We would all like to think we are graceful and skilled enough to stay on our feet regardless of the conditions. The sad fact is, slips, trips, and falls account for the majority of injuries in the workplace and other public spaces. Sometimes these unfortunate accidents are due to own carelessness. Other times, they happen thanks to the neglect of others who failed to keep publicly accessible areas well-maintained. From crumbling sidewalks to wet floors without posted warning signs, if someone else’s negligence contributed to your slip-and-fall accident, contacting a personal injury attorney is one of the first steps you must take to protect your rights.
How premises liability plays into slip-and-fall accidents
Premises liability dictates that buildings, homes, parking lots, walkways, and any other areas accessible to the public must be maintained to ensure safe travel. This means salting icing walkways and repairing uneven sidewalks or crumbling concrete stairs before someone falls on them. Property owners who fail to abide by premises liability laws in Albuquerque open themselves up to a personal injury lawsuit if someone slips, trips, or falls and suffers serious injuries. Victims of slip-and-fall accidents can seek compensation for their medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. It pays to make sure your property meets all safety standards to avoid this costly mistake.
If you are the victim of a slip-and-fall accident, you must take the following five steps to ensure the best possible outcome if you decide to file a personal injury claim against the property owner.
Step 1: Seek Medical Treatment
Depending on the conditions that caused you to fall, you may have a simple wound like a sprained ankle or something more serious like a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Your priority is to receive medical care for your injuries before all else. In addition to receiving the proper medical treatment for your physical trauma, your medical provider also can document your injuries, which includes details about how they occurred. Your medical records play a vital part in a successful personal injury claim. Validating when – and how – the damage occurred is part of the evidence your personal injury attorney will need to file your claim.
Step 2: Call a Personal Injury Attorney
Once you are examined by a medical professional and your injuries are documented and treated, your next call should be to a personal injury attorney. Even if you are unsure yet whether you plan to sue, consulting a personal injury lawyer immediately as soon as possible is the best course of action. Personal injury attorneys experienced in premise liability can handle the complexities that come with proving your case. Bringing a skilled attorney on board early guarantees you the guidance needed to gather all documentation and information you will need to win damages in an out-of-court settlement or through a jury award if your case goes to court.
Step 3: Report Your Accident
It may seem like this should be the first step, but when you suffer injuries in a slip-and-fall accident, the most important thing is to receive prompt medical attention. Whether the incident happened while shopping at the grocery store or walking down a public sidewalk, you must alert the property owner about the incident. If the place where your slip-and-fall accident occurred is a public facility, ask the management for acknowledgment in writing that you reported your injuries to them and detailed how they happened.
Step 4: Gather Documentation
This is something your personal injury attorney can help you do. As a rule, you will want to gather the names, addresses, and contact information of all potential witnesses to your slip-and-fall accident. Another critical piece of evidence is photos of the scene of the accident. If you fell on a poorly maintained surface like an uneven sidewalk or crumbling staircase, taking photos of the area can help prove your case. Make sure you set aside the clothing and shoes you were wearing when you fell in case the property owner tries to claim that how you were dressed contributed to your accident. Write down as many details about what you were doing before you fell, including the date and time of your accident.
Step 5: Right to Remain Silent
The right to remain silent does not just apply to criminals. Victims of slip-and-fall accidents must decline to give any statements to the property owners or their representatives. Beyond notifying the property owner of your accident, victims are not obligated to speak to them further or provide any additional information. Unscrupulous property owners trying to cover their part in your slip-and-fall accident might try to trick you into taking on some of the blame. It is best to leave all official communication with the property owner to your personal injury attorney.
Working with an experienced slip-and-fall attorney
Working with a knowledgeable slip-and-fall lawyer offers the best outcome in your case. Bill Russell leverages his previous experience as an insurance agent specializing in property and casualty insurance to help victims of premises liability cases. Bill and his dedicated team can handle all the confusing paperwork, ensure filing deadlines are met and give victims the respect they deserve while handling their personal injury cases. Call 505-218-7844 or contact Bill online to schedule your free case revie