Many people don't realize that when you slip and fall you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Of course, there are some specific circumstances that have to be met to qualify as a legal slip trip and fall accident, but if you're the victim of such an accident the law can help you recoup some of your damages.
This type of accident falls under a broad category of circumstances called “premises liability claims”. That means that owner of the property you were injured on might be liable. That can be a private property, a government property, and even your workplace.
Regardless of where your accident occurred, you’ll need an accident lawyer or an injury lawyer to argue your case and help guide you through the process.
This article will help you determine whether your injury might qualify as a slip trip and fall accident, what you should do if it does, and what kind of lawyer you should contact to learn more about your particular case.
Let’s dive in.
Requirements of a Slip Trip and Fall Accident Claim:
Before we talk about what kind of lawyer you should contact, you first need to know if your case might qualify as a slip trip and fall accident. There are a few basic standards you’ll need to meet before your fall counts.
What is a Slip and Fall Injury?
The first requirement of a slip trip and fall accident is that someone was injured. There aren't very strict definitions of an injury, but generally, it should be something that either caused you to seek medical care, meant that you could not work, or some combination.
A bruised arm might not count, assuming you didn't need a doctor's care or lost workdays to treat it. But a laceration or dislocation certainly does. More serious injuries like a concussion or broken bone also count.
If you aren’t sure whether your injury might be considered for a slip trip and fall accident, you can contact an injury lawyer for a consultation. If your injury occurred in the workplace, you may want to contact a work injury attorney, or a workers’ compensation lawyer first.
The other requirement is that there must have been some form of negligence that caused your fall. This is an important qualification because there are cases where a fall can be your own fault, or common sense could have prevented your fall. Your fall may not qualify if you have an underlying condition that caused you to fall, for instance.
Or, if there was a good-faith effort on the part of the property owner to inform you about the danger. A wet floor sign, for instance, might be considered proof that the property owner was not negligent since you could have taken precautions to avoid your fall.
However, many falls still count as slip trip and fall accidents, and you can receive compensation. After all, falls can bring expensive medical bills, lost wages, and other unexpected costs.
Cracked sidewalks are a common reason for slip trip and fall accidents. The liable party, in that case, is usually the city, since homeowners don't need to repair sidewalks.
A good way to think about this requirement is that there needs to be three things to determine negligence. The person who fell should not have reasonably known about the danger. The property owner must either have known about the risk or should have reasonably been able to discover it. And The property owner must not have taken reasonable steps to fix the problem.
Slip and fall lawyers and other injury lawyers will look for these three things when they decide whether or not your accident might be considered a slip trip and fall accident.
Examples of a Possible Slip Trip and Fall Accident:
- The floor of the local department store was just waxed and is very slippery. There are no signs up to warn that the floors are slick, and you fall shortly after entering the store.
- You were walking with a friend outside. There are fallen leaves on the sidewalk, so you don’t see the large cracks in the concrete and fall.
- You go to visit a family member’s house but fall on a loose stair leading up to their front porch. Your family member had not warned you that one of the stairs was loose.
Many other circumstances might count as a slip trip and fall accident. Even if your accident matches one of the examples we outlined, it still may not be a good slip trip and fall case, depending on other circumstances.
Only an attorney, preferably a slip and fall lawyer, accident lawyer, or injury lawyer, will be able to tell you whether you have a good case.
What Should You Do Following a Slip and Fall Accident?
You've just fallen and have been injured in the fall. What should you do now? The first thing you need to do is assess whether you need immediate medical attention. If you have a laceration, suspect you have a broken bone or another serious problem you should, of course, seek medical attention.
If your accident occurs in the workplace, make sure you alert your coworkers and a supervisor (if possible) right away. Likely there will be a documentation process in place for exactly these kinds of circumstances.
If you are in a commercial or public space when your accident occurs you should immediately inform a store or restaurant employee, preferably a manager, as you seek medical attention.
For public spaces like parks, sidewalks, and government buildings, you should contact your local government as soon as possible to inform them. In this case, you may have to seek medical attention before alerting the appropriate people.
This step makes sure you have documentation and witnesses to what happened. That’s additional to any medical records and notes you might receive from your doctor. Those witnesses, and the paper trail they’ll likely generate, can help with your case later on.
If you think you might qualify for a slip trip and fall accident, you should also document everything you can remember. This should wait until you've sought medical attention if necessary when you are somewhere safe.
If you slipped on an oily patch at your workplace, for instance, you should try to remember exactly where the accident happened, how large the oily patch was, whether there was any kind of sign warning you of the danger and the kind of injury you sustained.
You should also note if anyone else fell at the same time, or if a similar sort of accident had happened at your workplace before.
Document whatever you can remember about the situation as well. If you were injured because of a new pothole in the crosswalk, for instance, you should try to remember the conditions, and whether you’d heard of any other maintenance issues in that area.
Always try to remember the exact date and time and record them as soon as possible. What you can remember clearly at first might quickly become blurry. Since slip trip and fall accident cases can take a while to resolve, you want to have references to keep the information fresh, as well as to provide documentation of your specific circumstances.
Your accident lawyer will use that information to determine who the defendant might be, as well as to look for evidence that your injury was due to a slip trip and fall accident.
Request Medical Records:
If you haven't already done this by the time you contact a lawyer, they'll likely ask you to request medical records for any medical care that resulted from your accident. It's usually easiest to get that documentation in person since HIPPA requirements mean doctors and hospitals are very careful with patient records.
In case you do forget to pick up a copy of your records while you’re at the hospital, there are a few forms you can fill out to request them later. You can also fill out a form to allow the hospital to send your records directly to your lawyer.
Informing Your Defendant:
This last step is usually something your lawyer will do, after talking with you about who the defendant is and outlining the process. In special cases, like a slip trip and fall accident that happened at work, your attorney may also go over some other legal protections you have, so you can protect yourself from retaliation.
Your lawyer will also let you know if there are any requirements for communication between you and the defendant. It's important to follow these recommendations. They're there to protect you, and to make sure you have a better case.
Hire a Philadelphia Slip Trip and Fall Lawyer
Remember, even minor injuries can count as slip trip and fall cases. You never know when a seemingly minor injury might turn out to be more serious or costly. Just like other accidents, adrenaline might keep you from realizing how bad a fall really was until long after.
Even if you don’t think your fall was that serious, you can protect yourself by informing the appropriate parties and personally documenting the incident.
Lastly, your lawyer is there to help you. They can help answer any questions you might have and will be the best experts to help you determine if you have a case.
Wanting compensation for a bad fall is understandable. These unexpected expenses can be hard to recover from, that what the law is for. If you have any questions, we can help.