Everyone knows that an accident can happen at any time. Some of these accidents may be minor, but other times they can cause a life changing injury. How often do you stop to think about how you would cope if it happened to you?
The more you hear about the dangers of accidents and injuries, the more cautious you feel. Yet no matter how careful we are in public places where safety should be guaranteed, there is always a real chance that an accident will happen to us, or a family member, or friend. That is because public places are exposed to risk in various shapes and forms, such as spilled liquid, an uneven or damaged step, or or a moving obstacle (think runaway trolley!).
In the case of slips and falls, it is easy to get hurt and put off work for weeks or months. Common injuries from slip and falls are very serious – such as ankle fractures, ligament tears to the knee, and neck, back, and spinal injuries.
If you’ve recently experienced or been involved in a slip and fall in a public area (or even a private place), then you’re most likely dealing with an array of inconveniences arising from the incident beyond the pain and medical bills.
If you have suffered an injury by falling over, it’s important that you take the right steps to move forward with your recovery and minimise the impact it has to your life.
A few steps to take after a slip and fall
Whether it was in a supermarket, shopping centre, car park, recreational centre, swimming pool, or any other public space (or even private space – like your friend’s house, or a visited office), falling and injuring yourself usually puts you in a serious predicament, especially if it wasn’t your fault.
After a traumatic experience, it is easy to feel lost. So here is the step-by-step guide on what do if you’ve suffered a personal injury as a result of a slip and fall.
Step #1: Seek medical help
Although you might not believe that something as small and inconsequential as a slip on the floor could ever result in serious medical complications, the truth is, you’re at a much larger risk of experiencing serious medical complications than you think. The average incident poses a big risk of experiencing short-term and long-term problems in the form of injuries like broken bones, fractures, concussions, or sprains.
Before you do anything else, seek medical attention immediately. Hopefully someone witnessed your fall and can assist you by calling an ambulance to taking you to a hospital. Even if you think you might recover from the accident quickly, you should take advice from a medical professional and not leave things to chance.
If you decide to pursue a legal claim about the accident in future, not going to a doctor immediately can cause a problem trying to prove when and how the injury occurred. Be sure to tell the doctor exactly how you fell over so that it is recorded in the doctors notes to be used as evidence later.
Step #2: Report the incident
After you seek medical attention to treat the injuries due to the slip and fall, it’s important that you also report the problem to the negligent party right away.
Reporting the accident as soon as possible not only helps ensure that the management of the establishment that you slipped and fell in is aware of your injury (so they can take measures to prevent it from happening to other people), but it also allows you to establish a degree of correspondence needed to ease your troubles.
A written incident report completed by the venue where you hurt yourself often becomes an important piece of evidence in a claim for personal injury later on.
Step #3: Collect evidence
If you think that someone else is at fault for your injury, one of the first things to do after getting medical attention, and reporting the incident, is collecting your own evidence. You should collect as much evidence as possible. Perhaps a friend or family member was with you who can help you by taking photos and write a statement confirming the circumstances that caused you to fall.
Additional evidence in the form of medical documentation like X-rays or scans, doctor’s findings also help support your narrative if there are questions later about who was responsible for what happened to you.
Step #4: Seek the services of a legal expert and make your claim in court
Once that you have a pile of medical bills, have lost time from work, and are now probably getting tired of relying on family and friends to drive you to your appointments, it might be time to consider legal advice.
Talking to a lawyer is usually free for an initial case evaluation to determine if your accident and injury was truly the cause of someone or something else. If so, a claim for damages can be issued to the public liability insurer to recover your expenses and an additional sum for your pain and suffering, and future expenses yet to be incurred. Most claims are able to be run on a no win no fee basis, so you have nothing to lose.
It is worth noting that most personal injury claims don’t end up in a court room, but your lawyer will prepare your case for all scenarios. By engaging a compensation lawyer, you’ll be able to focus on your recovery and not need to worry about navigating the tricky Personal Injuries Proceedings Act 2002 (Qld) which governs your claim.
Dealing with the consequences of a slip and fall is a problem that must be handled correctly, and efficiently, to ensure that you don’t end up suffering more in the future. With the steps outlined above, you should be able to protect yourself and your case, should you be one of the unlucky ones who has been injured in an accident.
Roche Legal’s compensation law team includes some of the best personal injury lawyers in Brisbane that can help you seek your maximum compensation entitlement in the event of a slip and fall. If you’re currently considering your legal options, contact us today for a free initial consultation.