The Importance of Timely Documenting Injuries in a Slip/Trip and Fall
By: Jesse Fulton
This Thanksgiving, as we gather with loved ones, let’s also take a moment to consider safety. Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, even during the Black Friday rush. Whether it’s a public place, a sporting event, a workplace, or someone’s property, remember to report and document any incidents promptly. Protecting yourself and others is key to ensuring a safe and enjoyable holiday season.
Integral to Establish Liability
One of the first steps that should be taken following a slip/trip and fall is to document incident/accident. This will provide essential evidence to establish liability that is contemporaneous with the fall. By timely documenting the fall, one is able to establish a timeline that can give context surrounding the fall, which may help determine who was responsible for maintaining the premises and/or identify potential hazards. It allows the individual to record critical information that includes the date, time, and location of the incident. If possible, one should take photographs or videos of the accident scene, focusing on any hazardous conditions that contributed to the slip/trip and fall, such as wet or slippery surfaces, uneven flooring, inadequate lighting, or other dangerous elements. This kind of visual evidence can be compelling in demonstrating the existence of a hazardous condition at the time of the fall that the property owner or manager should have addressed.
If the slip and fall occurs on someone else’s property, promptly report the incident to the property owner, manager, or appropriate authority. Keep a record of whom you reported the incident to, and if you can obtain a formal report, it is imperative that you do so, and make sure it includes the date and time of the report, any witnesses, and any subsequent conversations or actions taken. This demonstrates that you took the appropriate steps to notify the responsible parties of the accident.
Provides Accurate Medical Assessment at the Time of the Fall
Another benefit to obtaining and/or timely reporting a fall is that is allows an injured party to accurately document the cause and type of injury suffered. This can help medical professionals assess your injuries and provide appropriate treatment. Recording the exact nature of injuries sustained is essential for proper diagnosis and ongoing medical care. In addition, documenting medical treatment, prescriptions, rehabilitation efforts, and other related expenses is crucial in demonstrating the financial impact of your injuries. By providing these records, you can prove the costs you incurred and ensure that all damages are considered during the legal process.
Contemporaneous and Detailed Documentation Strengthens Potential Future Claims
Sometimes an injured party must file an insurance claim for a slip and fall accident to recover the costs/expenses related to the injury suffered. By obtaining contemporaneous and detailed documentation, one can significantly strengthen their claim. Providing detailed notes, photographs of the accident scene, and any visible injuries will help provide a clear account of the incident. This evidence can support the claim and prevent insurers from denying or undervaluing the compensation you may be owed related to the injuries suffered. Additionally, statements from any witnesses present during the accident can provide objective accounts of the fall and support your claim. Witnesses may have observed the hazardous condition or the property owner’s negligence, strengthening the case for liability.
The last thing on most people’s mind after being injured in a slip and fall accident is to preserve evidence. However, the reality is that evidence can disappear quickly. Witnesses may forget details, video surveillance footage may be erased or overwritten, and property owners may repair or correct hazards.
By documenting the accident scene and injuries contemporaneous with the fall, and collecting witness statements, you are able to preserve crucial evidence that may be vital to building a strong claim and/or legal case, and also prevents any attempt to alter or misrepresent the circumstances of the incident.