When Should You See a Doctor After Slip and Fall?
It is an unfortunate incident that occurs much too often: A visitor at a business slips on an unmarked hazard, falls, and finds themselves injured.
If you fell due to someone else’s negligence, you can ensure your health and recovery from your injuries—but you must act quickly by seeing a doctor right away and following up by consulting a Chicago slip and fall lawyer.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Falls are serious—they cause more than eight million emergency room visits a year, making them the leading cause of emergency room visits.
Thus, securing medical attention is one of the first things you should do after a slip and fall accident. Even if you don’t believe you were injured or feel that your injuries were minor, get a thorough medical evaluation. The stress of the fall may cause a surge of adrenaline, masking pain from injuries. You may have injuries without immediate symptoms that will only worsen with time. An experienced doctor can help you determine whether you sustained a slip and fall injury.
Besides properly taking care of your health, seeking prompt medical attention may improve your ability to recover your damages. The defendant or their insurance company may argue that your failure to get a medical evaluation may have exacerbated your injuries, or that a subsequent event caused them. No matter how you feel, get checked out.
Understand Which Party Is at Fault
Even if you received a timely and thorough medical evaluation, you can’t recover for your damages without establishing the fault of another party. Property owners have a duty of care to visitors on their properties. This duty of care requires the owners to properly maintain the property free of hazards.
The owner must warn the visitor of any known defects or hazards such as a broken rail, slippery floor, or broken walkway. If the property owner failed to live up to this duty and a danger caused your fall, you should seek a premises liability lawyer for help in obtaining compensation from the property owner.
Determining whether a property owner is at fault for a fall is more complicated than it appears, it could include looking into building codes and assessing the maintenance of the building. An experienced attorney can help you evaluate the facts of your cause and the best path for pursuing a recovery.
While seeking medical attention and analyzing the responsibility of the property owner establish a strong case for recovery, your premises liability lawyer may take these actions to support your case:
- Document the accident. The scene of the accident will form a critical point of evaluation for liability. If possible, take pictures of the hazard that caused your fall to demonstrate that the owner failed to mark or maintain it. If witnesses saw you fall, get their contact information. An attorney can help you secure additional evidence of an accident, like security footage.
- Mind your words. Take care before you speak or write about the accident. Insurance companies will take an interest in your account of the accident. They may twist your words and imply that you were at fault for the accident, limiting your ability to recover damages. You will be much better off not speaking directly to the insurance adjuster. In fact, don’t discuss or post anything about your accident. Let your lawyer speak for you.
- Keep documents in order. Your case will depend, in large part, on documentation from the accident. Medical bills and documentation of time off work will influence the damages you can recover. Communication from insurance companies provides insight into the other party’s position. Don’t discard any piece of paper; you don’t know when it will prove important.
- Read before you sign. Don’t sign any document before reading it thoroughly and discussing it with your attorney. Certain documents may waive your ability to make certain claims or to file a lawsuit.
The above steps seem daunting in the face of managing injuries and returning to normal life. An experienced slip and fall attorney can work with you to develop a comprehensive strategy for recovery and manage each of the steps above.
Calculate Your Damages
Injuries can cause massive disruptions to your life, and your lawyer can help make the party who caused your fall take responsibility for your damages.
The following damages are common after a fall:
- Medical expenses: Recovery for medical expenses includes doctor’s bills and the cost of hospital stays but can also include the costs of future care, like physical therapy.
- Loss of income: If your injuries forced you to miss work or limited your future work options, you deserve compensation for your lost wages and future earning potential.
- Property damage: If the fall damages your property, such as a smashed electronic device, include repair or replacement in your damage request.
- Emotional distress: If the fall or the disruption it has caused to your life has caused emotional distress, like anxiety or depression. If you seek treatment, you may be entitled to recovery for this.
- Loss of enjoyment: Many injuries make long-term impacts, limiting your ability to participate in activities you enjoy. Compensation for these injuries can play a role in any damages demand.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages punish a defendant rather than compensate the plaintiff. In Illinois, a plaintiff can only recover punitive damages when the defendant acts with evil intent or reckless and outrageous indifference to the risk of harm.
Speak With an Attorney
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you don’t need to pursue recovery alone. An experienced Chicago premises liability attorney can handle the details of your case, while you focus on what’s really important: getting better, and getting back to normal. While you do that, look for a law firm with deep experience with assisting victims of slip and fall accidents.
Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602