Slips and falls can lead to serious injuries all over Bellingham and Whatcom County. They can happen just about anywhere – outside, on an improperly de-iced street or sidewalk, or in a store where there was a spill. They can happen when you least expect it, and can lead to broken bones, concussions, or other injuries.
What do you do when you slip and fall?
There’s good chance it’s not your fault.
In places like grocery stores that deal with liquid merchandise and glass containers, for example, slip-and-fall injuries are not uncommon. They can generate thousands of personal injury claims every year.
Most people don’t know what to do next, or they do have any recourse for compensation for the pain, injuries, and medical bills they’ve incurred. But there is help available.
Take these steps if you’ve been injured in a slip and fall:
Document Your Injuries
Taking photos of your injuries is important to building your claim. If you can, also take photos of the area in which you fell.
If you need medical assistance, call 911 yourself or ask someone to do so for you. This is not a time to play tough, just get the medical attention you need or risk further injuries and complications.
Ask the store manager to fill out a report with you. It should be company policy, if for example the fall took place at a grocery store. Police called to the emergency scene will also file their own report, most likely. The key to helping prove a claim is having lots of evidence, so these reports and photos are very important.
As soon as possible after the fall, take the time to write up an account of what happened. Include as many details as you can. Over time, memories will fade so the sooner you can do this, the better.
It’s not a good idea to assume the grocery store will provide the correct reports and documentation.
Find a Legal Voice
Some people resist calling a lawyer. They don’t want to seem like “that guy”. But it’s important to have someone on your side who knows how to negotiate with claims adjusters and the in house counsel team hired by big corporations. They may be standing in your way of paying you for the injuries and expenses you incurred from falling on their property. At the very least, you should call a lawyer to understand your rights and options for getting medical bills paid. It doesn’t hurt to at least call, as most personal injury lawyers, including Bill Coats Law, works on a contingency fee agreement which means they are not paid until you are. Also, at Bill Coats Law, all first time consultations are free.
Slip and falls can also occur outside a building’s premise. If the parking lot or sidewalks are poorly maintained, slick with ice or gravel, or other hazards, it’s still the store’s legal responsibility to keep up with maintenance. It’s best to let your lawyer decide how to proceed forward if you have a case.
For more information about slip and fall cases, click here.