What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall Accident in Oregon?
If you were asked to give an example of a type of accident that commonly leads to a personal injury claim, a slip and fall probably would not be the first thing to come to mind. When thinking about personal injury cases, many people first think about automobile accidents, semi-truck crashes, medical malpractice, or maybe even product liability.
But the truth is, hundreds of thousands of people are injured every year in slip and fall and trip and fall accidents. It’s equally true that many of these accidents are entirely preventable but unfortunately result from another person’s negligent behavior. Thus, in those instances, it’s only fair that the wrongdoer is held accountable and that the injured party be made whole under the law. But slip and fall cases can sometimes be more complicated to prove.
In this article, we will discuss some important steps to take if you are injured due to a fall at a business location.
How Common Are Falls?
According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), slip and falls result in more than one million emergency room visits every year across America. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) report that falls among older adults result in more than 800,000 hospitalizations yearly. For some, it is surprising to learn that traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) result more from falls than from any other cause. In 2015, medical costs associated with falls exceeded $50 billion.
Steps to Take after a Slip and Fall
Needless to say, slipping and falling is an unpleasant experience. First, the resulting injuries can be serious and debilitating. Additionally, at the moment it happens, people are often embarrassed, stunned, or both. Thus, it can be helpful to have a plan of action to follow just in case one ever needs it. Below, we outline a few actions that can prove helpful if you suffer a slip and fall accident:
- Identify witnesses - If you are in a position to do so, identify anyone who is present and attempt to obtain their contact information. That includes store employees. Otherwise, it can be very difficult to locate these people at a later time.
- Take photographs - This can include the accident scene, any hazards that caused or contributed to the fall, and resulting injuries. Keep in mind that foreign substances on your clothing may be important.
- Report the accident - If you have an accident in a store or other business, make sure to properly report the fall. Otherwise, the business owner may later claim that they were not even aware of the incident. Additionally, make sure you report the fall to the correct employee who has the authority to deal with the issue. However, you should consult with counsel before giving a statement or interview.
- Obtain a medical evaluation - If you believe you may have suffered an injury, it’s important to have your condition evaluated. This also means calling 911, if appropriate. Some people make the mistake of assuming that they are only “sore” and that “aches and pains” will quickly resolve. While we always hope that is true, these can be symptoms of far more serious injuries.
- Follow up with recommended treatment - After obtaining an evaluation, be sure to follow up with all recommended treatment. It’s important to ensure that you heal properly and attempt to return to the level of health existing before the accident. Plus, in some cases in which injured victims do not go to every recommended medical visit, we have observed insurance companies and defense attorneys make an inaccurate argument that the plaintiff really is not hurt.
- Consult with an attorney - An effective premises liability attorney can be essential. A good attorney knows how to obtain important documents and other evidence necessary to prove the case. A lawyer can also help you investigate the accident, deal with the business, its insurance company, and the opposing lawyer. An attorney also can help evaluate settlement offers and represent you in a trial if a settlement is not reached.
Call with Questions
At Nelson MacNeil Rayfield, our experienced premises liability attorneys represent individuals all across Oregon and are here to answer any questions you might have about your injuries and your rights. We believe the only way to keep society safe is to make sure that negligent people and businesses that cause injuries are held accountable for their actions. Please call us for a free consultation.