Slip and fall accidents can occur in private homes or in public business as a result of wet floors, loose carpeting, poor lighting, and other maintenance issues. Victims can be left with broken bones, concussions, and other painful injuries.
If you are injured due to a property owner’s negligence, you are entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, the insurance company is not on your side.
An insurance company exists to make a profit. They want you to settle cheaply, give up on your claim, or to prove you’re a fraud. They will not inform you of your legal rights. They will be watching, researching, reading, or in some way observing you in the weeks and months to come so they can avoid paying you a fair settlement.
To protect your right to compensation after a slip and fall accident, there are several steps you must follow.
Report the Accident Immediately
If you are injured on another person's property or in a place of business, report the incident immediately to the owner or manager. Stick to the facts, however. Statements to property owners, insurance companies, or other parties can be used against you if they can be interpreted to suggest you contributed to the accident in any way. For example, mentioning that you were talking on your phone may lead the insurance company to argue that you fell because you weren’t paying attention to your surroundings.
The process of protecting your right to compensation begins immediately. Types of evidence that will help your case include:
- Photos of the area where the accident occurred
- Photos of your injuries
- The clothes you were wearing at the time of the accident, especially your shoes
- Names and contact information for anyone who witnesses your accident
- Your own written account of the accident, including the conditions on the ground or floor, including water, ice, or snow accumulation; objects obstructing the walkway; or worn out or torn carpet, mats, or flooring
If you are unable to gather evidence due to your injuries, ask a friend to family members to help you.
Seek Medical Attention
Any injuries you’ve suffered should be treated as soon as possible. Even if you don’t believe you are seriously injured, you should seek a medical evaluation as a precaution. Some injuries, such as internal bleeding, have very mild symptoms.
In addition to protecting your health, seeking immediate medical attention documents the cause of your accident. If you don’t get treated right away, the other party can argue that your injuries were caused by some other factor.
If you need to see a specialist, the appointment should be made by your family physician. Going to a specialist without a referral can be seen as “doctor shopping” and may hurt your case.
Regardless of whether you’re seeing your family doctor or a medical specialist, you should follow treatment advice precisely. This includes taking all recommended prescription medications, completing physical therapy, and obeying any activity restrictions. If you ignore what the doctor says, the insurance company can argue that you’re not seriously hurt.
If you are not able to return to work, have your doctor fax or email a note to your employer. This will protect your job and help convince the insurance company that you really could not return to work because of your injury. Your “no work” note should have a start and end date. If you end up needing additional time off work, your doctor should submit a new note.
Speak to an Attorney
Consult with a premises liability attorney at your earliest possible convenience. In personal injury cases, time is critical. Nebraska law has a four-year statute of limitations in most personal injury cases. If the limitations period expires, you will lose your right to compensation for your slip and fall injuries.
Should you choose to hire the Steffens Law Office personal injury attorneys to represent you in your slip and fall case, we will thoroughly investigate the incident and protect you from unscrupulous insurance companies who want to diminish the value of your claim. We have extensive experience negotiating settlements but will file a lawsuit to protect your rights if the insurance company is unwilling to pay you a fair value to settle.
Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation case review.