What To Do If You Slip & Fall In A Parking Lot
Parking your car and walking through a parking lot shouldn’t be a dangerous activity, but unfortunately, accidents can happen anywhere, and neglectful caretakers can turn even mundane activities into something hazardous. Even for the able-bodied, it’s easy to take a tumble if conditions are dangerous or the property manager is neglectful.
The best method is always prevention, so if you’re reading this and you haven’t been injured, use your awareness when you’re walking in parking lot. Some common causes of slips in parking lots are: un-shoveled ice and snow, inadequate outdoor lighting, potholes, and untended cracks in pavement. Be alert for these signs and avoid them.
If you find yourself already injured, then here are the steps you should follow if you’re injured in a parking lot.
Seek Medical Attention
Immediately after your fall, seek medical attention if you’re injured. If you’re seriously hurt, call an ambulance or head to the ER, but even if you’re not in a lot of pain, don’t assume you’re not injured. Adrenaline may make you overlook a fracture or serious bruise.
Going to the doctor is helpful from an insurance standpoint, because it indicates that your injuries were serious from the start, and keep track of any receipts for your care and any transportation you take to get there.
Report the Accident
Once you’ve received medical attention, bring the accident to the attention of whoever owns a property. Depending on the property, you may have to contact a landlord or storeowner, but if the property is a large one, such as an office building, you’ll want to get in contact with the management company.
Insist on the owner filing an accident report, and if you forget to do this, be sure and call back to ensure they make written record. If you end up following a suit, this documentation will be important.
After all that, document everything. Photos will help you in your case, so snap pictures of everything to keep a visual record of the conditions. Note the details of the incident. When did it take place, what were the weather conditions, were there any witnesses, etc. These photos can help determine who is at fault if your case goes to trial.
If the incident was related to an unfilled pothole on private property, for example, you could prove with the photos that the owner was neglecting the property by not filling them. If you don’t make accurate records, then that could be hard to prove. If the owner is truly dishonest, they might try fix the problem after you leave and erase the evidence.
If anyone has witnessed you fall, be sure you get their names and addresses so you can contact them if you need a statement. Do not admit that any element of it was your fault, just politely and calmly take down their information.
Preserve Your Clothing
Even if your clothes are damaged in your fall, keep them around and don’t wash them. They may be good evidence if you pursue litigation because they can speak to the fall you suffered.
Don’t Call Your Insurance Without an Attorney
Before you talk to your insurance agent, call an attorney with experience in personal injury law. Insurance agencies may offer you a deal up front, offering to pay for medical bills if you agree not to file a claim. These offers are usually a bad idea, because they typically cover only initial medical bills. If you realize something more serious has happened as a result, the offer may not hold down the line, let alone if you become permanently disabled as a result.
An attorney can get you compensation for medical bills in addition to cost for pain and suffering and lost wages. Plus, skilled attorneys will know how to deal with your specific case and may have even worked with the landowner before if the holding group is large enough.
If you fall and are injured as a result, just remember to take it one step at a time and document everything that happens to you. Then, if you choose to file a suit, you’ll be armed to win and get the compensation you deserve!