Slipping and falling can be a traumatic experience – both physically and emotionally.
If the fall occurs in a public space, and a lawsuit is appropriate, it’s important to know how to handle the complexities of such an incident.
Filing a Lawsuit
When a slip or fall happens in a public location, such as a mall – outside of a store – the claim is against the shopping mall owner. Common areas of the shopping mall include parking lots, the food court, public restrooms, elevators, and escalators. Mall owners are liable for customer safety, meaning they have a legal duty to protect their visitors from injury.
The statute of limitations to file for an injury suit will differ by the state – so, do the research prior to filing.
With all of that in mind, here are some steps to take before seeking compensation:
Visit the Doctor
After a bad fall, receive immediate medical treatment.
If an injury is worse than it appears, it should be diagnosed and treated ASAP. Furthermore, it’s important to any potential lawsuit that a doctor diagnoses and documents the injury.
Document. Document. Then Document Some More.
Get every detail regarding the incident in writing; including the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of all potential witnesses. Witness statements can make or break a case.
Also, take photographs and ask for security footage of exactly where the accident occurred. Take note of icy stairs, wet floors, or any other hazards that might have led to the fall. Then, write down exactly what happened prior to the fall, how the fall happened, and time and date.
Save any clothing that was worn during the accident. There may be markings or signs of damage that make these clothes relevant pieces of evidence.
Don’t Offer Any Statements
It may be tempting to let social media networks know of a bad fall as a form of public service (so that people are cautious when walking in a given public space).
And in today’s climate, hundreds of people can be informed of a traumatic incident at the press of a button. However, it’s best to avoid social media after a fall. A post pertaining to the accident could hinder a potential claim.
Communications with any other parties involved in the incident (e.g. security personnel, mall employees) should be limited as well.
Lastly, don’t speak to any insurance companies before discussing the fall with an attorney.
Speak to an Attorney
Provided a lawsuit is on the horizon, calling an attorney is an absolute must. Those being sued will certainly equip themselves with a rock-solid legal team – so being aptly prepared with an expert injury lawyer is a necessity when seeking proper compensation.
A successful lawsuit can result in compensation for pain and suffering, loss of income, medical expenses, and for future loss of income. The dollar amount depends on the severity of a given injury and the impact on a victim’s life. The court considers factors such as age, pre-existing injuries or conditions, and whether the victim is at fault.