Gary P. Heslin
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Experienced Pennsylvania Personal Injury and Car Accident Attorney serving Northeast Philadelphia

Accidents like these happen quicker than you can imagine with no warning signs at all. Not to mention, the victim may become immensely confused and upset by what just happened. After an abrupt and immediate fall, our minds go somewhere else much more chaotic and our emotions can block actual thoughts from processing. 

Don’t allow yourself to be overcome by these feelings. Stay still, stay calm, and think about what you have to do next. 

The first ten minutes following a fall are crucial and can make or break your injury claim. If you are able to focus on these specific acts, you can protect your health and your right to fair compensation. 

So below is a list of what you should do in the first ten minutes, and what you should avoid doing. 

What to DO AFter Slip and Fall

Stay calm and catch your breath. Think about what you need to do and what your plan of action is. If the emergency medical team suggests that you need to go to the hospital, then go. They are professionals and only have your best interest in mind. If your injuries aren’t serious enough for that to happen, then work through the next 10 steps:

  1. Ask for Help – If you are seriously hurt and need EMS, avoid moving and if you can, make the call with your cell phone. However, if you can’t safely call or are unable too, ask someone else if they would be able to do it for you. Be sure that you ask someone individually instead of yelling out to a crowd of people. 

  2. Get Medical Attention Immediately – If you aren’t treated at the scene, be sure that you get same-day medical attention. Be sure that you provide your medical provider with the when, where, and how you were injured. This will become available in your medical records and provides a time-stamped date that it happened to corroborate your story. 

  3. Be Sure that you Report the Accident – If you can or it is possible, be sure to report the fall to the property owner or manager before leaving the location. 

  4. Vividly Describe the Accident – Be sure that you give the most accurate recount of the event to the property owner or manager. Whatever you do, do not exaggerate, make assumptions, or fill in any details you’re uncertain about. Any sort of lie or exaggeration can damage your claim. 

  5. Don’t Sign ANY Waivers – You might be asked to sign an agreement or a waiver. Whatever you do, do not do it. You might be signing away your right to make a personal injury claim, which means that everything will end up falling on you. 

  6. Take Pictures and Videos – Look around at the scene of the accident. Take pictures and videos of the location where you fell and the surround area. This will help to be able to determine the cause of the accident and tends to be very powerful evidence when it comes to the property owner’s liability. 

  7. Gather Direct Witnesses – Be sure that you gather all of the contact information for anyone who saw you slip and fall. You want to get their full name, phone number, mailing address, and email address. Now always remember, witnesses aren’t required to do this. So, ask politely, but if they refuse, you can’t force them too. 

  8. Record and Document – Write down everything that you remember about the incident while you still have it fresh in your mind. Write down what you were doing, where you were going, what happened during the incident, and what happened afterwards. One thing you can do is make notes with your phone and then write it all down later if that would be easier. But you need something fresh down that can jog your memory. But the more immediate it is done, the more accurate what you write down will be. 

  9. Preserve All Forms of Evidence – Whatever you do, and this tends to be a common theme after a lot of different types of incidents, do not wash your clothes. If you have the same clothes that you wore the day of the incident and they are damaged or bloodied, along with other damaged personal items like eyeglasses, cell phone, a laptop, and so on, they can help provide substantial backing to your injury and your pain and suffering. 

  10. Gather Circumstantial Evidence – This wouldn’t be direct evidence. This would be witnesses who didn’t see you fall however they have something to say about the conditions of where you fell. Other forms of this will be building code violations, a incident history report, prior complaints, or anything else that shows that this was a known problem before you had your accident. 

What NOT to Do After Slip And Fall 

Now, of course with a list of what to do, there is the opposite. There are a few things within the first ten minutes of an accident that you want to avoid completely. These actions can ultimately reduce your claim drastically or have it thrown out all-together. 

  1. Never make excuses! – This is crucial! Making excuses like “I should have watched where I was going” or “These shoes are the worst” can be used against you. The embarrassment of falling in public will send your emotions spiraling, however, they can hide the extent of your injuries. Stay as calm as possible so you can properly evaluate the situation. 

  2. Keep your temper! – Staying calm is the most important thing you can do. This will allow you to keep a clear head when looking after your best interests. If you lose your temper and start insulting people, the property owner or the management will be more likely to become defensive and argumentative. 

  3. Do not sign away your rights! – While you should always be cooperating with the proper procedures when it comes to reporting your accident, do not sign anything. By signing documents, you run a high risk of signing your rights away. 

  4. Do not talk to any witness about what happened! – Of course, you want to gather witness information and you want to establish that what they saw is going to be useful. However, if you get into an in-depth conversation about their testimony, it will end up weakening the value of their testimony. 

  5. Never threaten a lawsuit! – Any sort of belligerent behavior, especially the threat of a lawsuit, within the following minutes of the accident will be detrimental to your credibility with the insurance company. Credible victims are always confident and level-headed. They also get higher compensation because the adjuster knows they will make a fantastic impression in the courtroom. 

Take Action Immediately With A Slip and Fall Attorney

If you or someone you know or love was injured in a slip and fall incident, do not try to handle the case on your own. It becomes very complicated, and the value of your case drops if you do not have representation. When it comes to your claim, getting an attorney is very important. 

Personal injury attorneys specialize in slip and falls. So, if you need an attorney, give me a call at 215-332-0300 or schedule a free consultation below! Because for over 30 years, I have worked hard to protect the citizens of Philadelphia by helping them get the compensation they deserve for their personal injury claims!

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