Some people wrongly assume that if you slip and fall in a store and get hurt, the store is required to pay for your medical bills. Sometimes the store’s insurance policy will have coverage called “medical payments coverage” which does that, but it is not required.
More often, to get your medical bills and other damages paid, you will have to make a liability claim against the store or its insurance company and prove that its employees acted negligently which caused your injuries. Here are some steps that you can take to make sure evidence is preserved after a fall.
Immediately notify the manager on duty.
Nowadays, most businesses will have a policy in place that requires the manager on duty to fill out an incident report and document what happened. At the very least, they will want to take statements from witnesses and photograph the area where you fell. They will also likely look at the store’s surveillance footage and save any footage that shows your fall and the events before and after your fall. They may also ask you to write out a statement. It is important that you remember that they will try to blame you for your fall, so either refrain from giving a statement or be brief and careful about what you write.
Take your own pictures of what caused you to fall.
If someone slips and falls in a store it is typically on water or some other liquid. It is important to take photographs of what caused you to slip to document what it looked like at the time. The store is usually only liable if it knew or should have known that the liquid was on the floor and had enough time to clean it up or place a wet floor sign to warn people but failed to do so. If there is dirt, footprints, or cart tracks in the liquid (which tend to show it has been there a while) that would be helpful evidence for you. On the other hand, if it is a small puddle that came from the customer in front of you spilling something just seconds before you slip and fall, it is less helpful evidence for you.
It is also important to document the surrounding area. Were there many advertisements that were meant to divert your attention? Were there fresh fruits and vegetables on display that you were shopping for? Try to take pictures from the area you were approaching the spill, as the store will typically argue you should have seen the spill and avoided it yourself.
Get immediate medical care if you are injured.
If you are hurt in a slip and fall at a store, it is important that you seek immediate medical care. If you continue to shop or tell the employees that you will see a doctor at a later time, the store or its insurance company will hold that against you and may claim that you were not really injured.
Once a doctor has seen you and given you an idea about the extent of your injuries, you should give car accident lawyers, like the ones at Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law, a call to schedule a consultation right away!