Being injured in a slip and fall accident can be a fast and traumatic experience. Once you have fallen and are on the ground staring up at the ceiling or sky, your flash reaction may be to look around and wonder if anyone has seen you fall. You may be embarrassed and not thinking clearly or distracted by the sharp pain making its way up your back. What do you do next? Do you try to stand up, shake it off and pretend nothing happened? No! We’re going to break this down in a very simple way using these three words: observe, collect and contact! Observe, collect and contact (OCC) are your marching orders the moment you experience a slip and fall accident. Doing this will help you protect your rights and assist Green Law Firm in helping build you the strongest premises liability case possible!
To best explain how OCC will help you after a slip and fall accident, we’ll paint an example:
You are a single parent, the sole provider for your family, and you work in a large office building. One of those big, fancy buildings with a marble floored lobby. You don’t think anything of the building floor, but when they polish it like they seem to do every month, the floor gets slippery. You’ve left a comment in one of those “feedback boxes” outside the management office a few times letting them know think it’s dangerous. They don’t even post a sign when they polish! One morning, like any other, you take a nasty spill thanks to that same polished floor. You’re flat out on your back, and people are calling your name, asking if you’re ok. You want to move, but your back is TOTALLY thrown out… What do you do next? OCC!
Step One: Observe
These are the things you must do immediately after a slip and fall accident occurs. First, you must observe. Why have you fallen? Was something in your way? Was there something on the floor? Most times there is an actual cause of your slip, trip, stumble or fall accident. (link to the page about types of accidents) Are there people around you that have seen you fall or are you alone? Also, observe how you feel. Are you in immediate pain, or do you simply feel banged up and bruised? Be as tuned into your body and personal surroundings as you can!
In the case of our scenario, our injured faller notices immediately that the floor was super slick today. She reaches down and touches the marble to find a waxy and coated residue on her fingers. She notices that there are three people in the lobby with her. Right away, she can feel a lack of mobility in her back.
Step Two: Collect
This is the single most important thing you can do after an accident has occurred. The success of a premises liability case resides in the ability to prove that an act of negligence has occurred. Property owners and their representatives have a duty of care to keep persons safe on their grounds. Based on the type of relationship the injured person has to space (would they be considered an invitee, licensee or trespasser), LINK TO INTERNAL PAGE) the owner/manager has different levels of responsibility for their well-being.
- Names and contact information of any and all witnesses who see your slip and fall; after the accident, it may be hard to locate these people, and they may be unwilling to step forward and offer testimony.
- Photos of the accident scene itself and anything that may have contributed to the accident; you can be guaranteed that the property owner involved will have photos to support their claim. Also, evidence can be wiped away, cleaned and cleared up to remove it from the equation. Photos are essential to your case!
- Surveillance video may be available to you as well. While you might end up doing this after your accident occurs, keep in mind this might be an option to you.
- At home, be sure to preserve the shoes and clothes you wore during your accident just in case they must be used as evidence in the future!
In our case scenario, the injured party would be considered an invitee on the property; this means that the property owner had the highest level duty of care to prevent injury and accident to this person. The duty of care between property owners and invitees requires owners to project individuals from any known dangers or dangers they should have known about. In this example, it would be fair to say that known slippery floor is a potential hazard. Without signs posted as a warning, how would a visitor know to take extra caution? Also, our injured party had already reported several times that the slippery polished floor was a possible danger!
Once able to stand, our injured party takes out her cell phone and grabs the phone numbers and names of the people who have come to her aid. Once she does that, she snaps several pictures of the accident site. She shows there is no posted sign, her belongings strewn on the floor, the sunlight shining on the marble floor, the scuff marks her shoes left behind. She captures as many images as she can of the site, her injury and everything around her.
Step Three: Contact
This is a multifaceted step. First, you have to deal with whomever on the premise needs to be notified of your accident. If an employee or property representative is not on site where you have fallen, you will want to seek one out and tell them about your accident. You may be required, and should suggest, filling out a formal complaint or notice of your accident; anything to document that your accident occurred! Now is a great time to ask the location if they have surveillance video. Make sure this is noted in your formal statement to prevent them from recording over or denying the tape exists.
Remember, while you are on site, be cordial and professional, but speak as little as possible. Do not engage in idle chit chat. Do not agree to responsibility. Maintain focus after your accident! The behavior you exhibit after your fall occurs may count as evidence to be used in your claim. Refrain from pointing fingers, laying blame or acting erratically.
If you need immediate medical attention on site, get it! An ambulance or assistance may be needed. Get the care you need and deserve! Broken bones, head trauma and back injury can all be serious after a slip and fall. If you are waiting on-site for medical care, remember to document your injuries with pictures for evidence.
Next, you will want to secure the help of a slip and fall attorney. Bill Green and Green Law Firm will jump into action and review your case immediately. An experienced attorney understands the subtle nuances of slip and fall cases and how challenging it can be to prove that a party acted with negligence that led to your accident. The sooner an attorney is on your case, the better.
Insurance companies will be working against an injured party from the moment an accident is reported. Remember, it is crucial not to give any statements to the insurance company representing your accident site!
After her fall and collecting evidence, our injured party can stand. She knocks on the door of the building manager, but there is no answer, so she calls the number posted outside the door and leaves a voicemail for the manager informing him or her that an accident occurred. Then she reports the accident to her job. She informs her manager of her injury. She goes to human resources and through the chain of command and files the necessary paperwork before leaving early. In the car, she calls a friend who, herself, has hired a lawyer for some reason. Since she doesn’t know anything about lawyers herself, she takes her friend’s recommendation and calls Green Law Firm! Within minutes, she is heading to the law offices of Bill Green and sitting deskside with an attentive attorney as she shares the story of her accident.
Green Law Firm Can Help With Your Slip and Fall Case
If you or your loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, Green Law Firm will work to get the compensation you deserve! We have handled complicated premises liability cases for years.From investigating the accident and gathering the necessary evidence to proving the liable party was negligent in their actions, we will see your case through from start to finish with care and attention. We are on your side. We work for you. Call us today at 888-800-2455 for a risk-free assessment of your case! Remember, we are only paid based on your claim, so there’s no fee for us to begin working right away.