Steps to Take if You Slip and Fall in a Retail Store
Slipping, tripping, and falling in a retail store can be much more serious than it sounds. You could suffer from a severe injury under certain conditions and end up needing extensive medical care in order to recover. If you take certain steps if you fall in a retail store, then you’ll be much more likely to get compensation for your fall to cover your related expenses and injuries.
Riverside, California personal injury lawyers Heiting & Irwin have over four decades of experience assisting clients with personal injury, including slip and fall accidents. We have retrieved more than $400 million for our clients, and we’ll work hard to get you the settlement you deserve.
What Is a Slip or Trip and Fall?
A slip/trip and fall is a type of accident that happens when a person slips or trips on someone else’s property and becomes injured. They are classified under premises liability cases. Each year, more than 1 million people go to the emergency room due to a slip and fall accident, and 5% of slip and falls involve broken bones. If someone slips and falls and is elderly or has other health issues, the damage can be much more severe. Even otherwise healthy people can suffer very serious injuries – and even death – as a result.
Slip/Trip and fall accidents can occur in a retail environment for a number of different reasons. For instance, a storeowner may have neglected to pick up products that fell on the floor, and you tripped and fell because you didn’t see them. The custodian for the store might have mopped the floor and forgotten to put up a “wet floor” sign, which caused you to slip and fall. There may have been torn carpeting in the store or poor lighting, or failure to clean up spills, or failure to provide open and safe aisles or walkways or restrooms, all leading to a fall.
Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident
As soon as your slip and fall accident occurs, report what happened to the storeowner. Ask them to take down a written report, and then review it and get a copy before you leave.
Additionally, make sure you collect evidence of the slip and fall as soon as possible and certainly while you’re still in the store. Take photographs of the hazardous conditions, the cause of your accident, your visible injuries, and any damage to your clothing or personal property. If there were people around, ask them what they saw and for their contact information; you may need to reach out to them again for more details down the line. Of course, if you were hurt too badly, you will not be able to do these things. If somebody is with you, perhaps they could assist.
Look around the store and see if there were any cameras that captured the incident. If so, request the footage from the storeowner. Write down exactly what led to the accident while it’s still fresh in your mind.
Seek out medical attention ASAP. Your doctor may give you a treatment plan. If so, follow it closely. Don’t miss appointments or neglect to take any prescribed medicine.
If the storeowner, or their insurance company reaches out, do not give them any further statement or discuss “settlement.” Do not accept any money in exchange for a “release.” It may seem like your injury isn’t serious enough to warrant a high settlement, any it may not be; but you never know how your injury could play out. You could end up needing extensive medical treatment for months (or even a lifetime) and have to take time off work as well as cease participating in the activities you love. You deserve proper compensation.
Insurance companies notoriously offer low settlements, and they don’t care about your recovery. What they care about is profits. Don’t tell the insurance company about your injuries or the accident, because they could try to use it against you later on. The smart thing to do is to get in touch with an experienced and highly-rated personal injury lawyer, ASAP, who will have your best interests in mind.
Proving Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case
With your slip and fall case, you’re going to have to show a few things:
- There was a hazardous condition at the store
- The storeowner/property owner knew or should have known about the hazardous condition with time enough to prevent the injury
- They did not adequately address the hazardous condition
- Because they failed, you got injured
It’s sometimes difficult to prove that a storeowner knew about a hazardous condition and didn’t correct it. We can also show that a storeowner didn’t take reasonable action to prevent accidents from happening. For instance, perhaps they neglected to walk the aisles of their store frequently to ensure there weren’t any objects that could cause someone to trip. Or, maybe they didn’t provide a wet floor sign or fix a frayed carpet that was damaged.
If you collect evidence right after your slip and fall accident, it can be a lot easier to prove your case. And with the help of a personal injury lawyer, you’ll greatly increase your chances of getting a settlement.
Why? An experienced personal injury lawyer who has worked on a number of slip and fall cases will know exactly what evidence you need to support your case. They will negotiate with the insurance company to get you a proper settlement, and they know what kind of settlement to seek for your case. Without their help, you may not be able to negotiate with an aggressive insurance company and could get much less than you deserve, or even nothing.
When looking for a personal injury lawyer, find one who has the case results to back up their experience. Look for high ratings with rating services such as AVVO and Martindale Hubbell. These types of lawyers charge contingency fees, which means you only pay them if they can get you a settlement. If you could retrieve the money to cover your medical bills and other expenses, then you would have peace of mind and be able to focus on your healing during this difficult time.
Contact Heiting & Irwin for Assistance
If you slipped and fell in a retail store and want to seek out compensation for your damages, then it’s time to find a personal injury lawyer to represent you. Heiting & Irwin are here for you. We have dealt with many slip and fall cases and will work hard to get you the settlement that you deserve. Contact us online or call us at 951-682-6400 to start your case now. We look forward to helping you.