Important Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident
Before discussing how to respond after suffering a slip and fall injury, let’s get clear on what constitutes the problem.
Recognize When Liability May Exist
“Slip and fall” is such a broad category of personal injury that it can help to define what a slip and fall is not:
- Not car accident-related
- Not medical malpractice
- Not patient or family member abuse and neglect
- Not caused by a dangerous or defective product
Eliminating other forms of personal injuries leaves a general description of slips and falls as physical injuries and wrongful deaths suffered outside one’s own home. A slip and fall can occur at someone else’s home, a business, or a public venue like a stadium, parking garage, or park. Examples of cases handled by slip and fall lawyers include
- Falling down stairs
- Falling off balconies, raised walkways, and ladders
- Tripping over obstacles
- Slips on wet and oily floors
- Being hit by falling or airborne objects
- Electric shocks and electrocutions
- Assaults by customers or staff in stores
- Poisonings, including illnesses from spoiled or incorrectly prepared food served in restaurants and sold in stores
- Smoke inhalation
The common thread in each type of case an Ohio personal injury lawyer would treat as a slip and fall is that his or her client got hurt because a property owner or other responsible party proved negligent in protecting the victim’s health and safety. For instance, a homeowner who has a pool in the backyard has legal duties to restrict access and take other measures to prevent drownings. Similarly, a store owner has an enforceable obligation to ensure that all products displayed at eye level or higher remain securely in place. And a hotel owner must meet all applicable business codes and keep all railings, carpets, and fixtures in proper repair.
As with any type of personal injury, the first step to take after suffering a slip and fall is to seek medical care. Even minor cuts and bruises sustained on other people’s property may merit a trip to your physician or an emergency room, especially if you were struck in the head. Deep tissue injuries, head trauma, concussions, and structural damage to joints are not always instantly apparent but can produce long-term difficulties.
Going to a doctor starts a paper trail that documents the incident and its consequences. Other information to compile includes
- The location and time of the injury, complete with the street address and, if relevant, business name
- The identity and contact information for the property owner, business manager, and/or official who has responsibility for making the property safe
- Insurance coverage information for the property owner, etc.
- Witness descriptions of the event that left you injured
- Your own description of the event
- Medical records related to the injury
- Notes on phone calls and printouts of emails with all insurance company representatives
The time to contact a Columbus personal injury attorney regarding filing an insurance claim or civil lawsuit to receive compensation for a slip and fall is as soon as you believe you will be treated unfairly by the person or corporation that neglected the duty to provide adequate protections. Businesses, in particular, often contest slip and fall claims or promise compensation only to offer settlements that come nowhere close to covering medical bills, lost wages, and other injury-related costs.
The Ohio personal injury attorneys with Agee Clymer Mitchell and Portman have helped many people who suffered slip and fall injuries. If you would like to discuss a possible case for free, contact our Columbus offices by calling (800) 678-3318 or schedule an appointment online.