Slip and fall accidents can result in painful injuries that make it challenging to move around, work, or even live independently. The costs of treating these injuries often add up quickly to the point of becoming unmanageable. If a property owner’s negligence caused your fall, you should not have to deal with the financial fallout on your own.
The steps you take after a Hawaii slip and fall accident can have a significant impact on your legal rights, your health, and your ability to pursue fair compensation. To learn more about what to do after a slip and fall accident, contact the Recovery Law Center to discuss your situation in a free case review.
1. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
After any slip and fall accident, the most important thing you can do is to seek prompt medical attention. Even if you don’t want to go to the ER, see your doctor right away.
Your doctor will examine your injury, recommend appropriate treatment, and keep your medical records updated. In addition to ensuring your health and safety, this examination will be an essential part of your slip and fall claim. Be sure to get the follow-up tests and care your doctor recommends. It is crucial to follow your treatment plan carefully.
When you file a claim, the at-fault party and the insurance company will look for every reason to minimize or deny your coverage. If you fail to obtain prompt medical care or do not follow through on your doctor’s orders, the other side may claim that you’re not as injured as you say you are.
2. Report the Accident
If you fell at a grocery store, retail market, or other public location, report the accident as soon as possible. Most large chains have formal reporting procedures for injuries that occur on-site. So it’s best to speak with a manager or property owner who can complete the report for you while you are there.
If you wait until after you leave the area to fill out a report, the property owner may claim that you didn’t take the injury seriously when it first occurred.
After the paperwork is completed, ask the manager or owner to provide you with a copy of the report.
3. Document Evidence
If you can, look over the area to identify what caused you to fall. If there was moisture or a spill on the floor, was there a wet floor sign present? Was the floor cluttered, obstructed, or otherwise unsafe?
If possible, take photos of the scene before the dangerous condition is cleaned up. Use your phone’s camera function to take photos of the area where your slip and fall occurred, the surrounding floor, and any visible factors that may have contributed to the accident. Also take photos of any visible injuries.
If any customers or employees were present, ask them for their names, contact information, and statements about what happened.
Finally, hold on to the clothing and shoes you were wearing at the time, as they could be crucial physical evidence in your case.
4. Do Not Accept or Assign Fault
Insurance adjusters and attorneys must complete in-depth investigations into the facts to determine who is at fault in a slip and fall accident. As such, you should avoid assigning blame to other parties or accepting responsibility while the investigation is ongoing.
This includes accepting fault by apologizing for the accident in any way. Even an innocent, “Sorry! Clumsy me!” could later be interpreted as an admission of guilt and used to minimize or deny your claim.
5. Avoid Talking to the Insurance Company
The majority of slip and fall accident cases are resolved through insurance claim settlements. So you’ll probably need to speak to an insurance representative at some point. However, you should limit your communication with insurance companies and watch what you say very carefully until you secure the services of a slip and fall accident attorney.
The insurance company may ask you to provide a recorded statement about what occurred. This may seem routine, but it could harm your case. If anything you say is even slightly off, the insurer may use your statements against you later on.
Before you provide any statements, sign any documents, or accept any settlement offers from the insurance company, speak with a qualified attorney. A lawyer can communicate with others on your behalf and help you avoid any statements or behaviors that could damage your claim.
6. Keep Everything Confidential
Avoid communicating with the property owner, manager, or insurance company while your claim is still pending. Do not post or share any information related to the accident on social media during this time, either.
In fact, it’s typically best to avoid social media entirely until your slip and fall case is resolved. Even innocent posts, photos, or comments may be misconstrued by the other side and used against you as evidence that you are not as injured as you claim.
To ensure other parties can’t find any information to use against you on social media, ask your friends and family to avoid tagging you or posting information about you online. It’s also a good idea to check your privacy settings to limit what other people can and can’t see.
7. Call a Honolulu Slip and Fall Attorney
Don’t try to face off against a deep-pocketed property owner or insurance company on your own. The best thing you can do to protect your legal rights is contact a knowledgeable premises liability lawyer. The Honolulu slip and fall attorneys at the Recovery Law Center have 25 years of experience standing up for injured Hawaiians and demanding the compensation our clients deserve.