If you were injured as a result of falling in a store, you can get money for your injuries. However, in order to get compensation, you need to prove that the substance, item or condition that caused you to fall was a dangerous condition and the person who owned, operated or controlled the store either knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to fix it.
To make sure that you get compensated for your injuries, you should contact an attorney who does slip and fall and/or trip and fall cases. An experienced attorney can explain all of your options and discuss with the steps you should take to protect your claim.
What to do if you slip and fall in a store
- Seek medical care right away. If you break a bone or other more obvious injuries, this will be an easily understood first stop. However even if you aren’t in extreme pain immediately after the incident, it is certainly possible that you sustained serious injury but may not even be aware of.
- Identify what caused you to slip and fall. It may have been a substance left on the floor, uneven flooring, carelessly placed electrical cords or something else left in the walkway. Whatever it is, try and identify it.
- Personally document as much as you can of the accident. What was the shape of the substance left on the floor, what was the texture, how large was the slippery or treacherous area, etc. Write down or take electronic note in as great of detail as possible. As time passes after the event, the details will fade from your memory.
- Take Pictures and/or recordings of the situation and conditions. Any evidence that you can provide to support your case will be helpful during the process.
- Request store security surveillance video camera. Find out if the accident was caught on film. This video can provide a large amount of supporting evidence that there were dangerous conditions that responsible parties should have been aware of.
- Get the contact information for anyone who witnessed the accident or the resulting conditions If people witnessed the actual accident, that will be helpful. However, even a bystander who came along later could still speak to the conditions following the accident.
- File a Report. The store will have some method of filing an incident report. The store will want to try and get details from you that will work in their favor. They will likely attempt to resolve the issue then and there. Don’t let them. Remember anything you say could be used against you during the process.
- Contact an attorney. The store has people looking after their best interests, find someone to look after yours. Slip and fall situations are extremely nuanced a skilled attorney can help guide you through the process.
What do I need to prove in order to get a slip and fall settlement from a store?
- That there was a dangerous or hazardous condition existed on the premises.
- That the property owner knew or should have known through reasonable inspection about the condition.
- The property owner failed to do anything about this condition.
If you have some information regarding these questions, then an attorney can quickly tell you if you have a good case.
In order to hold someone responsible for your slip and fall, you have to show that that person had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition.
Actual knowledge is often difficult to prove. Actual knowledge is established if the property owner, operator or controller knew of a dangerous condition but chose not to fix it. For example, if a store manager knew that there was water on the ground and did not clean it up in a timely manner, he or she would be deemed to have had actual knowledge or notice of a dangerous condition.
Constructive notice can be established if you can show that a store owner failed to carry out a reasonable inspection of the store in order to locate and eliminate possible hazardous conditions. A property owner has a legal duty to inspect the premises under his or her control and to fix conditions that may cause an injury to others. Thus, if the property owner does not carry out reasonable inspections and you get hurt due to a dangerous condition, under the law, make regular and timely inspections of the premises, he or she is deemed to have had constructive notice of the dangerous condition.
For example, let’s say that an owner of a busy store does not regularly walk the aisles of the store to see if there are tripping hazards. Under California law, actual notice is imputed on a person who fails to conduct timely and reasonable inspection
Most of the slip and fall cases fail because the injured person does not take photographs of the condition that caused him or her fall and fails to immediately contact an experienced attorney. As a result, crucial evidence such as video footage of the accident scene and/or the fall is lost along with the ability to establish notice of a dangerous condition.
If you get hurt, you should immediately take pictures of your surroundings and of the substance that caused you to fall. It is also extremely important to fully document the shape, size and texture of the substance that caused you to fall. Often time, if the liquid substance is spread over a large area or indicates multiple foot prints, a reasonable inference can be made that the substance was on the floor for a period of time such that the store owner should have discovered it and removed it.
Additionally, you should immediately call an attorney so that he or she can contact the store owner and request that the evidence be preserved.
If you fell in a store and got hurt as a result of it, please call the slip and fall attorneys at 213-891-0777.