What to Do After a Fall & When to Hire Slip and Fall Lawyers in NYC
More than a million people each year visit emergency rooms in the United States because of falls. Some fall victims have minor injuries like cuts or bruises, while others break hips, suffer concussions or even damage their spinal cord. Falls can even be fatal.
If you are hurt in a fall on someone else's property in New York City, the law may give you the right to make a claim against the person or company that owns or controls the property.
Whether you fell on public property, in a private home or in a business such as a store or restaurant, there are some important actions to take after a fall accident:
Get medical help right away.
You should see a doctor or go to a hospital immediately after a fall. Not only do you need to get your injuries checked out and treated, but you also need medical records showing the extent of the damage and injuries caused by the fall. Some major injuries (for example, a traumatic brain injury) show few immediate symptoms. Timely medical care and diagnosis could save your life. Evidence of the extent of your injuries will also be valuable when you pursue a fall injury claim.
Report the accident immediately.
You need to alert the person or company in charge of the property as soon as the accident happens. This means telling the homeowner whose house you were in, calling the landlord or alerting the manager at a business. If the injury happened at a business or in an apartment, the storeowner or landlord should make a formal accident report, and you should ask for a copy. If you need to leave the accident scene for medical treatment, be sure to call back later to get an accident report.
Be careful what you say after the accident.
Whether you are dealing with a homeowner, a landlord or a business manager, you should avoid getting emotional, casting blame, admitting guilt or arguing about how and why you fell. You don't want to say anything that could be used to undermine your potential claim for compensation. You also don't want the situation to escalate into an argument. Simply report the facts of your injury in a straightforward way.
Get witness contact information.
You should obtain the names, addresses and telephone numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident. These witnesses can back up your story if the property owner tells a different version of events in an effort to escape liability for your fall injuries.
Be sure to take detailed photographs of the location where you fell, as well as any conditions that contributed to causing the fall (a broken tile or puddle of spilled liquid, for example). Try to ensure the pictures are time-stamped so it is clear exactly what the conditions were at the time of your accident. For example, if a homeowner clears the snow from a driveway and salts it an hour after your accident, it could become more difficult to prove that it was slippery and unsafe at the time of the fall.
Keep and preserve the clothes and shoes you were wearing.
These can be useful evidence to show that the fall was caused by the negligence of the property owner.
Call a lawyer.
You should contact a New York slip and fall attorney as soon as you can after you have suffered a fall injury or other accident caused by negligence. A NYC premises liability attorney can help you to get started gathering evidence before it disappears, and can also make sure you don't answer questions unnecessarily or say anything that you should not. It is especially important to consult with an attorney before you sign anything or negotiate with the insurance company that covers the property owner. Insurers focus on their own profits rather than on providing you full and fair compensation for your injuries.