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Slip and fall accidents are among the most common type of lawsuits you can pursue in the United States. The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that over one million Americans suffer a slip and fall injury each year, with around 17,000 of this number resulting in death. Slip and fall injuries account for 15% of all job-related injuries, and can cause other complications such as incapacitation, fractures, head trauma and spinal cord injuries.
These types of incidents fall under the area of personal injury accidents unless they occur while in the course and scope of your employment where a workers' compensation claim is in order. Victims should first consult a personal injury attorney or a workers' compensation lawyer on how to handle the incident according to the provisions of the law.
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident:
1. Consult your doctor immediately.
Get the appropriate medical attention you need for your slip and fall accident. If you find you are immobilized by the accident, call for help and wait until assistance arrives. If you think that the accident occurred because of a flaw on the premises of the property owner or another establishment in the vicinity, obtain the proper medical documentation concerning your injury. You need to state that you were in fact injured and sought the appropriate medical treatment for the injury. If you have received particular medical treatment for the injury, this too should be documented. Having proper medical documentation is necessary; should the accident care result in a lawsuit.
2. Take photographs of the accident scene.
Take or have someone take pictures of the accident scene as soon as possible after the accident occurred. A mobile phone camera will suffice. Slip and fall cases are most winnable when photographs are used as proof of the hazards on the property. Since jurors tend to be skeptical of slip and fall accident cases, pictures can give solid proof of a dangerous condition on a property, or a condition which caused the accident. Photos can show details and nuances that words or narratives of the accident might not. Photos are also credible sources of information, especially if there were no witnesses to the accident.
3. Inform the property owner of the accident.
Immediately notifying the property owner or property manager after a slip and fall accident has occurred will help prevent subsequent accidents from occurring. Informing them about the accident is also essential to creating an incident report for the case. In some instances, the property owner may even be the one to take photographs of the accident scene. If the property owner or manager is unavailable at the time you seek to inform them, try notifying an employee of the property. This will give you an additional witness to the scene of the accident and the nature of your injuries. This is advantageous if the case goes to trial, since the employee can serve as a witness against his own employer – a very persuasive move. In the event that you cannot immediately inform the property owner or the responsible party, provide a follow-up notice. Making a timely claim will let you inform the property's insurance carrier of the incident while helping you prove liability and damages.
Mark D. Dickstein is Managing Partner for The Dickstein Law Firm. The Dickstein Law Firm, a law firm located in Pembroke Pines, FL, and represents clients involved in personal injury lawsuits, wrongful death claims, automobile accidents, product liability cases, workers' compensation claims, retaliatory discharge lawsuits, medical malpractice claims, slip and fall injuries, property loss disputes, hurricane damage losses and music business law agreements and disputes. To learn more, please visit the law firm's website at www.flahurt.com .
Please do not consider the content contained in this article as a substitute for actual legal advice from counsel who has been retained and/or consulted with, as most cases have their own unique set of facts and require detailed information to properly analyze and form an appropriate legal strategy. This article is intended for informational purposes only.
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