When you slip or trip and fall on someone else’s property, it may not be obvious who the person responsible for the injuries is. While at times it can be due to the carelessness of the individual, many times it is due to the negligence of the owner. In order to establish that the owner of the property where it happened is at fault, you must prove that
- The Property where the accident occurred was dangerous
- That the Owner knew of the dangerous condition
- And that there was a reasonable amount of time for the owner to fix the dangerous condition.
Take photos of the area where your accident occurred. Take photos of the surrounding area, your injuries, your clothes, employees who may have been present, and any reports you may fill out. Photograph everything.2) Make a Simple Report of the Accident.
If you fell in a grocery store, get the Grocery Store Manager. If you fell at a restaurant, get the floor manager. If you fell in an apartment building, get a hold of the leasing office. If you fell in a parking lot, you guessed it, get the parking lot attendant and manager if possible. Just make a simple report. “I fell in the produce aisle of ____ market on X Date. Then take a picture of it. This documentary evidence is crucial in establishing a claim against those responsible for your accident.3) Seek Medical Attention.
It is absolutely essential that you seek medical attention as soon as you get injured. This can be done in several ways. You can call an Ambulance if necessary. Visit an Emergency Room. Go see your Primary Care Physician. Go to your nearest Urgent Care office. Whatever method you choose, it is of the utmost importance to go seek medical attention.
There are two reasons for this. The first reason is to get checked out. For instance, if you have a broken bone, establishing what kind of treatment will be necessary to address the injury is crucial. This should be done as soon as possible after the injury occurs. The second reason to seek medical treatment is to establish what is called “causation”. Causation is what ties the injuries to your fall. If you fall at a gas station and break your arm, going to the emergency room right after and getting checked out helps establish that the broken arm was in fact caused by the slip and fall at the gas station. Defendants will try their best to say that injuries you received were not related to the accident, sometimes implying that you had the injury before. Going to seek medical attention immediately after an injury is the best way to preemptively shut down that type of argument.4) Keep all the Evidence
Preservation of evidence is very important after an accident. Keep your pictures. Keep the ripped pants or the bloody shoes. Put any reports made to anyone in a safe place. Chances are if you go to court all these pieces of evidence are going to be very important in establishing your claim.5) Avoid Dealing with Insurance Companies
Avoid dealing with insurance companies at all costs. You will likely get a friendly claims adjuster who will call you. They will politely ask to speak with you, often asking whether they can record your conversation. Don’t fall for it! The claims adjuster’s sole purpose is to help the other party. Anything you say that can be used against you will be used against you so that they can minimize what they have to pay out to you. They ask tricky questions trying to bait you into wrong answers. These wrong answers can often lead to insurance companies not paying out what they otherwise would have had you not spoken to the adjuster. Let your attorney deal with the insurance companies.
Our California slip and fall attorneys know that proving a claim for negligence is tricky, but we also are armed with both the best knowledge and resources to help you maximize your recovery.