In May 2018, a man attempted to file a fraudulent insurance claim by faking a slip and fall accident at a big box retailer in Florida. Fraudulent cases like this are sadly prevalent and many retailers try to dissuade people from filing false claims and personal injury lawsuits, which is why evidence from individual cases is gone through with a fine-toothed comb. What evidence? Documentation of the incident and everything that happens afterwards. Here's what you need to know if you or someone you know ever has a slip and fall accident in a big box store.
Important note: Call 911 immediately if your injuries are too severe to follow these steps.
Report the Slip and Fall to a Manager
It's important to notify a manager of your slip and fall injury. They will provide you with a report to fill out at that time. This is called a contemporaneous report within the insurance and legal industries, which simply means the report was written within the same period of time as the accident. The sooner the better for purposes of documentation and the procedures that start immediately afterwards. Slip and fall personal injury cases are a bit difficult to prove without documentation. Filing a report with the manager is the first step in documenting an accident. The retailer then will go through their surveillance videos and possibly take photos of the area, which you and your attorney will be able to view.
Take Photos and/or Videos
Just about everyone carries a camera enabled mobile device with them these days. Take photos or videos of the area where you slipped and fell. If you don't have a mobile device on you at the time, ask someone in the area to take photos and videos for you and send them to your email address. This is important not only to show the hazards but also to compare against the photos and videos the retailer will have.
Seek Medical Care and Start a File
When you leave the retailer, go immediately to the emergency department of the nearest hospital, an urgent care center nearby, or call your primary care physician if their office is open. Doing this will provide you with documentation of the injuries you sustained in the slip and fall accident. Don't wait to be seen because the insurance company or defendant may claim that your injuries occurred after you left the retailer. Seeing a doctor as soon as possible after the accident reduces the risk of them making that claim. Place all documentation from your medical appointments and billing in a file.
For more help, contact a personal injury lawyer.