When we think of slip and fall incidents, we often think of overzealous attorneys and misguided consumers starting a legal case that is just as frivolous as the hot coffee incident that hit the news a couple of years ago. However, slip and fall issues are often a lot more serious than we have come to expect. As a matter of fact, these types of incidents can lead to broken bones, concussions and in more serious cases, even death. That’s right, even world renown figures such as Dr. Atkins, the founder of the popular Atkins diet have lost their lives as the result of a slip and fall accident. With that said, here are a few steps to help you decide if your slip and fall incident is one that you should go to court over…
Step #1 – Assessing The Damage – All slip and fall cases are not created equally. Although, injuries as the result of a slip and fall can be a good reason for personal injury litigation, it’s important to think of the degree of your injuries as the result of your fall. Did you get a bruise or did you break a bone? The more severe the injuries that you’ve sustained are, the more reason to get with a personal injury attorney and file a claim. However, if you simply suffer a bruise or small scrape as the result of your fall, your injuries may not be serious enough for an attorney to want to make a claim.
Step #2 – Thinking About Where You Fell – It’s also important to remember that where you fall makes a big difference in the amount of compensation if any that you receive as a result of a slip and fall case. For instance, if you slip in your own driveway, the only person that can be held liable for the damages as a result of the fall would be you. However, if you slipped on a spill in Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart can be held liable for your injuries.
Step #3 – File A Formal Complaint – There are few things attorneys like in a case more than written documentation of exactly what happened. Therefore, it is in your best interest to file a complaint with the property where you fell as soon as possible. For instance, if the property is a store or restaurant, ask to speak with a manager and create a written complaint during the conversation. If you fall in an office building, try and find out who owns the building and write a complaint to them. In your written complaint, you should include the following:
- Your Information – Start out by including all of your contact information such as your name, address, phone number, ect…
- The Time And Date Of The Incident – Time lines are incredibly important when it comes to any form of litigation. That being said, include a line in the complaint that states something like “On ___ at ___ o clock, I slipped on…”.
- The Injuries You’ve Sustained – If you are aware of the injuries that you’ve faced as a result of the fall at this point, include them in the documentation. It is best to include these in a way that leaves room for future discoveries. For instance, in your documentation, you may say, “The injuries I’ve noticed THUS FAR as a result of the fall are….”. This way, if you notice pains that are likely to come weeks or months after an injury, you will be able to claim those injuries as well.
- A Display Of Negligence – To win a slip and fall case, you will have to show the courts that the owner of the property was negligent when it comes to maintenance which has caused your slip and fall. For instance, milk spilled on the floor and left uncleaned at the grocery store could show negligence on behalf of the store. In your letter, you should include how the slip happened and why you feel that the property owner is a fault.
Step #4: Contact An Attorney – Once you’ve made it to this point, it’s time to get in touch with an attorney for further guidance. There are several ways that you can get in touch with a personal injury attorney. Personally, I suggest searching Google for personal injury attorneys in your area. When you contact an attorney, he or she will guide you through the next steps in filing your slip and fall claim.
About The Author – Joshua Rodriguez
This article was written by Joshua Rodriguez, an avid personal finance and law journalist. Much of the information found here is the result of a conversation between Joshua and Attorney Brian E. Muawad of Muawad & Muawad PC in St. Clair Shores MI.