Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere—even in a department store. There are a number of hazards that could cause slip and fall accidents inside a department store, including slippery floors, products that have fallen onto the store’s walkways, defective stairs, and torn carpeting. Outside the store, customers may trip over cracks in the sidewalk or potholes, especially if the parking lot is not adequately lit.
This type of accident can happen when you least expect it, which is why it’s important to know exactly what you should do if it happens to you.
Seek Medical Attention
Your health and safety should be your first priority immediately following a slip and fall accident. If you believe you are seriously injured, stay where you are and call for help. Do not attempt to move or stand up until help has arrived—this is especially important if you think that you have injured your back.
Many victims make the mistake of thinking that they do not need to seek medical attention because they only have minor injuries. But, this is not the case. Every slip and fall victim should seek medical attention, regardless of how serious you think your injuries are. Why? Symptoms may not develop until hours after the accident. In some cases, what seemed like a minor injury may get worse as time passes. For these reasons, it’s best to get checked out by a doctor just in case you have sustained an injury that is more serious than you think.
If you are able to, start to gather evidence at the scene of the slip and fall. First, try to identify the hazard that caused you to trip. Was the floor wet? Did you trip over an object that shouldn’t be there or a tear in the carpeting? If you figure out what it was that caused you to slip, take photos of it with your smartphone. You should also look around to see if there are any signs warning you of the hazard. For example, if you slipped because of a spill on the floor, look for a sign that warns you that the floor is wet. Take pictures of the area surrounding the hazard to prove that there were no warning signs in place. You should also look around to see if you spot any surveillance cameras and make a mental note of where they are located in the store.
Talk to Witnesses
If you fall in a department store, chances are that there will be at least one person who witnessed the incident. Talk to this person and ask if you can have her contact information in case you need to ask her questions about what happened later on. The property owner may try to claim that you are lying about what happened, so having a witness that supports your side of the story could be important to your case. Even if the witness did not see you actually fall, her testimony could be helpful because she could provide information about the store’s lighting, the employees’ response to your fall, or the hazard that caused you to fall.
Notify the Department Store
If no one that works at the store saw you fall, it’s important to notify someone right away. Most department stores have company policies that require employees to create official accident reports after someone is injured on the property. Find any employee and let them know what happened—even if the employee you talk to is not trained to write one of these reports, she should be able to call the appropriate parties.
Provide as much information as possible to the person who is writing the accident report. Make sure you ask for the person’s name so you know who you spoke to within the store. Do not admit fault or comment on your injuries at this point. You should also listen closely to what the employee is saying. If she says anything along the lines of “this happens all the time” or “this just happened to someone else the other day,” make a mental note and write it down as soon as you leave the store.
Seek Legal Representation
Anyone who has been injured in a slip and fall accident should get in touch with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The property owner may be liable for your injuries because of his failure to maintain safe conditions on the property. But, the owner is not automatically held liable for every injury that occurs on his property. In order to recover compensation, you must be able to prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazardous condition that caused your accident.
Proving liability can be incredibly difficult in slip and fall cases, which is why you will need an experienced attorney. A personal injury attorney will immediately launch an investigation to determine what happened, how long the hazard was present on the property, and if the property owner was aware that the hazard existed. These investigations can be complex and very difficult to conduct without an attorney’s help. Plus, you will need an experienced attorney who knows how to negotiate with the property owner’s insurance company in order to get you the compensation that you need.
Have you been injured in a slip and fall accident in a department store? If so, contact Trial Lawyers for Justice today to schedule a consultation regarding your case. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will help you seek justice against the negligent parties and recover the compensation that you deserve. The sooner that you contact our team about your case, the better the outcome may be.