Every year, many people are seriously injured because of unsafe hidden conditions in some places of business. Whether it is poor lighting, faulty equipment, poor maintenance or other conditions, people can get seriously injured from a slip and fall.
Now, just because you fall in a business, it does NOT mean that the business is automatically at fault. The business must be negligent in such a manner to cause you to fall and get hurt. If you fall because of your own negligence or inattentiveness, then don’t turn to the business for compensation. Those types of claims only reduce the credibility of the legitimate claims where the business is truly at fault. A property owner or business is under no obligation to protect you from dangers that are obvious and reasonably expected.
Property owners and business owners are responsible for dangerous and hazardous conditions they may know about, should have known about, or failed to correct and/or about which they failed to adequately warn. A dangerous condition may be a staircase that needs fixing or an uneven floor. The dangerous condition may be hidden, but one in which the owner should have reasonably known. If the property owner or business did not know about a dangerous condition, but should have known through routine maintenance and repair, they could be held responsible.
When a loved one falls, the first thing to do is get up right away out of embarrassment. I know, my wife fell this weekend and that was my first instinct for her to do. (She is alright and there was no negligence on the part of the business owner that caused her to fall). Getting up is not always the best thing to do. Here is a list of things that you should do if you or a loved one is injured in a slip and fall at a business or property:
1. If you are injured, you should get medical care to address your injuries–not for a potential lawsuit, but for your own safety and security especially if you strike your head. A blow to the head could result in death if not addressed immediately.
2. Pictures are also important. Maybe you will never need them because you don’t have an injury, but you may never be able to recreate the area where you fell. The spill would be cleaned up. The safety cones would be put up. Signs could be posted. Photographs at the time of the fall (use your cell phone if needed) are crucial if you are injured in a slip and fall.
3. Get names and contact information of any person that may have witnessed your injury or has knowledge of the dangerous condition. Get the names of the store employees that may have assisted you. They may not be working there later when you need to talk with them.
4. Demand that an incident report be completed. Get the full name of the store manager or security officer who makes the incident report. Before you leave the premises, be sure you have a copy of the incident report BUT do not sign it.
5. Avoid providing any statements to the premises owner or their insurance company and do not sign any statements or incident reports. They will try to use this against you in the event of a lawsuit.
6. Keep the shoes and clothes you were wearing in a plastic bag especially if you slipped on a substance. The red soda or the springtime fresh laundry detergent that you slipped on that is still on your clothes will help prove your case. Just ask Monica Lewinsky.
Again, if you slip and fall and are not hurt, there is no need to make a claim against the property owner or business. Also, if you slip and fall because of your own fault and no fault of the business owner or store, don’t try to blame the business. However, if you or a loved one is injured because of the negligence of the owner of the property or the business, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries.
To understand your legal rights after a slip and fall caused by the negligence of the property owner or business, click here to schedule a free case consultation with Personal Injury Attorney Matthew Noyes. With offices throughout Tampa Bay, Attorney Noyes’ personal injury law firm-Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes-can provide guidance to you or your loved one. Contact them today. We See You Through.