The steps you take after falling in a grocery store could make or break your case, that is, if you choose to take legal action. Unfortunately, many victims of slip and fall accidents have had their claims denied or undervalued due to certain mistakes they made after the incidents. Therefore, it is important to know what to do and what not to do after such an accident.
What to Do If I Fall in a Grocery Store?
What to Do If I Fall in a Grocery Store?
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What to Do If You Fall in a Grocery Store?
Consider these quick tips if you slip and fall at a grocery store:
Call 911 Immediately
The first and most important thing to do is to seek medical attention. This helps ensure you get the treatment you need after the fall.
It is important to seek medical attention even if you feel okay after the incident. This is because your body will probably be in shock right after the fall, making it difficult to process pain. But this does not necessarily mean that you are not injured. It may take time for the injuries to show, and that is why you need medical attention immediately.
Call 911 if you can and request an ambulance. Do not attempt to move if you are in severe pain. You may end up hurting yourself even further.
Document the Accident
If possible, take pictures of the injuries you sustained and what you believe might have caused the accident. For example, if you slipped and fell after stepping on a wet floor, take pictures or videos of the wet area. In addition, document the environment, showing how the accident occurred.
Also, consider collecting the contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident. Their testimony could come in handy if you decide to take legal action against the store owner or management.
Another great way to document the incident is by writing down everything you remember about the incident because human memory fades. And depending on the nature of your injuries, you may not be able to remember everything in the future.
Report the Accident to the Store’s Management
If possible, you should inform the store’s management about the incident. However, while doing so, you must only provide basic information about the incident, such as where and when it occurred. Do not discuss additional details, such as how you feel. Remember, anything you say while filing a report could be used against you.
Get Checked by a Doctor Even If You Feel Okay
Suppose you do not experience any symptoms or pain at that moment. In that case, you still need to seek medical attention. As a general rule, you should get checked by a doctor no later than 15 days after the incident if you did not experience any pain or discomfort after the fall.
An experienced doctor will conduct several tests to determine whether you suffered any internal injuries. In addition, injuries such as whiplash usually take time to show their symptoms. After the medical checkup, your doctor will explain the nature of your injuries and recommend the most appropriate treatment.
The doctor will also write a medical report to document your injuries. Keep a copy of this report for future reference.
Contact an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney
A seasoned slip and fall lawyer can help you understand your legal options when you inform them about the incident. In addition, such an attorney can help you get the treatment you need after the injury.
When contacting the attorney, be sure to provide as much information as possible about the incident.
We will discuss how such an attorney can help, shortly.
What Not to Do If You Slip and Fall in a Grocery Store?
If you slip and fall in a grocery store, do not do the following:
Do Not Say You Are Feeling Okay
This is not the time to play a superhero. Remember, as mentioned earlier, whatever you say after the slip and fall incident could be used against you later on. So while you might feel too embarrassed to admit that you are in pain, it is better to stay silent than say otherwise.
Here is why:
When you say that you feel okay, even if you genuinely feel fine, you may develop complications days or weeks after the incident. In that case, you will have a rough time proving that these complications are connected to the slip and fall incident. Rather, the other party could simply claim that you got injured elsewhere, thus no reason to believe your claim against them.
When that happens, it will be your responsibility to prove that you actually got injured in the grocery store and not anywhere else as alleged. This is not usually an easy thing to do, especially if evidence proves that you said a different thing earlier.
Do Not Discuss Details of the Incident Without Legal Guidance
When you get injured after slipping and falling in a grocery store, chances are the grocery store owners, their attorneys, or insurance providers will attempt to reach out to you. When that happens, you may believe they care so much about you.
Unfortunately, that is not necessarily true.
When they contact you, they will hope that you will say anything that could jeopardize your claim if you decide to take legal action. For example, admitting that you feel okay could signify that the injury was not that serious. But this does not necessarily mean that you were not injured in the first place.
Do Not Accept Any Settlement Offer
Suppose the other party’s negligence caused your injuries. In that case, they might approach you with a settlement offer, hoping you will accept it, effectively ruining your chances of taking further legal action against them.
For instance, if your injuries are worth $200,000, the other party could propose a settlement offer of around $10,000. In exchange, they will have you sign a release of settlement agreement, meaning you can no longer take further legal action against them after accepting the settlement offer.
In other words, once you accept the settlement, the case is as good as dead.
Do Not Reveal Too Much Information
When the other party contacts you to learn more about the incident, they will likely sound caring and sympathetic. Many injury victims fall for this trick, especially when communicating with insurance claims adjusters.
One thing you need to know is that insurance claims adjusters mostly work for insurance companies. For this reason, they will always protect the best interests of the insurance companies, not you.
So when they are too friendly on the phone, asking questions about your life, do not fall for this trick.
Here is an example:
Suppose the insurance claims adjuster wants to find out where you live and how much you earn. This might sound like an innocent question or part of the insurance protocol. But that is not necessarily true.
Insurance companies do not need to know how much you earn in order to process your claim. They also have no business knowing where you live unless that information has something to do with the facts of the case. Therefore, you should not give this information without speaking with an attorney.
Let’s say the adjuster wants to know how much you earn. The only reason they would want to find out this information is to “size you up” financially. For example, if you tell them you earn $30,000 a year, they will likely propose a settlement amount around that value.
This tactic mostly applies when you suffer significant injuries and the insurance company wants to convince you to sign a settlement before you change your mind.
Therefore, a settlement of $30,000 might seem like a lot of money. But what if we told you that your injuries are worth $3 million? In most cases, the first settlement offer from insurance companies is usually made to ‘test the waters.’ For this reason, these settlements are usually far from accurate.
Bear in mind that insurance is a business like any other. They make their profits by devaluing claims and accepting premiums. Therefore, you can be sure that the initial settlement is not what you truly deserve for the kind of injuries you or your loved one has suffered.
It is always advisable to consult an experienced attorney if you ever find yourself in such a situation. Such an attorney will evaluate your injuries and estimate the kind of compensation you may be able to recover.
Do Not Ignore Your Doctor’s Advice
Earlier, we discussed the importance of seeking medical attention after the incident. But here’s one more thing you need to know — ignoring a doctor’s advice is one of the surest ways to jeopardize your claim.
If your doctor tells you to stay away from work for a month to recover from your injuries, this is not the time to try and impress your employer by returning to work early. Similarly, if your doctor asks you to get some bed rest for a certain period, this is not the time to hang out with your gym buddies.
Understandably, you might make certain decisions out of pure intentions. For example, if you are experiencing serious back pain, you may want to go to the gym for an evening workout, hoping to stretch your back. Unfortunately, this decision could cost you an entire claim.
Most insurance companies hire investigators to spy on injury victims, especially if their injuries require significant compensation. For this reason, if the insurance investigators discover that you have been working out at the gym against your doctor’s advice, they might use this against you, claiming that you faked your injury. You will then have a rough time proving that your decision to go to the gym derived from good intentions and not insurance fraud as they would claim.
Do Not Discuss the Accident on Social Media
Avoid the urge to discuss the accident on social media. This is not the time to go live from your sick bed, collecting well wishes from friends and family. You never know the extent insurance investigators might go to try and find a reason to deny or undervalue your claim
Remember, whatever information you share online could be used against you during litigation. Therefore, it is best to avoid discussing the incident on social media. Consult an attorney first if you need to update your friends and family.
What Damages Can I Recover If I Fall at a Grocery Store?
The exact kind of damages you may be able to recover will depend on the nature of your injuries. Generally, you may be able to recover economic and noneconomic damages.
Examples of economic damages include:
- medical expenses
- ambulance costs
- medication or medical equipment
- transportation to your medical appointments
- caregiving costs, etc.
On the other hand, you may be able to recover noneconomic damages such as:
- loss of enjoyment of life
- pain and suffering
- permanent disfigurement
- mental distress, etc.
If the case goes to court, the judge might award you punitive damages to punish the grocery store owner or management for gross negligence.
What Should I Look for In a Slip and Fall Lawyer?
Because slip and fall cases are complicated, you need an attorney with the following qualities: proven experience, quantifiable results, and powerful resources to fight for you.
These qualities describe Morgan and Morgan, the largest personal injury law firm in the United States.
How Can Morgan and Morgan Slip and Fall Attorneys Help?
When you contact Morgan and Morgan for a free case evaluation, we will determine whether you have a valid claim against the other party. And if you do, we might help you build a strong case against them, represent you during the negotiations for compensation, and possibly file a lawsuit if they are unwilling to settle.
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