We’re sometimes urged to stereotype slip and fall personal injury actions as the sham attempts of “overly litigious” individuals aiming to make a fast buck. But when a slip and fall happens to you, you realize that slip and fall cases can be extremely serious – and a little preparation can go a long way in helping you recover for your injuries.
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall, finding the right New York City personal injury attorney, with experience in slip and fall cases, can be key to making your case. And just because slip and fall cases can be tough to prove, don’t assume your slip and fall claim is a lost cause. Many NYC personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, so you have nothing to lose in meeting with a slip and fall lawyer.
What constitutes a legitimate slip and fall claim? Legally speaking, slip and fall cases are simply a niche variety of negligence actions. For that reason, if you trip and fall simply out of your own carelessness, clumsiness, or voluntary intoxication, you probably don’t have a viable personal injury claim in New York.
On the other hand, if you trip on an uneven tile in a gas station, stumble in a dimly-lit parking garage, or go sprawling on a wet floor in supermarket with a leaky water pipe, you may be entitled to recover for your medical injuries. As in any negligence case, you’ll need to show that the hazard (e.g., the uneven flooring, dim lighting, or wet floor) was caused by someone else’s breach of duty of reasonable care. That person will typically be a business employee, a manager, and/or the company itself.
Of course, none of us ever expects to be injured in a slip and fall. Our instinctual reaction after slipping and falling in a place of business is often, well, sheer embarrassment – and so, after taking a tumble in a place of business, we may be tempted to jump right up, brush ourselves off, and assure those around us, “I’m fine!”
Before you dash off too quickly, though, you might want to take a minute to snap some photos of the scene with your cell phone, to document any potential personal injury claim. Simply snap a few shots of the area where you tripped or slipped, including the safety hazard that precipitated your accident, whether it’s a loose tile, a wet floor, or even the sitcom-like banana peel. This tangible evidence, obtained in “real time,” can significantly enhance your ability to prove your case.
Keep in mind, too, that while some injuries resulting from a slip and fall may be immediately apparent, others may take days, weeks, or even months to surface. Certainly, seeking treatment for any obvious injuries in an emergency room or from your regular doctor will be useful in documenting your personal injury claim.
In addition, it can be helpful to keep your own personal medical log in the weeks and months after your slip and fall. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – just a daily notation of how the various parts of your body are feeling following your accident, paying particular attention to things like scrapes and bruises, joint swelling, neck soreness, head pain, and back pain. If you notice additional injuries flaring up in the weeks following your accident, make sure to get them checked out by a medical professional as well.
And stay organized. When your body is hurting, it can be tempting to ignore paperwork. In a word: don’t. Keep a folder with all of your medical records, your personal medical log, and your bills. Tracking your medical expenses, as well as any loss of income due to your fall, will be crucial in helping you establish the amount of damages you suffered as result of your accident.
And last but certainly not least, get some good advice from a reputable NYC personal injury attorney specializing in slip and fall cases. If your slip and fall was the result of someone else’s negligence, there’s no reason you should be stuck with the resulting medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. Again, most NYC accident lawyers offer free initial consultations. And the better prepared you are – with documentation of the accident scene, documentation of your medical injuries and documentation of your associated expenses – the better able a New York City slip and fall lawyer will be to assess whether you have a viable personal injury action and how much you may be entitled to recover.