Friday, June 26, 2009

Slip And Fall Accidents: What Should You Do When You Slip And Fall?

Slip and fall accidents happen much more often that you might think. Today’s article will deal with what happens to individuals when they slip and fall, and what you should do if you are a victim.

Slip and fall accidents usually involve premises liability. A person can slip and fall anywhere...home, business, church, playground, sports facility...anywhere. What happens AFTER the fall is where the problems come up.

The injuries that come from falling can range from a sore backside to severe lacerations, broken bones, internal injuries and even death.

In a slip and fall insurance claim, the burden is on the injured party to prove that the premises owner knew there was a hazard and did not remedy that hazard, which contributed in some way to the injury. Simply the act of slipping and falling does not automatically constitute negligence on the part of the property owner.

Accident Avoidance

The first and most obvious statement is to make sure you are aware of your surroundings. Be sure of where you are stepping, and the condition of that surface. If the surface is wet, you must move with caution. If the surface has other debris on it, move with caution.

Watch what you are doing while you’re walking. If you are distracted by some other activity, you are not looking where your feet are going.

If you see an obvious hazard in your path, attempt to go around it.

Do not wear shoes that have slippery or smooth soles.

Slip and Fall Injuries

One of the businesses that can actually be dangerous to visit is the grocery store.

Grocery stores invite the public to walk around in their stores. However, because of the thousands of products they stock, there are hazards everywhere. Bottles and jars get dropped and contents spill onto the floor. Produce gets dropped onto the floors. Refrigeration units leak water onto the floors. Roofs leak and make puddles. And there can be hazards lying around on the parking lots. So, they have high incidences of premises liability claims.

I have investigated hundreds of slip and fall claims in my career as a claims adjuster. So, based on that experience, here are my recommendations for proving a slip and fall claim:

1. After you fall, examine yourself to see if you are injured. If you already know you’re injured, notify the owner or manager of the property where you fell. You may not be able to complete and submit an injury report at that time, but you will have placed the property owner on notice that an injury occurred.

2. Try to determine what caused your slip and fall.

3. If there is a witness to your fall, get that person’s contact information right away.

4. If you need to, seek medical treatment. Don’t be in a hurry to reject medical treatment. I’ve seen many incidents in which a person fell one day, and did not begin feeling pain until 1-3 days later.

5. Seek the advice of a personal injury attorney. If you do not, you may inadvertently give away your rights of financial recovery through your cooperation with the property owner’s insurance company.

6. Notify the property owner IN WRITING, CERTIFED MAIL, of your intention to file a claim. Note that I placed this action AFTER seeking legal counsel.

7. Notify your own insurance company, such as your homeowners or business owner’s carrier, about your loss. Failure to notify them might violate your policy terms, and make you ineligible for legal defense.

8. Don’t sign ANYTHING that the property owner’s insurance company gives you without having an attorney review it first.

9. Don’t give the adjuster a recorded statement unless your attorney is present, or at least involved on a three-way phone conversation.

10. Then, work with your medical provider, your personal injury attorney or a claims consultant to settle your claim.

All premises injury claims are not due to the negligence of the property owner. But, if you’ll follow these ten tips, you have a better chance of proving your claim.

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