NYC Accident Lawyers discuss what to do after you suffer a slip and fall
Slips, trips, and falls can happen due to a variety of conditions. These accidents can range from a minor contusion to catastrophic injuries. All individuals involved in a fall accident should take certain steps to protect their rights.
Report the Incident
One of the main arguments lodged by defendants and insurance companies in response to a legitimate claim is that their client received no report of the incident. The reasoning they try to tell the jury is simple. If a store owner was not even notified that a customer had a slip & fall but now this individual is coming to court and asking a jury for a substantial sum of money, perhaps this person did not fall where they say they did at all but are making up a false story to make money. After a fall, be sure to report your incident to the store owner, building management, landlord, local police and or fire department, or other party. Include details such as the location of the fall, the time of the incident, and the reason or cause of the fall. Such contemporaneous documentation especially as to the cause of the fall will be very helpful later on in proving that a defective condition as noted in the incident report was the actual cause of the incident.
Get Medical Care
If you feel pain after a fall, call an ambulance. Tell the EMS worker what happened and what caused you to fall. They will document everything in the ambulance call report. At the hospital, tell the doctors and nurses what caused you to fall, where you fell, what is bothering you, and answer all their questions. This will produce documentary evidence which will dramatically help your case. You can have both an ambulance call report from the EMS as well as a hospital record which bolsters your own testimony as to how, where, and why the fall happened. Fully explaining your symptoms to the doctors will also help prove that your injuries were caused by the fall and not something else. Insurance company lawyers will frequently argue that your injuries were caused by a pre-existing medical condition or were degenerative in nature. They may also argue that your injuries were caused by a prior or subsequent accident. Therefore having medical proof from hospitals, EMS, and doctors showing your symptoms first arose after the incident will help your case.
Take Photos of the fall location & of your injuries
Take photos of the fall location to show the area where you fell. You do not need a lot of photographs but be sure to take some from far away that show the specific location in context so the jury and judge can get an understanding of where you fell. It is also important to take a close up photo of the defect that caused your fall whether it is a puddle of water or a raised sidewalk flag. A close up will help your attorney use photographic evidence to defeat summary judgment motions seeking to dismiss your case. Likewise, take photos of your injuries to prove your pain & suffering immediately after the incident. A photo of an injury such as scratches, cuts, a cast, bandages, bruises, and or crutches will help document the extent of your damages.
Document what you can at the scene
In addition to getting medical care and taking photos, look around to see if you can gather any helpful evidence. For example, in a busy New York City store or building, there may be witnesses to your fall. Ask them for their phone number, name, and address so your lawyer can contact them for a statement later on. If the police come to scene, ask them to speak to witnesses as well. Another example is to note what type of shoes you were wearing and preserve key pieces of physical evidence. A fall due to a dirty or sticky condition will leave your clothes dirty. Take a picture to prove it. If your shoe stepped in a sticky substance which caused you to fall, the bottom of your shoe may have part of the sticky substance attached to it. Take a photo and preserve your shoes as evidence.
Keep a diary or notes regarding your damages and injuries
In the weeks following your fall, it is a good idea to keep a short diary in a notebook, laptop, or smartphone regarding your medical condition, diagnosis, prognosis, and symptoms. Your condition will get better on some days and worse on others. Having documentary evidence of limitations in your daily life will be helpful in obtaining the maximum monetary recovery. You can take notes regarding a day in your life including how your sleep has been interrupted by your injuries, how your common daily activities have been restricted by pain. Examples of common daily activities include climbing stairs, taking a shower, putting on socks, wearing a backpack, household cleaning, grocery shopping, walking, sitting, running, and standing.
Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney regarding your matter
Reach out to an experienced personal injury trial lawyer regarding the facts and circumstances of your slip, trip, or fall matter. F&A injury lawyers will be happy to listen carefully to your version of what happened & ask you the right questions to see if we can build a case. We will investigate the accident using safety engineers to prove liability. We can also assist with coordinating your medical care with some of New York’s top physicians in the fields of orthopedics, neurology, and other medical specialties depending on your diagnosis. F&A accident lawyers have offices in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens and can be reached at (212) 222-1111 or toll free at (866) ATTY LAW. If you are at the accident scene and need to reach us immediately, just dial # 919 from any NYC cell phone.