How to Handle It to Preserve your Claim for Medical Treatment & for Pain Suffered.
Think about how many times a week you’re in a store or place of business. You’ve got your weekly grocery store visits, your Target or Walmart runs, you might need to grab something from The Home Depot or Lowe’s, and you might even stop at a convenience store on your way home for a coffee.
Say, during one of these outings, you don’t see a puddle of water on the floor of the store. Or perhaps a piece of shelving is jutting out into the aisle. Or maybe there’s a misaligned tile on the floor. The result of any of these instances is most likely going to be the same–you’re going to trip and fall. So, now you’re on the floor, in pain, wondering what the heck happened! What should you do?
The Do’s If You Fall in a Store
DO take pictures of what caused your fall immediately, if you’re able. If you have photographic evidence of what caused the accident, that can only help you in the long run. In high-traffic retail environments, the evidence tends to disappear quickly. If a puddle caused the slip, someone would be there in a hurry to clean it up; if a broken floor tile led to your fall, an employee would have covered it or put a caution sign by it within minutes; a potential witness will probably be in the next aisle within seconds. You need that proof, so take pictures whenever possible.
DO report the incident immediately to store employees and management. Tell them what type of injury you have, and ask to fill out an incident report. Make sure you take down the names and contact information of the store manager and anyone else who may have witnessed your fall or saw the condition that led to your fall.
DO seek medical attention immediately! If you’re disoriented or confused, let someone know, as this could be a sign of head trauma. Request an ambulance for ANY immediate and severe pain and/or if you feel dizzy, nauseous and/or disoriented. Pain that may require immediate medical attention includes radiating pain, pain upon any movement of an arm, hand or leg, breathing difficulty, or any type of head injury. In all such cases, the person should ask management to call an ambulance.
Not only should you do this for your own physical well-being, but medical care is evidence that can be used later. Make sure you report ALL injuries or pain you’re feeling to store management as well as medical personnel. Insist on seeing a medical professional, because that’s going to be the only person who can truly diagnose your injuries in a way that supports your legal claim.
The Do Nots of Falling in a Store
DO NOT (and this can’t be stressed enough) provide a recorded statement to a store representative or insurance adjuster without seeking legal advice and guidance. There have been cases where store managers and/or their insurance companies will offer you a “quick” settlement. DO NOT accept these; your injuries may be far worse than you realize, and by providing a recorded statement and/or settling with a store, you’re falling right into their trap–claim adjusters are only in it to save their companies money, so their offer is likely not going to be anywhere near fair.
DO NOT blame yourself for the fall. Ever. If you express any doubt as to what happened or introduce even in a millimeter of wiggle room to claims people, medical personnel, or witnesses, they could hold that against you. NEVER utter the words “I should have…” because a fall in a store is, under most circumstances, NOT your fault! Blaming yourself could result in a dramatically diminished injury claim value…if it doesn’t terminate your claim altogether.
Finally, DO call The Lapidus Law Firm for your next steps.
Can I Sue for Falling in a Store?
Once you’ve received medical attention, call the experienced personal injury lawyers at The Lapidus Law Firm before you speak to anyone from the negligent store or their insurance company. Remember, insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind. Our attorneys do. We’ll listen to your case and determine the best possible strategy that leads to a positive outcome and, potentially, a fair and reasonable settlement too.
If you need us in an emergency situation, someone is available to take your call 24/7–just call (202) 785-5111 anytime. Remember, the fall was not YOUR fault–so let our experienced attorneys handle all of the heavy lifting for you. Call today for your free, no-obligation consultation.