Question

I slipped and fell in a California store. What should I do?

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Gerald Marcus - Personal Injury - General - Super Lawyers

Answered by: Gerald Marcus

Located in Calabasas, CAThe Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus

Calabasas, CA
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Answer

If you slip and fall in a parking lot or grocery store, the actions you take in the moments that follow can determine the future of your claim. To begin preserving your claim, you should seek immediate medical attention, notify the property owner or manager of the premises, photograph the scene, collect witness information and decline to make any statements.

Seek Medical Attention

If you are injured, seeking medical attention as soon as possible is vital. Minor injuries can become more serious the longer you wait to be seen by a doctor. Medical records will be essential to proving that your injury was caused by the fall. In some cases, insurance companies will deny a claim by stating the injury was pre-existing prior to the incident. Your current and future medical records can be used to refute these claims.

Report The Incident

Depending on where you fall, you should promptly notify the property owner, manager or the landlord. Once they write a report, request a copy for your own records. You can also request the manager or person who reported the incident a copy of their business card or another form of identification.

Remember --- any delay in reporting the incident can weaken your claim.

Document The Scene

Documentation you collect on the scene can be used later to establish liability. It can be a good idea to photograph where you fell, the surrounding area, your injuries, your footwear and weather conditions, if applicable. If your fall was captured by a security camera, request the footage immediately. In some cases, surveillance footage can be discarded or deleted in as little as 30 days. Requesting a copy of the footage as soon as possible can help to preserve evidence. 

Gather Witness Information

Witness statements can be one of the most beneficial pieces of evidence that exist in a slip-and-fall case. Collect the contact information of any independent witnesses to the accident, condition that caused the fall or the aftermath. They will be contacted as your case progresses to make a formal statement.

Do Not Provide A Written Or Recorded Statement

You may be asked to make a written or recorded statement at the accident scene or in the days that follow. Do not provide a response. The insurance company can use any statements you make to deny your claim. If you do not provide a statement, you can avoid your own words from being used against you.

Call An Attorney

Throughout your treatment, you will be contacted by insurance adjusters or the company’s attorney who will request information, a statement and updates on your treatment. Any information you provide can be detrimental to your claim. A personal injury lawyer knows your rights and protections under the law. They can work with the insurance company on your behalf to fight for fair compensation.

If you fail to do any of the steps above, there are still ways to seek relief. However, adhering to these tips can be key to building a persuasive case.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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