In this blog article we will explain why you should always report a slip and fall accident attorneys. If you were injured after a slip or trip and fall accident, contact our Glenview law office for a free consultation at 847-305-4105. We have handled many of these cases and are happy to speak with you to assist you in any way we can.
Why You Should Always Report a Slip and Fall Accident?
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, it’s critical that you report the accident as soon as possible after it happens. Reporting the accident is the strongest evidence you have that the accident took place (as well as independent witness testimony).
According to the CDC, one out of five slip and falls result in a serious injury such as a concussion or fractured bone. CDC
I’ve had calls with many victims of slip and fall accidents who did not report the accident after it occurred. They fell in a parking lot or on a sidewalk, didn’t think they were that injured so they went home and took no action.
A day or two later when their arm continued hurting, they finally go to the doctor and find out they had a fractured arm or torn cartilage in their shoulder. They call and want to file a claim or lawsuit against the owner of the property.
The first question I ask callers is whether they filed a report after the accident happened. Most of the time they did not. Not filing a report is a huge obstacle to prevailing in this type of case. You should always report a slip and fall accident.
If you don’t, the owner of the property will likely argue that your accident could have occurred anywhere and at any time. The burden is on the victim to prove that the accident occurred where he/she says it did.
However, you may be able to overcome this objection through eyewitness testimony or perhaps the paramedics who picked you up from the scene documented where the accident took place.
Who do you report the accident to?
If you are able, call 911/contact the local police department to report the accident. If you don’t think that you are hurt, it is likely they will not send a unit to investigate the incident. However, at least you have reported the accident and it will be recorded in the 911 call log. You can also go to the local police station and file a report. But don’t delay.
If the accident occurred on private property, at an apartment complex or shopping mall, or at a public store, call building or store management immediately. Make sure they document the existence of the fall in a written report. Get the name of the security officer or store manager filling out the report and try to get a copy of the report as well.
If there are witnesses to the accident, obtain their name and number. They could have witnessed the accident or perhaps they saw you for the first time laying on the ground. Regardless, call for help.
Finally, when you obtain medical treatment, report the slip and fall accident to the nurse or physician who interviews you. They will put in the records the location and nature of the accident.
As an aside, if you fell on city property like a public street or city sidewalk, you may have a governmental claim which is governed by different rules. The most important being that you have a shorter timeline in which to file a claim and then a subsequent lawsuit.
Elements of a slip and fall accident
I have documented in prior blog articles the elements of a slip and fall action. However, one critical element is that there be a “dangerous condition.” If you just slipped and fell as a result of losing your balance, there is no cause of action.
Rather, you have to demonstrate that the owner of the property allowed there to be a dangerous condition (like water, a banana, a hole in the concrete etc.) that they knew or should have known about. Without a dangerous condition, there is no case. That is why it is critical to document what you fell on at the time of the accident.
If you are able, take photos of the dangerous condition immediately. I have worked on a few cases where there were no photos of what the victim fell on.
Example cases with different results
I had a client who fell on a slippery patch of ice and fractured her arm. Ice related slip and falls are a different type of case. But in short, in most of these cases you have to demonstrate that there is an unnatural accumulation of water/ice that formed and caused the accident.
My client didn’t contact me until months after the incident. The weather had warmed and the ice had melted. She did not take photos of what she fell on. After a rainstorm, I drove to the location of the incident and took photographs of puddles of water that had formed and told the insurance adjuster that this was evidence of the unnatural condition. He disagreed and due to the fact that we didn’t have photographs of the condition (and there was no report of the incident) we were forced to drop the case.
In a different case we had the opposite result. In that case, an elderly client fell on the walkway in front of a chain restaurant. The pads of concrete were not level – one pad rose up two inches above the other. He didn’t see the rise, tripped and fell and suffered an injury to his arm.
Immediately after the incident, the client took photos and went into the restaurant and reported it to the store manager. The manager filled out a report on the scene and gave a copy to our client. She documented the varying levels of the concrete in the report. To our amazement, the manager even admitted that others had fallen before and that she had previously notified her superiors of the condition. The case was over at that point and we were able to recover significantly for his injuries.
So, make sure you always report a slip and fall accident to the police or building or store management after it occurs. If you were involved in a slip and fall, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation at 847-305-4105.