Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere. The grocery store, the hospital, a hotel lobby, a restaurant, a condo building – these are all just common examples. Any time a walking surface is slippery from a recent cleaning or spill or wet from rain, there is a chance that an unsuspecting victim will slip, fall, and suffer a serious injury.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident in the Tampa area, you could be entitled to significant financial compensation. Florida law requires property owners and businesses to keep their premises reasonably safe for visitors and guests. If you fell because a property or business owner breached this duty (for example, by failing to promptly clean up or cordon off a spill), you may have a claim for “premises liability,” and there are important steps that you should try to take to protect your rights.
Six Tips for Documenting Your Slip and Fall
After any accident, seeking medical attention should be your top priority. However, if you are able to do so, you should try to collect evidence at the scene of the accident before you go to the hospital. Once you receive medical treatment, there are more ways that you can document your case, as well.
The following are six key forms of documentation that your legal team may be able to use to help maximize your claim for financial compensation:
1. Photos of the Location Where You Fell
If you have a Smartphone or happen to have a camera with you at the time of the accident, take photos before you leave the scene (again, assuming you are in a physical condition to do so). What caused you to fall? Was it a spill? A recently waxed floor? A smooth floor that was slippery from rain? Take plenty of photos to document the location where you fell, as well as the surrounding area.
While you are at the scene, you should also take photos of any visible injuries, as well as any damage to your clothes and personal items. You want to be able to paint a clear picture of both the cause and effects of your fall, so take as many photos as possible.
2. Witness’ Names and Contact Information
A witness could be someone who saw you fall, or it could be someone who rushed to help you in the immediate aftermath. Anyone who can confirm the existence of a dangerous condition and/or the fact that you fell at the location of the dangerous condition could be a key witness in your claim for compensation.
Before you leave the scene, ask any potential witnesses to provide you with their names and contact information. You do not need anything more. Your attorneys will contact the appropriate witnesses in order to obtain their statements or testimony in support of your claim.
3. Medical Records, Statements of Benefits, and Bills
Slip and fall accidents often result in serious injuries, including broken bones, soft tissue damage, and even traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. As a result, many victims incur exorbitant medical bills for both emergency and long-term care.
Each time you go to the doctor, make it a habit to ask for copies of your records. While your legal team can also request these records for you, it can save time and assist with your initial consultation if you have your records readily available. In addition, as you receive medical bills and statements of benefits from your insurance company in the mail, make sure you keep copies of these as well.
4. A Calendar or Journal
Another valuable way to document your case is to keep a calendar or journal in which you record all of the ways that your fall-related injuries impact your life. You want to try to be as specific as possible relating to the pain and suffering you’ve endured and your loss of enjoyment of life – having a long list of specific examples can provide powerful evidence to help compensation.
In addition to medical bills, many slip and fall accident victims incur other financial costs as a result of their injuries as well. Prescriptions, medical supplies, modifications to your home – these are all examples of expenses for which compensation may be available under Florida law.
6. Work Accident Report
Finally, if you fell at work, you should report the accident to your employer, and you should be sure to get a copy of the report. Most employers have standard reporting forms that they use when employees get injured on the job. While work-related accident claims generally involve workers’ compensation, if someone other than your employer (like your office’s property owner) was to blame, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim as well.
Why Is It Important to Document My Case?
In order to pursue compensation for a slip and fall injury, you need evidence. The insurance companies are not going to take you at your word, and they are not going to give you any help when it comes to understanding the extent of your accident-related losses. By taking photos, asking for witnesses’ contact information, keeping records, and collecting other forms of documentation, you can help ensure that your attorneys will have the ammunition they need to seek the compensation you deserve.
Important: Documentation You DO NOT Want in Your Slip and Fall Case
While collecting these forms of documentation is important, it is just important, if not more important, that you avoid creating potentially damaging forms of documentation. For example, after your slip and fall accident, you should avoid:
- Giving a recorded statement to any insurance company
- Posting anything that might possibly be used against you on social media
The insurance companies know how to solicit damaging statements, and even if you accidentally say something that you do not mean, it could potentially make it more challenging to pursue your claim. In addition, these days the insurance companies monitor claimants’ social media accounts, and to avoid mistakes it may be in your best interests to stay off of social media altogether while your claim is pending.
Contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk for a Free Slip and Fall Consultation
For more information about protecting your rights after a slip and fall accident, contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our attorneys have decades of experience. We have offices in the Tampa area and are available 24/7, so call (800) 753-5203, start a Live Chat, or request a consultation online today.