What Should I Do After Injuring Myself on Someone Else’s Property?
If you have been injured due to the fault of another, there are a number of actions you should take to protect yourself and your legal rights. The steps you take immediately after your injury may determine the strength of your claim.
Seek Medical Attention
The first thing you should do after you were injured on someone else’s property is to call 911 and seek the medical attention you need. Your health and safety come before all else, and the injuries you can sustain while on someone else’s property can be serious.
In premises liability cases, your injuries can be severe and long-lasting. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even notes how dangerous falls can be, as serious injuries result from an average of twenty percent of fall accidents. Given these grave consequences, getting the medical care you need after an accident on someone else’s property should always be your first step.
Immediate medical attention will also help you prove in any accident claim or lawsuit that your injuries were the direct result of negligence. Delays in treatment may sometimes weaken your claims and give the at fault party an opportunity to diminish the seriousness of your claim or even argue that your injuries were not the result of their negligence.
Report the Accident
If possible, you should call the police and report the incident while you are still at the scene of your injuries. The police report that is completed can provide valuable information regarding the happening of your injuries and document the cause of your injuries. In some instances, police involvement may include taking photographs, obtaining witness identification and statements or other investigation that may help us prove your claim for negligence.
Accidents on someone else’s property that could require police reports include the following:
- Violent crimes: Violent crimes may occur due to inadequate or defective security on the property. This needs to be reported to the police as a criminal matter while also potentially opening up civil options for pursuing compensation from the property owner through a premises liability lawsuit.
- Animal bites: Out-of-control animals pose a public safety risk and should be reported to the police. Their negligent owners can be held responsible for the injuries caused on their property if you are bitten.
- Fires: Foreseeable or preventable fires may open a property owner up to a premises liability suit, but you should also report it to the police and fire departments due to the inherent public safety risks involved.
- Slip and fall accidents: Wet surfaces can cause people to slip and fall, potentially injuring their heads, causing broken bones, or other serious injuries.
- Ice and snow accidents: When property owners do not manage snow and ice in winter, then they may be responsible for the accidents caused.
- Swimming pool accidents: Slip and fall accidents, drownings, and other serious accidents can happen when there are not adequate safety measures at a swimming pool.
- Elevator and escalator accidents: Broken or defective equipment can cause serious injury or even death.
A premises liability lawsuit could be pursued if you were injured on either private property or public (government) property. According to the New York City Bar Association, you can sue the government in these cases, but you will have to follow special rules and file a lawsuit in a shorter window of time. Your lawyer can help you with this.
Collect Your Own Evidence
In addition to calling the police and obtaining immediate medical attention, there are other actions you can take to build your claim even before you consult with a lawyer including taking photographs of the condition which caused your accident, reporting the incident to the property owner, tenant or manager, recording the names and contact information of any witnesses and following all medical advice.
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