Slip and fall attorneys often do not get involved in a case until long after an accident. Sometimes the victim does not even begin to look for slip and fall attorneys until a week or two, or more, passes. But, by then, slip and fall attorneys may not be able to help the victim.
Why not, you ask? I can give you the answer in two words: lost evidence.
You see, just because you slip on something at a business and are injured, does not mean that the business must pay you compensation. Under the law, in order to obtain compensation, you generally must prove that the business did something negligent (careless) to cause the accident. Or that the business failed to do something that it should have, and that failure caused the accident.
Here’s how these principles play out in real life. Let’s say you trip on a wet spot in a store. To successfully sue the owner, you generally would have to prove one of four things. You could win by proving that the store itself caused the wetness. You could win by proving that the store knew about the problem but didn’t dry the floor. Additionally, you could also win if you could show that the floor was wet long enough that someone at the store should have made it their business to know about the problem. Finally, you could win by proving that the store ran a “self-service” business, such as a cafeteria, and that it was foreseeable that self-service customers might spill liquids on the floor where you fell.
SLIP AND FALL ATTORNEYS’ ADVICE: WHAT TO DO IF YOU FALL
Slip and fall attorneys will tell you that the most important thing you can do immediately after an accident is to gather evidence of what the slipping hazard was, and how long it was present. Therefore, you should:
1. Photograph the hazard that caused you to trip.
2. Try and find witnesses who saw the hazard or the accident, before they leave the store. Write down all of their contact information.
3. Notify the business of the accident, and demand that the business retain, and give you a copy of, the store’s security video of the area at the time of the accident, for purposes of a potential court case. (It’s better to ask in front of witnesses, to lessen the risk of the store claiming that you never asked.) Follow up the same day with a letter containing the same notification and demand. Have it delivered by a professional messenger service. Delivery by next-day Express Mail is second best. Either way, you must get and keep written delivery confirmation of your letter.
4. If your injuries don’t allow you to do these things, try and have someone else do them for you.
5. Finally, it’s crucial that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney right away. He or she can take immediate steps to protect your potential claim. Here’s a link to a recent appeals court case where the victim learned this lesson the hard way. And here are some other things that you need to do right away after a slip and fall accident.