Document the Scene: Proving a Slip and Fall Case

caution wet floor sign at a corridorA slip and fall usually happens in an instant, taking its victim completely by surprise. If someone is at fault for the accident, it pays to take a few moments to gather evidence that documents the scene. Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman’s slip and fall lawyers in Rockland County and Bergen County see this situation play out again and again; those who gather some information at the time of the incident have a much smoother road to proving their slip and fall case

What is needed to prove slip and fall liability?

An injury victim may be entitled to recover if they can establish that the property’s owner or occupier was careless regarding a dangerous or potentially dangerous condition of the property. An example might be that a grocery store’s employees knew about a spill but did not clean it up immediately or warn customers to be careful.

Documenting the scene will help you show the extent of the hazard, how informed the property owner or manager was or should have been, and whether a reasonable person would have discovered the hazard without getting hurt first.

Ways to document a slip and fall

The first thing to do in the case of a slip and fall is to notify the property owner. Next, take steps to document the situation.

  • Take photos or videos. A visual representation is often much more effective evidence than a verbal description. Photograph the site of the fall itself – including the cause of the fall such as a spill or uneven flooring – as well as the surrounding area, lighting conditions, and path of foot traffic.
  • Meet the witnesses. If there are others who saw the fall, try to obtain their names and phone numbers. If necessary, you can call on them to corroborate your account of the event.
  • Obtain a copy of any official report. If the property owner requests you to fill out a written incident report, ask for a copy for your records. If the police or other first responders arrive at the scene, obtain a copy of their reports as well.
  • Seek medical attention. Many injuries are not apparent immediately but defense counsel or insurance adjusters often try to discredit victims who do not seek medical help immediately. It is better to be safe and have your injuries checked out right away.

Keep in mind that your time to file a lawsuit or insurance claim in New York or New Jersey is limited by the statutes of limitations. Speaking with a lawyer early is advisable in order to protect your rights.

Consult a personal injury lawyer

The Rockland and Bergen County personal injury lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C. in Rockland County, New York and Bergen County, New Jersey are adept at navigating the often complicated and confusing path of proving a slip and fall claim. If you have been injured in a fall because of someone else’s carelessness, call today for a no-obligation case review.

Additional Slip and Fall Injury Resources:

  1. NY Courts, Statute of Limitations, https://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/GoingToCourt/SOLchart.shtml
  2. Justia, 2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes Title 2A – Administration of Civil and Criminal Justice Section 2A:14-2 – Actions for injury caused by wrongful act, appointment of guardian ad litem, http://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2013/title-2a/section-2a-14-2