Slip and Fall Accident Checklist
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
After suffering an injury on a slippery or hazardous surface, a slip and fall accident checklist is crucial to ensure you take the proper steps to protect your rights. Following a slip or trip and fall incident, documenting the scene, seeking immediate medical care, and reporting the accident can help you establish a claim for compensation.
Our slip and fall attorneys at Cochran Kroll & Associates, P.C. are ready to walk you through a comprehensive slip and fall accident checklist, helping you gather evidence and seek a fair settlement from the responsible party.
Importance of Taking the Right Steps After a Slip and Fall Accident
A slip and fall accident can be more than just a momentary lapse in balance; it can lead to severe injuries, prolonged medical treatments, and significant financial burdens. The actions you take immediately after the incident can be crucial in determining the outcome of a legal claim you might pursue.
Historically, in Michigan, the “open and obvious” doctrine posed a significant hurdle for many victims of slip and fall accidents. This doctrine argued that if a hazard was so evident that any reasonable person would notice it, the property owner might not be liable for the resulting injuries.
This made it challenging for victims to secure compensation, even in situations where negligence on the part of the property owner was evident.
However, with the recent overturning of this doctrine on July 28, 2023, by the Michigan Supreme Court, the legal landscape has shifted in favor of a more balanced examination of liability. Now, the open and obvious nature of a hazard will only be considered as part of comparative fault.
Slip and Fall Accident Checklist for a Strong Claim
Given the changes to Michigan’s slip and fall laws, it’s even more crucial for victims to be proactive in the aftermath of an accident. By following a slip and fall accident checklist, you can take the right steps to safeguard your health and strengthen your legal position.
The following actions can give you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve:
1. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
The first step in your slip and fall accident checklist is prioritizing your health. Even if you feel fine immediately after the fall, seeking medical attention is essential. Some injuries, like concussions or internal injuries, may not show symptoms immediately but can have long-term consequences if left untreated.
You receive an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan by seeing a medical professional. You also create a medical record of the incident, providing concrete evidence of the injuries sustained and connecting them to the fall.
2. Collect Witness Contact Information
Witnesses can play a crucial role in slip and fall cases. They provide an unbiased account of what transpired, which can corroborate your version of events. If someone sees you fall, or even if they arrive shortly after and witness the conditions that led to the accident, their testimony can support your claim.
If there were any witnesses to your accident, approach them calmly and politely. Ask for their names, phone numbers, and email addresses. If they’re willing, you can also ask them to briefly describe what they saw. This can be as simple as a written note or a recorded statement on your phone.
Store this information securely and share it with your attorney to help you build your case.
3. Gather Evidence of the Accident
Start by taking clear photographs of the scene where you fell. Capture different angles, focusing on the hazard that caused your fall, whether it’s a wet floor, uneven pavement, or any other obstacle. If there were any warning signs (or a lack of signs), photograph those as well.
Also, take pictures of your injuries, if visible. Bruises, cuts, or other physical signs can indicate the fall’s severity.
If the location has surveillance cameras, make a note of them. They may have captured the incident, and the footage may be requested later during legal proceedings.
Remember, the scene might change rapidly. Water can evaporate, obstacles can be removed, and signs can be placed post-incident. Capturing the scene immediately after the accident ensures you have an accurate representation of the conditions at the time of your fall.
4. Report the Incident to the Property Owner or Manager
Once you’ve ensured your safety and gathered evidence, report the accident to the person in charge of the premises. If it’s a store, speak to the manager. If it’s private property, reach out to the owner. Inform them about the accident, detailing where and how it happened.
Most commercial establishments will have an accident report form they’ll ask you to complete. Ensure you provide accurate details but avoid making speculative statements or admitting fault. If possible, get a copy of this report for your records.
Reporting the incident officially notifies the property owner or manager of the hazard, potentially preventing future accidents. It also creates an official record, which can be beneficial when pursuing a legal claim.
5. File an Accident Report With the Police
In some slip and fall incidents, especially those resulting in severe injuries or occurring in public spaces, you might file an official accident report with the police. While not every slip and fall requires police involvement, having an official report can lend credibility to your claim.
When the police arrive, provide a clear and concise account of the incident. Just like with the property owner or manager, avoid speculation and stick to the facts. The police will likely interview witnesses present and document their statements, adding more evidence to support your case.
Once the report is filed, obtain a copy through the MSP Records Request Portal or the report number. This will be crucial for any future legal proceedings and for your attorney to access the completed report.
6. Do Not Sign Waivers or Give Statements Without Your Attorney
In the aftermath of an accident, you might be approached by representatives of the property owner, their insurance company, or even their legal team. They might present you with documents to sign or ask for a recorded statement about the incident.
While they may seem friendly and concerned about your well-being, remember that their primary goal is to protect their interests. Never sign any documents, waivers, or agreements without consulting an attorney. These documents might contain language that limits or waives your right to pursue compensation.
Also, be cautious about giving recorded statements. Without proper legal guidance, you might inadvertently say something that could be used against you later.
Decline any requests until you’ve had a chance to speak with an experienced attorney. Our premises liability attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. will guide you on how to proceed, ensuring you don’t unknowingly compromise your claim.
7. Avoid Posting on Social Media
Anything you post on social media could potentially be used against you in your claim. A seemingly innocent photo or status update can be misconstrued or taken out of context.
For instance, if you post a picture of yourself dancing at a party after the accident, it might be argued that your injuries aren’t as severe as claimed. Even expressing sentiments like “I can’t believe I was so clumsy!” can be twisted to imply fault on your part.
It’s best to keep details of the accident and any subsequent developments off social media. If you need to update loved ones, consider doing so privately through direct messages or personal calls.
8. Speak With an Experienced Attorney
Slip and fall accident claims can be challenging to prove without experienced legal guidance. Our knowledgeable premises liability lawyers at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. will represent your interests throughout the claims process.
We will do the following to help you win maximum compensation for your injuries:
- Gather evidence. We will gather photos, surveillance footage, maintenance logs, and other potential evidence sources. Our team will also interview witnesses, ensuring every piece of testimony is recorded and presented.
- Determine liability. We will identify and prove the negligence that caused your injuries. Whether it is a lack of warning signs, failing to fix a broken railing, or not installing adequate lighting, we’ll determine the responsible party or entity and help you file your claim.
- Accurate injury assessment. We can accurately evaluate your injuries with Eileen Kroll, a nurse attorney on our team. Eileen’s medical and legal knowledge ensures the injuries are connected to the fall, and the compensation matches the harm you’ve suffered.
- Engage in strategic negotiations with insurance companies. We know the strategies insurance companies use to reduce payouts. Our team will fight hard to protect your rights and get you a fair settlement that covers your expenses, now and in the future.
- Use expert witnesses. If a case needs specialized insight, we’ll bring in expert witnesses. Their testimonies can clarify how the accident happened due to negligence, detail your injuries, and show their effect on your life.
Protecting Your Rights After a Slip and Fall
After a slip and fall accident, you might feel pain and confusion. By taking the proper steps, you can protect your rights and work toward getting the financial compensation you deserve.
If you’ve had a slip and fall accident in Michigan, contact Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. Our knowledge of personal injury law means you’ll have a strong ally guiding you through your slip and fall accident checklist and fighting to protect your interests.
Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at (1-866-779-7331) and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.