Every year, approximately 8 million people visit hospital emergency rooms after suffering injuries in a fall. Among them, nearly 1 million are injured in what we know as “slip and fall” accidents. That accounts for roughly 12% of the total. Fractures are the most common injuries experienced in these accidents, affecting approximately 5% of victims.
It is clear that anyone of us could be injured as the result of a slip and fall accident. The question every accident victim needs an answer to is whether or not calling an attorney is appropriate. In a word: yes. Even in seemingly minor cases in which injuries do not appear to be a big deal, it is always better to consult an attorney and find out if services are not needed than not to do so only to discover later on that there are consequences for not having legal representation.
What are slip and fall accidents?
Slip and fall accidents are, in a legal sense, accidents resulting from slipping, tripping and falling due to an avoidable hazard present on someone else’s property. Slipping on a wet floor at the grocery store and falling to the ground would be considered a slip and fall accident. The store could have avoided the accident by keeping the floor dry.
The primary reason for consulting an attorney after such an accident is to ensure proper financial compensation is made to pay for resulting medical care. Without an attorney representing you, the property owner or their insurance company may not be willing to pay to cover your injuries. You will be left paying out of pocket or making claims against your own health insurance.
Presenting a Successful Case
In order to present a successful case in a slip and fall accident, you need to prove that the defendant either knew, or should have known, that an avoidable hazard existed on their property. A property owner is only held liable for your personal injuries if this condition is met AND no steps were taken to mitigate the hazard in question.
Insurance companies are familiar with the legal standards for such cases, which is why they do not bend over backwards to compensate victims who don’t take advantage of legal representation. They tend to be more cooperative when personal injury attorneys are involved.
Should you experience a slip and fall accident resulting in injury, follow the following procedure:
- Seek medical assistance right away.
- Inspect the area of your accident, taking notes and pictures.
- Identify any potential witnesses and take their information.
- Follow any accident procedures put in place by the property owner.
- Contact an attorney to set up an initial consultation of your case.
Upon seeking medical care, make sure everything that takes place is accurately documented. Medical records are often the linchpin in a successful personal injury claim. Under no circumstances should you admit to any blame on your part at anytime after the accident, unless advised to do so by your attorney. Treat a slip and fall accident the same way you would a car accident. Keep your conversations to a minimum and allow your attorney to handle your case for you.
A minor accident involving a cooperative property owner and insurance company may mean the services of an attorney are not necessary. However, you may not know that until it is too late. After any slip and fall accident, contact an attorney just in case. The worst that can happen is you end up not needing representation.