I Slipped and Fell at a Store. What’s My Next Step?

If you slipped and fell at a store, you may be eligible for monetary compensation. However, in order to get it, you’ll need to prove that the business’s conditions caused your injuries. This process is challenging, and if you don’t navigate it optimally, you could be putting your emotional, financial, and physical well-being at risk.

To ensure you get compensated for your injuries, it’s essential that you hire an attorney who has extensive experience with slip and fall cases. If you’re in need of guidance after an accident, Erie Injury is here to outline the next steps in the process.

What is a Slip and Fall Accident?

A slip and fall accident is a type of personal injury that occurs on another person or entity’s property. In this situation, a victim, through no fault of their own, slips or trips and, as a result, falls.

These kinds of accidents account for over one million emergency room visits each year in the US. Additionally, slip and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and occupational injury for those aged 55 and over.

When seeking compensation, slip and fall cases are some of the most challenging types of personal injury cases to win. Liability is not automatic, and for a person or a business to be found liable for your injuries, a judge or jury needs to find them negligent. The right lawyer will work expeditiously to speak to witnesses, preserve evidence, and obtain security camera footage to build a strong case.

Seek Medical Care Immediately

Whether you can clearly see your injuries or they’re more internal, it’s critical that you seek medical care immediately. Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been hurt, it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. During a traumatic accident, your body releases adrenaline/epinephrine that could temporarily mask your pain. Furthermore, documentation from a doctor will be helpful in later steps.

Be diligent about keeping track of your doctor’s bills or other accident-related expenses, including any absences from work. An attorney will use these receipts and work documentation when determining a proper settlement amount.

Survey the Scene

If you or someone you’re with is safely able to examine your surroundings and identify what caused you to fall, do it and document it with a photo while you’re still at the scene. Be on the lookout for:

  • Broken stairs or handrails
  • Bunched up carpeting
  • Icy parking lots and sidewalks
  • Spills on the floor
  • Uneven flooring or pavement
  • Wet floors

Depending on the severity of your injuries, documenting the issue may not be an option. If you were unable to photograph what happened, write down as much as you can as soon as you’re safe and able—the more detailed, the better.

Contact an Attorney

After a slip and fall accident, the property owner’s insurance company will attempt to contact you. We strongly encourage you to not talk to the insurance adjuster without an attorney. Insurance companies will try to use your statement to deny liability for your fall.

Ultimately, the sooner your hire an attorney, the faster you can win your case. Be sure to find one who has ample experience handling slip and fall cases.

Request Security Camera Footage

It might amaze you how easily you can acquire security footage from a scene. And, the number of security cameras is only increasing. In fact, from 2015 to 2018, the number of installed surveillance cameras grew nearly 50 percent, from 47 to 70 million, in the United States.

Video can provide supporting evidence that there were dangerous conditions that the store owner should have known about. Moral of the story: Even if you don’t think the store has security cameras, ask anyways. If there’s footage available, having it could be the difference between winning and losing your case.

Find Witnesses

If you fell in the store, it’s likely that somebody saw the incident. If there were people around, get their contact information. If they allow it, you might also want to get a quick statement at the scene rather than trying to track them down again later as witness accounts can be vital to the process of verifying the incident. If you’ve hired an attorney, they’ll likely want to get a recorded or written statement from each person who saw the accident.

File an Official Incident Report

A paper trail is always helpful when it comes to a slip and fall accident. If the store has a system to do so, file a complaint or send a letter with the help of an attorney. In this communication, you should provide proof of negligence on the store’s part. You may want to include photos of the environment where you slipped and fell.

A claims adjuster will call you shortly after you file this claim. When they do, do not provide a statement upon request. Instead, contact your lawyer immediately, and they’ll contact the insurance company on your behalf.

Get Back on Your Feet

Slip and fall accidents can be scary, and it’s hard to know what to do when one occurs. After seeking medical attention, consider hiring a personal injury lawyer who has extensive experience working on slip and falls to help ensure your injuries are covered. Contact an attorney at Erie Injury today if you’ve recently had a slip and fall accident and need help getting compensated for your injuries.

What Types of Personal Injuries Does Your Firm Handle?

Law firms come in all sizes, practice types, and legal focuses. To ensure more effective representation, the attorneys at Bernard Stuczynski Barnett & Larger (Erie Injury) focus on personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security Disability cases.

From car accidents to product liability claims, we’re your go-to source when someone or something hurt you and you need representation. If you or a family member has suffered a personal injury, read on to learn more about Erie Injury’s services, the benefits of working with focused firm, and our core values.

About Bernard Stuczynski Barnett & Larger (ErieInjury.com)

Since 1985, we’ve been helping victims in Northwestern Pennsylvania seek compensation for their injuries. Our dedication to our clients has allowed our firm to solidify its place as a regional leader.

To ensure the best service and highest probability of recovery for our clients, we focus on only three case types: personal injuries, workers’ compensation, and Social Security Disability. The reason we chose these three areas is because injuries often overlap more than one of those case types. Rather than send clients to multiple attorneys, Erie Injury can handle it all in-house. While there are so many ways injuries may occur, here are some of the most frequent types of cases we work on:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

If it transports people or goods and hurts you or a loved one in the process, chances are good this case will fall under a motor vehicle/auto accident. At Erie Injury, we find compensation for people recovering from injuries caused by vehicles:

2.2 million people a year suffer from injuries related to car accidents. In Pennsylvania alone, there are more than 100,000 crashes a year. If you suspect another driver’s negligence caused your injuries, we strongly urge you to speak with a lawyer before speaking with a claims adjuster. Beyond typical vehicle collisions, Erie Injury frequently works on:

  • Drunk driving accidents
  • Hit-and-runs
  • Uninsured & underinsured driver cases
  • Pedestrian and bicycle accidents

Wrongful Death

There are few, if any, events in life more difficult than losing a loved one. When a family member dies because of a person or company’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness, this situation is called a wrongful death. In the case of wrongful death, our attorneys will help your family get the compensation to which you are entitled under Pennsylvania law, which may include:

– Estate administration expenses
– Funeral expenses
– Loss of the family relationship
– Lost earnings and wages
– Lost future earning capacity
– Medical bills
– Pain and suffering
– Punitive damages

Please know that Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations typically requires you to file a wrongful death suit within two years of a family member’s death. Therefore, it’s essential to act quickly and hire an attorney who focuses on wrongful death cases.

Work-Related Accidents

If you’re injured at work in Pennsylvania, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier should pay for your medical bills and lost wages. Unfortunately, hiring a lawyer is often necessary to make sure you are compensated fairly. While it’s challenging to think about what to do after you’ve been injured, it’s vital that you:

  • Report your work injury to your supervisor
  • File an incident report within 120 days
  • Receive medical treatment
  • Document everything
  • Find out how much your weekly benefits will be
  • Find an attorney

Even if you’re currently receiving workman’s comp, it’s possible you’re being underpaid. If you’ve been injured on the job and you can’t go back, make sure you find representation.

Product Liability

Every year, millions of people are injured by dangerous and defective products. Whether these injuries occur at home or work, it’s critical to contact an experienced injury attorney. For more than 30 years, the experts at Erie Injury have been handling defective product litigation cases. From crushed limbs to severe burns, we’ve dealt with a wide range of cases.

Product liability cases can be highly complex. Moreover, manufacturers often spend exorbitant amounts of money paying their lawyers to prevent being held liable for any damages. For these reasons, it’s critical to find a seasoned attorney who fights for you.

Slip and Falls

Whether ice and snow or slippery floors caused you harm, Erie Injury is well-equipped to handle slip-and-fall accidents. Much like in an auto accident, it’s critical that you contact a lawyer before you speak to an insurance adjuster. Insurance companies will try to minimize payouts as much as possible and could use your statements against you.

In conjunction with slip-and-falls, we also handle trip-and-falls. These cases typically occur when someone trips and falls because of uneven sidewalks, broken pavement, or dangerous stairs.

To create a comprehensive case, we’ll review local and uniform building codes, hire engineers, and speak with witnesses who might have previously reported the dangerous condition to the owners of the premises.

Dog Bites

Yes, they’re cute, but they can also be a source of serious injury. Dog bites often result in lacerations that require stitches and could leave permanent scarring. Yet, many people don’t realize that you can make a claim against the dog owner via their Homeowner’s Insurance to cover your injuries.

However, in Pennsylvania, liability for dog bites is not guaranteed. You need to prove negligence. Therefore, it’s helpful to hire an attorney who focuses in these types of injuries.

Attorneys with Core Values

As industry, technology, and law become increasingly complex, the axiom “a jack-of-all-trades is a master of none” continues to ring true. With a precise focus, we’re optimized to provide our clients with unrivaled guidance and better outcomes.

We serve people of all races, genders, sexual identities, religious backgrounds, body types, and socioeconomic statuses. However, we do not help drunk drivers. Furthermore, we do not represent insurance companies. By focusing our services and following our core beliefs, we ensure the best possible case for clients.

At Erie Injury, we strive to help people who can’t afford to hire an attorney. To make good on this goal, our attorneys work on a contingency basis, meaning we only charge a fee if we obtain a settlement or money judgment for our clients. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you earn a recovery for your injury, please reach out today.

6 Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident

Slip and fall accidents aren’t something you plan for, so it’s hard to know what to do next when one happens. Though the force of the initial impact can be difficult to shake, it’s important to remember that your physical, emotional, and financial well-being might be at stake, and you’ll want to act accordingly. In this post, Erie Injury, Erie, Pennsylvania’s slip and fall personal injury attorneys, explain everything you need to know after a fall to ensure you’re compensated fairly.

What is a Slip and Fall Accident?

Slip and fall accidents are a type of personal injury that occurs on another person or entity’s property in which a person slips or trips and, as a result, falls. Common causes of slip and falls include:

  • Wet floors
  • Broken stairs or handrails
  • Spills on the floor
  • Icy parking lots and sidewalks

In the United States, slip and falls account for over one million emergency room visits each year. What’s more, slip and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and the leading cause of occupational injury for those aged 55 and over.

After a slip and fall accident, the property owner’s insurance company will quickly attempt to contact you in hopes of getting a recorded statement. Do not talk to the insurance adjuster without an attorney. Insurance companies will try to use your statement to deny liability for your fall. Instead, follow these steps immediately after the incident, and contact a lawyer as soon as you’re able.

Seek Medical Attention

After a fall, your health and safety should be your number one priority. Even if you don’t seem to be hurt, a thorough check-up with a doctor will ensure no minor bumps and bruises turn into a more severe injury down the line. Plus, your physician will document any resulting ailments, which will provide the necessary proof of injury your lawyer will need during the settlement process.

Inspect the Scene and Determine Why You Fell

When you’re able and safe, take a look around the scene to determine what exactly caused you to fall. Pay close attention to environmental conditions such as ice or snow build-up, obstacles left by a landlord or an employee of the premise, loose floorboards, uneven carpet, or any other potentially dangerous condition that could have caused you to fall. Once you’ve identified the area of concern, photograph it thoroughly.

If possible, try to determine how long the dangerous condition was present on the property. The longer the circumstance persisted, the more likely your fall resulted from negligent ownership.

Identify Witnesses

Witnesses can be a crucial component for verifying events. Look for any bystanders in the vicinity who may have seen you fall, and, at minimum, get their contact information. However, it’s important to remember that your fall isn’t as important to the witness as it is to you. Therefore, if the witness is willing, it can be helpful for your attorney to get a recorded or written statement shortly thereafter. The reason being, they’re more likely to remember essential details just after the fall happened, and it’ll save you the hassle of trying to track them down as the case progresses.

Document the Accident

Proper documentation provides the proof you need to show negligence on the property owner’s part, so you must take the time to record as much of the incident as possible.

Take photos of what caused you to fall and be sure to take a few pictures of your resulting injuries. Additionally, try to secure any available video footage from security cameras in or around the property.

Keep a written record for your own purposes, including the date, time, and location of the fall. Note what you were doing right before the fall happened, and keep track of any witnesses or other people you spoke with when the incident occurred. Taking these steps as you go will ensure you don’t leave out any critical details that could help bolster your settlement or otherwise solidify your case.

Of course, keep track of any doctor’s bills or other accident-related expenses, including absence from work. Your attorney will use all of this information when determining a proper settlement amount.

*Bonus Tip: Stay off social media. While it might feel like an instinct to appeal to your networks for a kind ear and supportive advice, any statement you make on the internet can be used against you later. One comment about feeling alright or “just tripping” could result in a negative outcome for your case.

Make an Official Report

Before you leave the scene, file an official report with the property owner or manager. It’s ok to be vague in the initial filing, but you’ll want to include enough detail that indicates the possible severity of your injuries without adding any embellishments.

Filing a report before you leave the premises shows that you take the accident seriously. Of course, this report will likely prompt the property owner to enter a claim with their insurance company. A claims adjuster will then call you requesting a statement. It’s critical that you don’t answer this phone call. Instead, contact a lawyer immediately, and they’ll deal directly with the insurance company for you.

Find an Attorney

It’s vital to hire a personal injury lawyer expeditiously, as evidence needs to be preserved, and the property owner’s insurance company needs to be put on notice.

In Pennsylvania, property owners, including commercial property, apartments, and single-family homes, are required to maintain a safe environment for residents and visitors. When a slip and fall happens, you must prove the other party was negligent for your damages to be covered.

However, know that insurance companies and property owners will work hard to make sure they’re not held accountable for the accident. Hiring an attorney who specializes in slip and fall accidents is essential as the court is less likely to settle in your favor when a lawyer isn’t present.

Get the Help You Need

Slip and falls are scary, and it’s hard to know exactly what to do when they occur. After seeking medical attention, consider hiring a personal injury lawyer who focuses on slip and falls to help ensure your injuries are covered. If you’ve recently had a slip and fall accident and need help understanding your rights, contact an attorney at Erie Injury today.