Slip & fall accidents are one of the most common of all cases pursued in the United States and make up 15% of job-related injuries. Slip & fall injuries are, however, extremely complicated affairs and if you are not prepared sufficiently beforehand, you may find that your case does not stand up in court.
If such an accident occurs at your place of work, it then falls under a ‘worker’s compensation claim,’ but if not, then you have grounds to pursue a personal injury claim in order to cover the medical expenses among other costs.
In order for you to stand any chance of winning, you must document the ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘why’ and ‘who’ of the incident, ensuring that you leave no stone turned in your quest for evidence. This is because the main aim of a slip and fall lawsuit is to prove liability above all else. Having a wealth of evidence at your disposal, in that case, is essential to the success of your claim.
You should take into account the following, when documenting and building evidence against the other party:
• The severity of your injuries
• The time of the accident
• The location
• The cause of your slip and fall
However, that is not all you need to focus on. Once you have determined the above, there are several steps you need to take in order to gather the necessary evidence required for a personal injury attorney to successfully argue your case for a claim.
The most important of all is to begin with an assessment of your injuries. Consult a doctor immediately after your slip and fall and have your injuries assessed by a professional. Do not attempt to self-assess your injuries as in many cases there are hidden injuries that have yet to manifest, and which only a doctor could diagnose. Safety comes first. However, another major reason for consulting a doctor immediately after your injury is to procure the necessary documentation of your injuries, in as accurate a form as possible. Only a doctor can professionally assess them. If you believe that your injury is the result of negligence by the property owner, it is important that you obtain this medical documentation to assist your personal injury attorney in getting the right result.
Is there a visible and clear reason for your slip and fall accident, i.e. is there any physical evidence that the fall is not the fault of your own, such as:
• A slippery spot on the floor
• An obstruction
• An unseen hazard that should have been removed e.g. a damaged tile or glass.
If you have concrete evidence of the cause and can attribute the cause to the owner of the property, then you have successfully proved liability and will greatly increase your chances of winning a personal injury claim.
There are other actions to take regarding documentation at this stage. You also need to:
Take photographs of the scene: As soon as possible after the accident, it is imperative that you take photos of the scene of the accident, preferably, as it was when you slipped and fell. You need to be able to tell the story through the images you procure, even if the scene has since been changed, take photos of the immediate area, including hazards such as:
• Uneven floors
• Dangerous stairs
• Any obstructions that should not be there.
Also provide photos of the area surrounding the area of the slip and fall to give an idea of the location and its layout in regards to traversable areas etc.
Obtain the names and contact information of witnesses present: Once again, the main aim in a slip and fall case is to prove liability, in order to do so, as much evidence is needed as possible to prove that the owner of the property is at fault. As soon as you can, go back and obtain the names and contact details of any witnesses that were present at the time of your fall. This will come in handy when the defense attempts to contest the cause of your fall.
Step Three: Hire a personal injury attorney to protect your rights.
You stand a much greater chance of succeeding in your personal injury claim if you hire the legal services of an experienced and dedicated personal injury attorney such as Jorge L. Gomez of the Gomez Law Firm. Personal injury attorneys can be the difference between a successful claim and a failure, as the attorney possess the necessary knowledge and skills to protect your rights and ensure you are awarded the compensation you deserve. In general, people just aren’t equipped to deal with the intricacies of a slip and fall case, especially when facing a determined insurance adjuster who will be out to discredit your claim at any cost. However, hiring an expert like attorney Gomez will level the playing field and increase your chances of a successful claim.
This is an extremely important step, although one that is often overlooked by those inexperienced in such cases. Documenting the time of the accident allows your personal injury lawyer to use further elaborate on the liability of the property owner or those on shift at the time. For example, during the time you were at the place of an accident, was there a scheduled task that was meant to be done but wasn’t? Was the cleaning schedule adhered to or was it skipped for some reason. When did you fall relative to the cleaning schedule in question? This information is important to help prove that a breach of duty occurred, which ultimately caused your slip and fall and subsequent injuries.
Again, as soon as possible after the slip and fall accident has occurred, you should notify the property owner. This should be done for a number of reasons:
1. Help prevent any further injuries.
2. Help to create an incident report which is an essential documentation.
3. The owner may even take photographs of the area themselves.
4. If the owner isn’t present, notify an employee as this will also gain you a witness to the scene of the accident and your injuries.
If you or anyone you know has had the misfortune of being involved in a slip & fall accident, it is imperative that you seek legal aid to further your cause in receiving a personal injury settlement. For over fifteen years, attorney Gomez has litigated thousands of personal injury cases including more than fifty jury trials. There are few more qualified than him when it comes to dealing with personal injury cases. Call the Gomez Law Firm today and have your personal injury case in Houston dealt with by the best. Call (713) 868 5528 for a free consultation and the legal advice you need to pursue a personal injury claim.