By seeking general information about your legal rights and options after a slip and fall accident in Atlanta, you take an important initial step in your case.
Of course, there are many other steps you can take in the days, weeks and months ahead. We provide a summary of those steps below. To discuss your case further and receive a free consultation contact James M. Poe, P.C. We serve clients in Atlanta and throughout Georgia.
1. Report your injury.
If you have not done so already, report your incident to the individual, business or government entity that owns or manages the property where your slip and fall accident occurred. For instance, if you fell on ice in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart, inform a store manager. If asked, submit an incident report. You do not have to blame anyone when you file your report. You do not need to accept any fault. Just report the facts.
2. Get medical attention without delay.
If you were not taken to the hospital by emergency responders, get medical attention right away. Go to the emergency room or schedule a prompt visit with your family doctor. Your health and safety is important. You may be hurting and not sure what the problem is. You may have brain or internal organ injuries that you can’t readily detect on your own. You need to be examined by a professional who will document your condition, make an appropriate diagnosis and prescribe any necessary treatment.
3. Take photos of yourself and the accident scene.
You will want to visually document your accident and your fall-related injuries. If possible use your cell phone or camera to take photos of the accident scene. You should also ask a friend or family member to take photos of your injuries. These photos can play a key role in explaining what happened to you and showing how your injuries and healing progressed. You should also retain any casts, slings or other devices you need after the incident and the clothes and shoes you were wearing that day. Again, these are visual pieces of evidence that will help a jury understand what happened and how injuries impacted you.
4. Find and retain an experienced slip and fall injury lawyer to help you understand your rights under the facts of your case.
In any slip and fall claim there are many issues which can determine whether you do or don’t have a right to recover. They only effective way to know which rules and factors apply to your case is to find and hire someone with the knowledge and experience to guide you and your claim. You need to do this early so that your actions don’t inadvertently damage your claim and your right to recover.
5. Write down what happened.
While the incident is still fresh in your memory, write down what you can remember about it. Use a journalism approach to organize your thoughts: Focus on:
- Who saw the accident or was involved in it?
- What happened before, during and after the accident?
- When did it happen?
- Where did it happen?
- Why and how do you think it happened?
Details you can recall may help in the investigation of your case. For instance, you may recall that a stairway was dimly lit, a handrail gave way or that you felt yourself falling into a puddle of liquid beneath your feet. You may recall that you saw no warning signs or store employees in the area.
Be aware that there is a danger that if you don’t consider all of the potential issues, as you would if you were doing this after hiring an experienced attorney, an incomplete written summary can irretrievably damage your claim. The best practice is to take this step only with the assistance of your counsel after the facts have been gathered.
6. Keep a folder for important documents.
You will need to keep track of all documents involved in your case which your lawyer will need, such as medical bills, prescriptions, insurance notices, accident reports and letters from insurance companies or lawyers for the party that injured you. You may also have employment records that indicate how much time you have missed from work due to your injuries. Keep all of these documents organized in a special folder. You should bring this folder to every meeting on your case.
7. Do not speak with the property owner’s insurance company.
You may be contacted soon after your slip and fall accident in Atlanta by the property owner’s insurance company or by some other representative of the business where the slip and fall occurred. No matter how friendly they sound know they are working for the other side and their goal is to minimize or eliminate your recovery. You should politely decline to give any statements and refer them to your attorney who will protect your rights and your potential recovery.
8. Focus on your recovery and stay updated about your case.
As your case progresses, you should pay close attention to your physical and mental health. Don’t get stressed; get better. Trust that your attorney is handling your case in an efficient and effective manner. However, never hesitate to contact your lawyer to check on the case’s status or to ask any questions you may have about how your case is progressing.