Collect & Protect Evidence: What to Do After a Slip & Fall Accident
In a post-pandemic world, more and more people are venturing out to bars and restaurants. Should you be unfortunate to have a slip and fall accident on somebody else’s property, document and preserve evidence to help support your legal claims and receive full and fair compensation. It’s important to take the following steps immediately after a slip and fall incident:
- Photos & Videos of the Accident Scene: Date-stamped photos and videos are one of the best forms of evidence, and they can easily be captured with a smartphone. Photos and videos of the hazard in question will help prove liability and show how the accident occurred, for example, if you slipped on a wet floor or tripped over utensils on the ground.
- Security Camera Footage: Not all premises have video cameras and even the ones that do don’t necessarily have surveillance covering every section. However, make a note of any cameras you see and ask for a copy of the footage since some businesses have CCTV cameras that may have captured the incident.
- Preserve Clothing: Liquid or other substances may cause a stain or mark on your clothing or shoes. Save those items and take pictures. Place what you were wearing during the accident in a safe storage spot. These items may be relevant pieces of evidence later.
- Incident Reports: Restaurants, grocery stores, and theme parks may be required to fill out an incident report, so ask for a copy for your own records. It is imperative to document whatever evidence there is and to report it to an employee/manager so there is a record of it.
- Eyewitness Statements: Get the names and contact information (phone number, email, home address) of any witnesses who saw the fall or the substance on the floor, either before or after the fall. Many times people don’t get witness information thinking the business or premises owner will document all relevant information. However, it is not in the business’ best interest to document evidence and/or witnesses that will be bad for them.
Glotzer & Kobren, P.A. recently had a case that illustrates the points above. Specifically, our client was eating at a casual dining restaurant chain when she slipped and fell on an object on the way to the restroom. She was unable to identify what was on the floor that caused her to fall. Management spoke to her following the incident and got her to confirm that she couldn’t identify what was on the floor. The restaurant initially denied the claim because she had the burden of proving there was something on the floor and that the property owner knew or should have known it was there. However, we are pleased to report that our law firm was able to successfully resolve her claim and get her critical compensation for her injuries.
Florida law requires businesses to keep their premises safe for customers. But restaurants know that if they clean up what was on the ground, the injured person will have a difficult time proving a personal injury case. Many times they will clean it up while the person is still on the ground. This is why collecting evidence in slip and fall cases to demonstrate a defendant’s liability is critical.
Our premises liability attorneys regularly assist victims who are injured because of landowners who fail to reasonably maintain their premises or to warn of known dangers that are not remedied. Sometimes, the only damage in a slip and fall is a bruised ego or embarrassment. Yet slip and falls may cause serious injuries and you may not even know how severe your injuries are until days after the accident. A person might slip and fall but they don’t think they are hurt so they don’t report it or document the substance on the floor, which could jeopardize their legal claim.
Unlike a trip and fall over an uneven flooring surface, a hole in the ground, or other condition that will take a repair to fix, a liquid or other substance on the floor is easy to remove and eliminate evidence of. This is why you must be diligent about documenting what happened because if you fail to provide sufficient evidence, then you may not get the fair recovery you deserve.
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, you should speak with an experienced accident attorney right away. Our law firm represents injury victims throughout South Florida, and we fight aggressively to build strong slip and fall cases for our clients. Contact Glotzer & Kobren, P.A. personal injury attorneys at 561-361-8677. There’s NO FEE unless WE WIN money for you.