Imagine being out and about in an Indiana store when you suddenly slip and fall. After your initial embarrassment, you may dust yourself off and go about your day. Not knowing what to do after slipping and falling on another’s property could cost you more than you realize. Learn how to handle the situation, so you better your chances of recovering damages at-fault parties owe you.
Report the Incident
No matter if you slip and fall at a store, restaurant or a friend’s house, let the property owner know what happened. That applies even if you do not think you hurt yourself. If you cannot find the owner, report the incident to someone associated with the premises, such as an employee. If you fall on public property but do not need medical attention, alert the town or city of your tumble. The reason to inform the proper parties of your accident as quickly as possible is so you protect your legal rights. Failing to alert someone immediately does not keep you from taking legal action, but you must think about insurance companies. If you file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance provider and it learns you waited to take action, it may doubt your injuries. Although some injuries do not appear until days or weeks later, insurance companies look for ways to avoid settlements. Take action as soon as possible and consider submitting a notification letter just to be safe.
Take Witness Statements
If anyone saw you slip and fall, ask for witness statements. Some witnesses feel uneasy about making verbal statements. If so, ask for a written statement instead. No matter the statement, ask for the witness’s contact information. Statements and contact information help build your personal injury case and protect your legal rights.
Rather than walk off or hide your face in shame, take images of the accident site, your injuries and anything you think contributed to the incident. If your fall injuries keep you from taking pictures, ask a friend or relative to take them. Snap images quickly before anyone rearranges the scene, which could eliminate valuable evidence. Slip and falls in the snow require quick action when taking images. Snow and ice may quickly melt, which could make it difficult to build and strengthen your case.
Have a Doctor Examine You
Even if you feel fine after your fall, have your physician examine you. Touching back on delayed harm, you want to know about your injuries sooner rather than later. That way, you receive medical treatment when you need it and protect your right to compensation. If you sustained harm, ask your doctor to note that you injured yourself from a slip-and-fall accident. You likely need thorough medical documentation for your legal case. Attend all follow-up visits and follow all your doctor’s orders. Besides waiting to report an injury, neglecting to keep up with doctor’s appointments and not following your treatment plan could harm your personal injury claim. During your initial doctor’s appointment, carefully explain what happened, but do not guess if you do not know the answer to specific questions. Other than your legal representative, count on the at-fault party’s insurance company wanting a copy of your medical report. If the document contains inconsistencies, the insurance provider may have a reason to deny your claim.
Complete Accident Reports
The property owner may ask you to fill out an accident report after you fall. Legally, you do not have to complete the report, and you may feel uncomfortable doing so. You should let no one pressure you into filling out the report; do what puts you at ease.
Refrain From Letting Insurers Tape Your Statement
After finishing an accident report, a property owner’s insurer may contact you for a statement. If so, refrain from making a recorded statement of your injuries and the accident. The insurance company may use your words against you to deny your claim or argue that you do not deserve as large of a settlement as you seek. Rather than speak to an insurance agent, leave that to your legal representative. If you do not have legal counsel yet, the law does not require you to give a recorded statement. Only speak with insurance companies if you feel comfortable doing so.
Work With the Homeowner
Rather than slipping and falling in a public or commercial space, you may hurt yourself over at a friend’s house. If so, work with your friend or the homeowner to recover from your injury. Ask if the person has homeowner’s insurance. If so, report the injury and file a claim as quickly as possible. When a person becomes injured on another’s property, liability coverage usually only covers the resulting injuries if negligence exists. Even if you fall and hurt yourself, you only qualify for an insurance claim if your injury resulted from unsafe conditions. For instance, if you plug in your laptop and later trip over the cord and hurt yourself, that does not qualify as negligence. Work with your friend or the property owner to uncover potential hazards. Dangerous conditions may exist that the owner does not know about. Depending on the homeowner’s insurance coverage, the policyholder may have medical payment coverage and liability coverage. With medical payment coverage, no matter whether the property owner bears fault for a guest’s harm, insurance takes care of the injured guest’s medical bills up to a specific limit. Usually, medical payment coverage policy limits for homeowner’s insurance range between $5,000 and $10,000.
Talk With Your Landlord
Say you slip and fall inside your apartment and hurt yourself. Under specific circumstances, you could have a personal injury case against your landlord. For example, say you fell and hurt yourself because you slipped in a puddle caused by leaky plumbing. If you told your landlord about the issue and she or he took care of it but you hurt yourself anyway, you likely have grounds for a legal case. If you only noticed the leak recently and did not tell the property owner about it before slipping and falling, you likely do not have grounds for a personal injury claim. After all, the landlord cannot fix a problem she or he knows nothing about. Sometimes, injured tenants may hold a landlord responsible for unknown problems. When a plumbing system reaches a certain age, landlords should expect issues, like leaks, and take care of them before someone gets hurt. Even then, a court may rule that the tenant should have known what she or he agreed to upon renting an older unit. While figuring out your rights and determining negligence, take pictures of the problem area in your unit and your injuries. It makes sense to cover all your bases as much as possible on your own and let an experienced professional figure everything else out.
Request a Free Case Review Today
Let a knowledgeable personal injury attorney guide you on what steps to take after a slip-and-fall injury. You deserve answers to your questions and reassurance about your recovery. For a free case review, contact a Hensley Legal Group representative today at 317-472-3333. If you prefer, fill out and submit a contact form. We look forward to showing you why we have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and a 100 percent client service guarantee.
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