When preparing any personal injury claim, the evidence you can bring to your case is crucial. However, this is all the truer when considering slip and fall cases, a type of premises liability claim. Because a slip and fall accident usually involves the victim and no one else, it can be especially difficult to prove liability, as a case might become little more than the claimant’s word against the defendant’s unless there is tangible evidence to investigate.
What to Do After a Bad Fall
Many people might even assume they cannot sue because they “should have been more careful” themselves. Therefore, the first thing you should do after being in a bad fall is acknowledging that a third party could be liable for your injuries, depending on what caused you to slip or trip. Do not write off your claim before it begins because you feel embarrassed about what happened.
Of course, if you are seriously injured after a slip and fall, then the absolute first thing you should do is call for emergency medical responders. People who have fallen should try to stay as still as possible if they are experiencing pain when moving or breathing.
If you have been hurt but not to the extent that it stops you from getting up, then you should use your smartphone to start recording the scene through photos and videos. Again, be careful not to overexert yourself too much, as this could worsen your injuries and increase your liability for them. You will want plenty of images of the exact conditions of the area as they were when you fell. There is no such thing as too many photographs or footage reels after a slip and fall accident, so do not be shy about taking plenty of images from different angles and degrees of distance.
Be Mindful of Eyewitness Testimonies
What other people saw could be imperative for building your slip and fall accident claim. But you need to be careful about who you ask for help. Random bystanders are often the best source for an honest assessment of what happened.
On the other hand, workers could be inclined to tell half-truths if you slipped and fell while shopping or visiting a commercial property. For example, if you tripped on loose product in a retail store, then a retail worker might not be cooperative with your inquiry because they are afraid that they could get fired for leaving the product on the ground.
Accessing Store Security Systems
One source that cannot lie is the store’s closed-circuit television (CCTV) security camera system. If there are cameras in the area, then you will definitely want to access the security footage to see if they caught your accident. When taking pictures of the scene, photograph any security cameras you see as well.
To get CCTV footage, it is advised you speak with a slip and fall attorney the same day as your accident. The attorney can deliver a letter of spoliation to the defending store, which orders them to preserve the security camera footage around the time of your accident until a copy can be given to the attorney. Without this letter of spoliation, the defendant might be tempted to erase the footage quickly to hide the truth of your slip and fall accident on their property.
Medical & Police Records
In the days following your slip and fall accident, it should be time to get copies of reports from officials about your accident and injuries. If 911 was called after your accident, then the police should have arrived and made a report about what they saw. The details written in these reports can be instrumental in making a claim sometimes.
Without a police report, you can still turn to your own medical records and notes from doctors and paramedics who treated you. Medical records clearly state your symptoms and when they occur, which lets you connect your fall to your injuries. Insurance companies love to try to claim that slip and fall injuries are exaggerated or caused by a preexisting condition, so creating this concise timeline of events with medical records is a must.
Miscellaneous Sources of Evidence
Do not forget about these other places to get evidence regarding your slip and fall:
- Maintenance records if you fell on commercial property like in a grocery store
- Notes from safety inspectors about conditions of the property
- Condition of your own shoes if the grips are strong and did not contribute to a slip
Should You Get a Lawyer for a Slip and Fall Case?
As you can probably put together by what we have covered so far, slip and fall cases are complex by their nature. You need plenty of sources of evidence to counteract any arguments from the insurance defense attorneys who will automatically blame you for your own apparent clumsiness. Getting that evidence can be just as exhausting as trying to recuperate from your injuries.
To give yourself chance to rest without slowing down your case, work with a local slip and fall attorney, starting on the day of your accident. As mentioned, they can move to preserve any evidence of your accident before it is discarded or erased. They can also use any evidence you collected at the scene of your accident for an in-depth review, finding ways to prove you were not liable for your accident. The less liable you are, then the greater the damages you can recover through a successful claim.
Injured in Reno? Call Our Firm
The Law Offices of Steven J. Klearman & Associates in Reno has decades of experience representing clients who have been hurt in slip and fall accidents, including those that occurred inside busy casinos. If you have slipped, fallen, and been hurt on someone else’s property, and now you want to file a claim but don’t want to deal with all the details of gathering evidence, then call us at (775) 573-0229 right away. We can get your case moving so you don’t have to!