One minute, you were walking down a sidewalk or through a parking lot. The next minute, your feet were flying up in the air, and you were landing hard on the pavement. You never planned on getting into a slip and fall accident or suffering the serious injuries that may now be wreaking havoc on your life. As a result, you may have no plan for what you should do next – or an idea of where you should even start.
For more than 30 years, the lawyers of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., have assisted slip and fall victims and their families in Chicago and throughout Illinois. We understand the stress and confusion that many people face after a slip and fall. If you were hurt in one of these incidents, we can lift your burdens and help you to pursue full compensation for your losses.
Please review our suggested steps to take after a slip and fall and contact us as soon as you are ready to take legal action. We will provide a free consultation through our offices in Chicago and Waukegan. We can review your case and discuss the many legal options that may be available to you.
1. Report the slip and fall to the property owner or occupier.
If you have not already done so, you should file an accident report with the person or company that owns, leases or otherwise occupies the property where your fall happened. For instance, if your fall occurred at a store, you should report it to a store manager or a security guard. You could use a standard form or write and sign a note that describes the incident. This report will establish the date, time and place of your fall.
2. Get medical attention as soon as possible for your slip and fall injuries.
A slip and fall can cause serious injuries. Some of those injuries are apparent at the outset like a broken hip, arm, wrist, leg or ankle. However, you may find it hard to detect other injuries such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage or soft tissue injury. To protect your health, you should see a doctor as soon as possible after a fall. The doctor can thoroughly check you for injuries and start your course of treatment.
3. Keep your clothes, photos and other evidence related to the fall.
You may already have some of the most important evidence in your case in your possession. You should make sure to keep the clothes you wore on the day of the fall (in the same condition as that day, if possible). You should also keep copies of all photos you took of the accident scene and of your injuries. Also, hold on to the contact information of any eyewitnesses.
4. Keep track of your medical bills and other slip and fall-related expenses.
As you go through treatment for your slip and fall injuries, you should keep copies of your doctor, hospital and pharmacist bills and all other records that show the types and costs of medical care you have received. You should also keep copies of any letters or e-mails that you receive from insurance companies, including the provider of your health insurance coverage.
5. Write a summary of what happened to you in the slip and fall.
While your memory of the incident is still fresh, you should write down everything that you can recall about it. What was the weather like? Did you notice the hazard before you slipped and fell? Did you see any warnings posted by the property owner or occupier? Additionally, you should keep a journal that tracks your recovery. You can try to describe the physical, emotional and financial impact of the fall on your life.
6. Contact an experienced slip and fall lawyer about your case.
As soon as you can after a slip and fall, you should contact an experienced Chicago premises liability attorney about your case. When you work with an attorney, the attorney will protect your rights, deal with insurance companies on your behalf and handle all paperwork that your claim involves. Above all, the attorney will thoroughly investigate your case, identify who should be held liable for your injuries and losses and pursue all compensation that you are due.
7. Do not give the insurance company a recorded statement or access to your medical records.
Shortly after your slip and fall, you may get a call from the company that provides homeowner’s, renter’s or commercial liability insurance to the property owner or occupier. If requested, you should decline to give a recorded statement. The insurer may try to use your words against you. Also, you should not give the insurer access to your medical records. The insurer may try to use your medical history to argue that your fall did not cause or aggravate your injuries. Simply refer the insurer to your lawyer.
8. Do not accept a settlement offer until an attorney reviews the offer with you first.
An insurer may offer you a settlement amount in the days or weeks after your slip and fall. You should be skeptical about this offer. After all, insurance companies want to pay as little as possible for a claim. So, the insurer’s offer may reflect its own interests rather than the true extent of damages you are entitled to recover. An attorney can review the offer with you and advise you on whether it fully and fairly compensates you. If it does not, the attorney can pursue the amount you deserve through settlement negotiations or by taking your case to trial.
9. Avoid talking about your slip and fall with others or on social media.
Insurance companies like to use people’s words against them. They want to deny or minimize the amount of a person’s financial recovery. For this reason, you should avoid talking about your slip and fall or your claim on Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites. Because an insurer could take a post or photo out of context, you may choose to stay off social media altogether while your lawyer is working to resolve your case.
10. Feel free to contact your lawyer if you have questions about your case.
As your slip and fall claim moves forward, your lawyer should keep you updated about the progress of your case and advise you during important stages such as settlement negotiations. However, you should also keep your lawyer informed about your medical treatment and ability to work. You should also feel free to call, e-mail or visit your lawyer if you have questions about your case. The lawyer should promptly respond to your inquiries.
Get Help from Our Experienced Chicago Slip and Fall Attorneys
You should not be burdened with stress and confusion after you suffer injuries in a slip and fall. An experienced slip and fall lawyer from Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., can protect your rights, carefully handle your claim and pursue full compensation for the harm you have suffered. Please follow our above suggestions and contact us today to discuss the facts of your case in a free consultation through our Chicago and Waukegan offices.