Steps to Take After a Commercial Premises Liability Accident
What Should I Do After a Premises Liability Accident?
There are many ways premises liability accidents can happen. They can be the result of:
- A trip and fall
- A slip and fall
- A defective or dangerous concealed condition
- A dangerous activity on the property
If you have been injured on someone’s business property due to a premises liability accident, there are several steps you should take to ensure your health is taken care of and your rights are protected.
File a Report of Injury
If you are on a commercial property such as a grocery store, gym, office or other place of business, they will likely have a process for documenting incidents. Contact a manager and file a report as soon as it is safe to do so. The sooner a store gets notice of the incident, the more likely they are to preserve any video evidence.
If you are on the job when the injury occurs, you need to file a worker’s compensation Initial Report of Injury immediately. Failure to file one of these within 24-48 hours could result in your loss of a right to pursue compensation.
Stop, Look and Listen
It is not enough that you fell on someone else’s property. You must prove that there was a dangerous condition and they were aware of it or that it was there so long they should have seen it. This is a tough burden to prove. You need to keep you eyes and ears open for any evidence that they were aware of it. For example:
- Ask the manager if they knew it was there
- Look to see if there any signs, mops, buckets or anything around to indicate they were preparing to clean it
- Ask if there were any witnesses to the source of the dangerous condition (not just the fall)
- Look to see what the source of the condition was (leaky roof, dripping ice machine, etc)
What you observe may determine whether you have a case or not so be alert.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Falls on hard surfaces can result in broken bones, torn ligaments, ruptured tendons and other serious injuries. The full extent of the injury may not be readily apparent at the time. Thus, getting all injuries checked out by a trained emergency physician is the best thing to do.
Adjusters Use Lack of Care to Deny or Low-Ball Claims
Insurance adjusters are looking for an excuse to deny your claim. Here are some of the medical care mistakes they commonly deduct from your offer for:
- Not calling an ambulance
- Not going to a hospital from the scene
- Delays in seeking the initial medical care
- Delays in following up after the initial medical care
- Not following doctor’s orders
- Missing scheduled appointments
- Gaps in your medical care
- Not filling prescriptions
- Seeking “alternative,” “holistic,” or “experimental” types of medical care
If you do not want to get treated unfairly, your best bet is to seek care promptly and follow the doctor’s orders.
Call a Premises Liability Lawyer Immediately
Time is of the essence in premises liability cases. Many stores have video recordings now. But what many do not realize is that they also have policies set to allow the “recycling” of these video in as little as 7 days. If a risk management employee reviews the video and it helps your case, do not bet on it still being there weeks after the incident. They are under no obligation to keep that tape unless a lawyer sends a spoliation letter demanding that they preserve it. Many times, the video is the only evidence you have that establishes liability. If you wait until it is gone, you may have no case.
Photograph the Dangerous Condition
If you are physically able, snap photographs of the condition that caused your fall. Even if a video exists and can be obtained, water on a white floor can often be very hard to see on a video. If you are able to snap a photo with your phone that can show the condition and/or the source of the condition, this can be very beneficial to your case.
Photo Document Your Injuries
A picture is worth a thousand words. Getting fair compensation means giving the jury a mental image of all you went through. Photos in the emergency room can go along way toward showing what you endured. In addition to that, documenting your injury shortly after the injury and throughout the healing process can help jurors understand what you went through. Try to take pictures to document any changes in the injury, treatment and/or healing process to help tell your story.
Our attorneys can be reached at 1-800-298-0111 for a free case evaluation. If we take your case, we charge no attorney fees unless we make a recovery for you.