Strolling through the grocery store aisle she walked so many times before, she didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Suddenly, her feet began to lose their traction and she could feel herself losing her balance. With both hands clenched tightly around the cart handle, her eyes widened as panic washed over her. The shrill sound of her scream permeated the air as she lost her balance. Only seconds later she found herself on the floor of the aisle, her knees bent and her arm wedged underneath her side. Beside her lay her cart, overturned.
A premises liability claim can be made under the following circumstances:
- The dangerous condition existed for such a length of time that, in the exercise of ordinary care, the business establishment should have known of the hazard
- The unsafe or dangerous condition is a recurrent hazard and could have been prevented
- The person responsible for maintaining the premises had enough time to repair the hazard and/or warn others about it
- The dangerous condition went knowingly unrepaired and the injured was uninformed or warned
- The dangerous condition caused the injury to occur
Commercial property owners have the responsibility to keep their guests safe. That responsibility extends to managers, associates and other employees.
If you find yourself hurt on another’s property following a slip (or trip) and fall …
Seek immediate medical attention
If you’re able to get to an urgent care center or hospital on your own, do so. If not, call 911 to have EMT transport you to the nearest hospital. Even if you don’t feel much pain, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention immediately after the accident.
Documentation from a medical professional is an essential asset towards proving premises liability and negligence. Retain any post-care instructions and prescription receipts.
Complete an incident report
Without a completed incident report, a property owner or manager can potentially deny any incident occurred, especially one that resulted in injury. If you’re not given an option to complete an incident report at the time of the incident, request one be given to you.
You will need to be very descriptive. Note the time that the event occurred, the condition of the floor and whether anyone else was present. Details you may not think are relevant at the time could become instrumental later.
Get a copy of your completed incident report. Keep this for your records to show that the property had notice of the incident.
Collect the contact information for the store owner, on-site manager and witnesses
Unless the property’s day-to-day operations are managed on-site by the property owner, get the contact information for the on-duty manager, store associate witnesses and other customers witness to the slip (or trip) and fall, as well as the property owner/landlord.
Responsibility for maintaining safe property conditions rests on many people.
Take photos and notes of the area
Photographic evidence complements the written incident report. The store may have their manager or another associate take photos of the scene for their records, but be sure to take photos as well. Get all angles of the area that caused you injury. Note anything that may not show up well in the photo and provide any clarifying remarks that will help give context to the scene. The more evidence you bring against the property, the better your chances are to resolve a slip and fall case in your favor.
Talk to an experienced slip and fall attorney
You need an experienced attorney when taking legal action after a slip and fall. Managers and property owners will often use tactics to avoid accountability for negligence and unsafe conditions. A skilled premises liability attorney will talk to the insurance company to get the best settlement for you.