What Should I Do if I Slip and Fall in a Store?
If you have been injured as a result of slipping and falling inside a store or any other type of commercial establishment, you may have the right to compensation. But in order to recover compensation, you must prove that the store or property owner was negligent, and that their negligence was the direct cause of your injury.
The actions you take immediately after a slip and fall accident will be crucial to ensuring your health and well-being, and building the strongest possible legal case:
- Obtain Medical Treatment
Your health, or the health of someone close to you who slipped and fell, is always your top priority. If you have been hurt, call for medical help right away. Sometimes, the symptoms of an injury may not show up immediately, so it is always a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional after an accident like this. By seeking medical attention, you will receive prompt treatment for any injuries you suffered, and everything will be fully documented, which will be very important later on if you decide to take legal action.
- Report the Incident
The store will most likely have some type of process for filing an incident report. This may include filling out some paperwork and giving it to a manager, and there may be other steps involved as well. When dealing with store officials, limit what you say and do not admit to anything. Anything you say could be used against you later on, so just give them the facts about what happened and leave it at that.
- Document the Incident
Obtain as much documentation as possible about the incident for your own records. Write down, in as much detail as possible, how you were injured and what caused it. If you are unable to write at the moment, use the voice recorder in your cellphone to create an audio report that you can transcribe later. Also, be sure to take multiple photographs as well as video of the area where you were hurt to help substantiate your case.
- Get Statements from Witnesses
If there were any individuals who saw what happened or were aware of the hazardous conditions that led to the accident, obtain statements and contact information from them. Witnesses will sometimes allow you to record a statement using the voice recorder or video camera from your cellphone. If they are willing, get a statement from them while everything is fresh in their minds.
- Limit What you Say to Others about the Accident
In our second point, we advised not to talk extensively to store officials about the incident. The same holds true for other people that you talk to, particularly those you are friends with on social media. It is tempting to post pictures and make comments to your social media connections about significant things that happen to you, but in the case of a personal injury that might involve legal action, this is not a good idea. Any electronic communication you have with family and friends, whether it be e-mail, Facebook, Instagram, or whatever else, is discoverable by the other side. So again, limit your communication about the accident until any pending legal action is settled.
- Contact an Experienced Premises Liability Attorney
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident at a store, do not expect the other side to freely admit fault and happily pay you the compensation you deserve. There will most likely be pushback, and there are several possible arguments the store or property owner will make, such as:
- The hazard that caused your slip and fall accident was “open and obvious” to a reasonable person;
- The hazard was clearly marked by cones, signage, caution tape, etc.;
- You were not watching where you were going (e.g., you were looking down at your phone when you slipped and fell);
- You were in an area of the store where customers are not allowed, or they are not usually expected to be.
Under Florida’s pure comparative negligence laws, the amount of compensation you are awarded is reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault you share in causing your injury. For example, if your total losses amount to $50,000 and you were 40% at fault, your damage award would be reduced by $20,000. It could also be determined that you are fully at fault for your injury, in which case you may not receive any compensation at all.
To preserve and protect your right to recover full and fair compensation, it is important to obtain strong legal counsel as early as possible after the accident. Premises liability cases can be complicated and difficult to prove, and by getting a lawyer involved right away, you will put yourself in the best possible position to obtain a favorable outcome.
If your slip and fall accident happened in Pensacola or any of the nearby communities, contact Whibbs, Stone, & Barnett for legal guidance. Call our office today at 1-888-219-4561 or send us a message through our web contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.