WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A SLIP/TRIP AND FALL
Slip/Trip and fall cases in Ohio are among some of the more difficult personal injury cases to pursue. Not only is the law more protective and favorable to businesses than Ohio consumers, but often times there is a lack of evidence necessary to prove the claim.
In a slip/trip and fall case, as with any personal injury case, the injured party has the burden of proving that the property owner or occupier owed them a duty, breached that duty, and caused them injuries. The owner does not have to prove anything. Unfortunately, most injured victims fail to obtain the necessary evidence and information to prove their claim, and by the time they decide to retain a lawyer, the evidence is gone forever.
Below is a short list of what you can do to help preserve this evidence should you need to pursue a claim or file a lawsuit against the property owner or business owner. Though this list is not necessarily exhaustive of everything that is needed, it will certainly put you in a better position to prove your claim if you have to do so.
- Take pictures of the scene where you fell as soon as possible after your fall. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and are often the best evidence in a slip/trip and fall case. Be sure to get good, clear pictures of the area of the fall, the lighting in the area, any defect in the area such as a hole, display in the middle of the floor, broken tile, raised tile, bunched up carpeting, and any substance on the floor that may have made you fall, such as water, spilled food, grease, etc. Most people have cell phones with cameras these days, so if you can’t take the pictures yourself, ask a friend or family member to take the pictures for you.
- Report your slip/trip and fall to an employee of the business, and ask them to get the manager.
- Explain exactly what happened to the manager, giving as many details about what caused you to fall as possible.
- Show the manager the scene of the fall, and point out what it was that caused you to fall.
- Tell the manager what areas of your body are hurt and whether you need immediate medical attention.
- Have the manager fill out an incident report and review the incident report to ensure that all the information you provided to the manager is included in the report. Ask the manager to provide you with a copy of the incident report.
- Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all persons who witnessed your fall.
- If you need medical attention, get it as soon as possible. Make sure you explain to your doctor or emergency room personnel exactly how you were injured and what areas of your body hurt.
- If you have health insurance, make sure you tell all medical providers to bill your health insurance. DO NOT tell them to bill the store or property owner or to give you the bill. These cases can sometimes take years to resolve, and medical providers may turn you over to collections if the bill is not timely paid. If they refuse to bill your health insurance, take your business elsewhere or submit the bill directly to your health insurance company yourself.
- Keep copies of any letters you receive from the store or its insurance company, and keep a list of the names, addresses, phone numbers, and claim numbers of any person you talk to relative to the incident.
- DO NOT give a telephone statement or recorded telephone statement to the store or its insurance adjuster until you have consulted with legal counsel. These people are experts at turning your words around and confusing you, trying to pin the blame for your fall on you.
The information contained in this blog post is general information, and should not be treated as legal advice. No attorney/client relationship exists between the reader and Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC without a signed Attorney Contract Agreement of Representation. Each case is unique and past results should not be treated as a guarantee of the results in your case.