No one expects to be injured in a slip-and-fall accident while going about their business. Sadly, slips and falls are extremely common, sending more than one million people to hospital emergency rooms each year, according to the National Floor Safety Institute. The injuries sustained in a slip and fall can be severe. In fact, research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one out of every five falls results in significant injuries, such as concussions, traumatic brain injuries, and broken bones.
If you were hurt in a slip-and-fall accident on someone else's property, you're not alone—and you may be entitled to compensation for damages. Here's what you can do to protect your right to a fair financial recovery.
Steps You Should Take
What you do immediately after a slip-and-fall accident can have a long-lasting impact on your ability to collect compensation. Following these steps can help you protect your rights and build a strong case for damages:
- Take photos of the slip-and-fall accident scene. Use your phone to quickly snap as many photos as you can, making sure to note conditions that may have caused your fall, such as slippery, broken, or uneven flooring. If you're too injured to take the photos yourself, ask a trusted friend or family member to do it as soon as possible.
- Report the accident to the property owner or manager. You may be asked to provide your contact information, as well as a written or verbal description of the slip and fall.
- Seek immediate medical attention. Even if you don't feel seriously hurt, it's important to see a doctor after a slip-and-fall accident. This protects your physical health, and having your injuries documented in your medical records can also help a future personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit.
- Follow the treatment plan your doctor prescribed. Seeing a doctor just once isn't enough to thoroughly document your slip-and-fall-related injuries and their effects on your life. Make sure to attend all scheduled follow-up visits and follow your doctor's instructions.
- Consult an experienced personal injury attorney. If you were injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you need skilled legal representation. A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options.
Steps Your Attorney Will Take on Your Behalf
Once you've hired an attorney, he or she will begin working on your behalf. Here are just a few things a lawyer may do to help you and your case:
- Gather important evidence. This can include statements from witnesses, surveillance footage of the scene of the slip-and-fall, and more.
- Prepare and file your lawsuit before the two-year statute of limitations has expired. Lawsuits filed after the statute of limitations has expired are automatically thrown out.
- Handle communications with the at-fault party's insurance company. This also includes negotiating a fair settlement agreement.
- Take the case to trial. If a fair settlement agreement can't be reached, your attorney should be prepared to take your case all the way to trial.
Case-Damaging Mistakes to Avoid
After a slip-and-fall accident, knowing what not to do is almost as important as knowing what to do. Avoid these costly mistakes:
- Providing a recorded statement or releasing your medical records to the at-fault party's insurer. The insurance company will use this information against you in an attempt to reduce their financial obligation.
- Posting about the accident on social media. Adjusters for the at-fault party's insurer will comb your social media sites in search of information to use against you. Don't give them any ammunition.
- Accepting an early settlement without consulting an attorney. The insurance company may offer you a settlement immediately after an accident, before the full extent of your injuries is known.
Let Our Skilled Georgia Attorneys Handle Your Slip-and-Fall Claim
If you were injured in a Georgia slip-and-fall accident, the accomplished attorneys with Van Sant Law can help you understand your legal rights and options, and fight for the fair compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free, initial case consultation. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so you can afford a lawyer.