see your doctor if you slammed your head into a wall or on the floor. Rapid diagnosis and quick treatment of a TBI can make a huge difference in short- and long-term outcomes.
- Virginia Laws on Slips & Falls
- A Virginia Premises Liability Attorney Discusses Property Owners’ Duty of Care
- Personal Injuries Due to Items Falling From Store Shelves Are Increasing
Figure Out Why You Slipped and Fell
You will not know if you have grounds to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit until you know with a fair degree of certainty that you were not merely being clumsy or inattentive. You don’t need to become a detective or forensic scientist, but you should collect some facts to confirm your suspicion that you were put in danger unnecessarily.
Here a few suggestions for how you might go about doing that. Consulting with an attorney who has successfully advised and represented other slip and fall victims could provide more specific guidance.
Only when your health allows, report the slip and fall to the manager at the business or the homeowner where you fell. Ask the person if they knew of any unsafe conditions or slip and fall hazards at the time that you got hurt. Keep notes of the conversations and write down the name and contact information of anyone you speak with about the incident. Your personal injury attorney may want to follow up with them.
Also be sure to take pictures of the spot where you fell, and make sure to capture as much of the space as possible (floor, walls, stairs, ceiling, windows, etc.). Even if you slipped on ice or water that is no longer present when you return, detailed photos can tell a story about why a hazard formed and was not mitigated.
Keep all these interactions calm and cordial. At the same time, it won’t hurt to ask probing question about previous accidents like yours and whether records exist about structural or maintenance problems.
Last, speak with witnesses. You experienced the accident and resulting pain. The people who saw you slip and fall can paint a much fuller picture of the circumstances. Ask friends and family who were there what they noticed before and after the accident. Try to speak with business staff or other houseguests. Again, take notes.
Evidence that a business manager or homeowner knew that an injury risk existed and failed to fix the problem provides very strong grounds for pursuing a slip and fall injury case. The other information can be used to substantiate negligence and to prove that the accident could have been prevented.