We have all - at one point or another - suffered a fall. Oftentimes, our pride is hurt, but our bodies are just fine. Other times, though, we are seriously injured. Sometimes slips and falls are caused by the negligent or careless behaviors of another person or business. Proving that someone else is responsible for injuries you suffer in a fall can be difficult, but there are some actions that can be taken to help protect evidence should a claim be made in the future.
Documenting the scene
If you have been injured in a fall, your health is of the utmost concern. You need to seek treatment immediately if you are hurt. Once medical care has been provided, though, there are steps to take that could make a huge difference down the road.
Ideally, the scene of the fall should be documented by pictures, video, sketches or diagrams soon after the fall so that the details are fresh. Since most everyone has a camera phone these days, it is easier now than ever before to do this. Special attention should be given to any hazards or unusual conditions that contributed to the fall like cords, hoses, objects, tools, holes, ladders, etc.
It is best to take pictures or video from several different perspectives around the accident scene, including that of the victim at the time of the fall, as well as from doors, windows or other vantage points to get as comprehensive a view as possible. If the accident happened at night or very early in the morning, then pictures should be taken both in the same light and in the bright light of day to give a more accurate picture of the scene as the victim saw it at the time of the accident. Photo and video evidence are invaluable for proving an insurance claim or in a civil lawsuit.
The human element
Were there any witnesses to the accident? If so, then it is best to get a statement from them as soon as possible afterwards, while the details are fresh in their memory. It is important to also gather their names, addresses and phone numbers in case they are called upon to provide a more thorough statement in the future.
Even if there were no witnesses, evidence can still be gathered in the form of clothing and shoes worn at the time of the accident. Clothing can sometimes be particularly helpful, because tears, stains or scratch marks can help prove that a victim fell in the manner he or she has described.
Of course, it is also important that the victim write down what he or she remembers about the accident scene as soon as possible. This can be difficult, especially if the injuries were serious, but it can be vitally important to a later claim for compensation. The victim should be as thorough as possible, writing down everything he or she remembers about the scene, including the amount of daylight (if any), weather, presence of obstacles, witnesses, distance from a vantage point like a door or window and any other distinguishing characteristics, no matter how small, because they could prove helpful down the road.
If you have questions about whether or not you may have a claim relating to a slip and fall you have endured, consider speaking with a local personal injury attorney. Most attorneys offer free initial consultations for injured persons, and they have the knowledge necessary to give you an honest answer about your chances of successfully filing a claim to hold the responsible parties accountable.