Imagine yourself outside shoveling the snow off of your driveway. You go to move something out of your way when you slip on the ice just under the snow’s surface. As you fall, your instincts kick in and you reach out with your arms to break your fall. While this may seem like a good idea, you realize while you are sitting in the emergency room that there really is not a good way to break a fall on the ice. You have broken your wrist and now have to follow up with an orthopedist later in the week. You may be facing surgery just by shoveling some snow.
Sadly, this scenario is not uncommon. Chicago area hospitals are reporting that 90% or more of their patients in the emergency room lately have been there due to slip and fall accidents. One doctor reported treating 15 to 20 slip and fall patients in one shift. That figured out to more than two per hour, and more than he has seen in his 34 years of practice.
With winter seemingly hanging on longer than normal this year, it is important to understand the steps you need to take after a slip and fall accident, especially if the accident happened on someone else’s property. To protect yourself, we recommend the following steps:
- Seek Medical Care: This should be your first priority after a slip and fall accident. Even if you think your injuries are not serious, go see your doctor and let them know about your accident. Sometimes injuries do not rear their heads for days or weeks and documenting your accident in your medical records could be an important piece of evidence later on.
- Report the Accident: Regardless of where the slip and fall accident occurs, whether at a business, at a friend’s house, or on the sidewalk, report the accident to the manager or owner of the store, or the owner or landlord of the property. Ask them to make a written report and ask for a copy of the report before you leave.
- Document Everything: Collect the names and contact information for everyone that witnessed your fall. Take pictures of the location of your fall, including icy patches, stairs, or other conditions that may have contributed to your fall. Write down the way you fell, what you were doing right before you fell, and the date and exact time of the fall. Place your clothing and shoes that you were wearing at the time of your slip and fall accident in a safe storage place. They may be used as evidence if you decide to file a lawsuit later on.
- Decline Giving a Statement: Do your best to remain calm and limit any communication you have with the manager or owner of the property. Do not go home and post details of your accident on your social media accounts, and do not give a statement to any insurance companies until you have spoken to your attorney. Even if you feel like you may have been partially at fault for the accident, do not admit to even a little bit of fault.
- Call an Attorney: Although the insurance adjusters may sound like they are on your side, they are not. That is why you need an experienced slip and fall accident attorney on your side. These cases can be hard to prove, but an experienced lawyer can help ensure that your claim is successful.
Contact an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney Today
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be able to collect compensation for your injuries. The attorneys at Newland & Newland, LLP will review your accident and determine what your best course of action would be. We serve clients in the Arlington Heights, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Libertyville, Mundelein, Buffalo Grove, Schaumburg, Elk Grove, and Itasca areas. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
(image courtesy of Christian DeKnock)