What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt in a Fall
- Seek the medical care you need. In some cases you may need emergency medical care, but in others you may feel okay, at least initially. Whether you feel okay or not, you should still contact a medical professional and get a full evaluation of any potential injuries. After a slip-and-fall accident, some injuries may take time to show up, so a medical evaluation can help you catch problems before they become more serious.
- Report the accident to the owner or business. It’s important for them to know about the accident and the dangers that may be present for others. Refrain from taking any blame for the accident.
- Take photos and video of the accident scene. If you are unable to do so, see if you can find someone you trust to do it. Remember that an accident scene may change soon after you leave, and those responsible for the accident may clean the area. Videos and photos can help you and investigators understand exactly what happened at the time of the accident.
- Collect witness contact information including names and numbers. Witnesses may leave after an accident, never to be seen again. If someone saw your accident, make sure you get their contact information.
- Keep the clothing and footwear you had on at the time of the accident. An accident may ruin your clothing and shoes, but even so, it’s a good idea to keep them and not wash them. Your shoes and clothing can give important clues about what happened during and after your accident.
- Follow medical care instructions. Medical care is essential immediately after an accident, but it’s just as important to follow the instructions that your doctor gives you. Do everything they say, make it to every appointment if possible, and make sure you have records of the treatment that you received.
- Talk with an attorney about your slip-and-fall accident. After an accident, an attorney can act quickly to protect your claim and the evidence you need. Focus your effort on healing and let an attorney manage your claim.
What You Have to Prove in a Slip-and-Fall Claim
In Texas, you’ll need to prove several elements to show that the defendant was negligent. You’ll also need to show that you weren’t primarily responsible for the injuries that you suffered. Proving a slip-and-fall case requires close review and many important details to support your claim.
First, you’ll need to show that the defendant had a duty to protect your safety. For example, any time you’re a guest on another person’s property, that person takes on duties to protect you and keep you safe from harm. This means that they need to identify hazards, warn you about them, and take steps to correct them. This is an important duty that can help keep you safe.
Next, you’ll need to show that the defendant breached their duty to you. A defendant breaches their duty to you when they fail to keep you safe on their property. Perhaps they didn’t notify you of a slippery floor, didn’t fix a broken step, or otherwise failed to warn you of a danger or failed to correct a dangerous condition. When you’re a guest on another person’s property, they must work to keep you safe, or they may breach their duties to you.
After that, you’ll have to show that there was a direct link between the breach of duty and your injuries – that the defendant’s breach of duty caused your injuries. For example, let’s say you’re in a store and slip on a wet floor caused by a broken pipe. Let’s also say that there were no warning signs, and no hint that the problem existed. In a case like that, you could easily say that you wouldn’t have slipped but for the property owner’s negligence in maintaining a safe place for you to shop. In this case, there is a clear connection between the store owner’s negligence and your injuries.
Once you’ve proven these elements, you’ll need to prove that you suffered an injury because of the accident. Some accidents don’t result in harm, so you’ll need to show exactly how the accident harmed you. You can show your injuries with medical records, witness statements, and other documents.
Finally, in Texas, it’s important to know that your compensation may be reduced by the amount that you contributed to your injuries, and if you were more than 50 percent responsible for your injuries, you may not be able to recover anything.
If you have questions about proving your claim, speak with a slip-and-fall lawyer today. A lawyer can review your case, answer your questions, and guide you on the right path. A slip-and-fall claim can be an important way for you to find the compensation you need, so if it’s time to start a claim, speak with a lawyer today.