When you walk into a supermarket or big box retail store, you expect to have a fairly uneventful experience. Unfortunately, a casual shopping experience can turn dangerous when slick or unsafe conditions cause you to slip and fall.
Common Causes of Slips and Falls in Stores
Slips and falls can be caused by any number of factors. However, when it happens inside of a store or restaurant, it’s typically associated with one of the following:
Liquid or food spills. Sometimes items get knocked off shelves, customers spill drinks, or a small mess goes undetected and turns into a major slip hazard. Spills like this are particularly dangerous when floors are concrete or tile (which already offer very minimal traction).
Uneven flooring. In older buildings, uneven flooring is common. Whether it’s a loose board that’s higher than the rest, or an uneven transition between rooms, even the smallest variations can cause someone to trip.
Entrances. Entrances are particularly dangerous (in terms of slips and falls). Water, ice, snow, and leaves can all get tracked in by customers. And if people aren’t paying attention, they can easily slip on their way in or out of the store.
In most cases, these factors only become dangerous when there’s a lack of warning from the store. In other words, a slick spot on a floor isn’t typically problematic if there’s a yellow hazard cone and sign warning customers of the issue. It’s when the slick spot isn’t properly identified that issues occur.
What to Do After a Slip and Fall
If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve slipped and fallen inside of a story, it’s imperative that you treat it seriously. Here are a few things you should do:
1.Get Immediate Medical Care
The first step is to get immediate medical care. In serious situations where you’ve broken a bone, experienced a concussion, or have an open laceration, you won’t need much encouragement to seek out care. However, it’s the less obvious situations where you need to be reminded to get attention right away.
Immediately following a slip and fall, you’ll have plenty of adrenaline flowing. You’ll feel shock, fear, confusion, and even embarrassment. The combination of these emotions can actually mask injury symptoms that would otherwise be quite obvious. By seeking out medical care, even when you don’t necessarily know if anything is wrong, ensures you don’t have a serious problem go undiagnosed. It also protects the integrity of any future claims you could file.
2.Personally Document Details
Document as many details about the situation as you possibly can. And while getting medical attention is the primary focus, this aspect comes in a close second on the list of priorities.
Because memory is fickle and it’s easy to lose track of the details afterward, it’s recommended that you write down or record as much information as possible. If there are any witnesses nearby, collect their contact information.
3.Contact an Attorney
Once you’ve received medical care and are in a stable condition, contact an attorney. More specifically, look for a slip-and-fall accident attorney who has experience representing clients who find themselves in situations that are similar to your own.
Personal injury attorneys are a dime a dozen. But an experienced attorney can streamline the process and ensure you get the compensation you deserve (rather than being taken advantage of by large businesses that have their own legal departments ready to attack).
4.Request Store Security Footage
Most stores have security footage. Your attorney should be on top of this, but don’t forget to ask the store for security footage from the incident. You’ll want to do this as quickly as possible so that there are no complications.
5.File a Report
Just because you slipped and fell doesn’t automatically mean you can file a claim against the store. There are a number of factors that must be present before this can happen. More specifically, there must be negligence involved. Your attorney can help uncover the details and prove negligence when filing a report.
Putting it All Together
Not every slip and fall will be serious. However, you can’t assume anything until you take the time to intentionally assess the situation, listen to your body, and gather the facts. Use this article as a starting point, but always remember to consult with an attorney when questions or concerns arise.
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