Pennsylvania gets some pretty slick weather in the wintertime. There are often spills on the floors of stores. These conditions can cause us to slip and fall, injuring ourselves. Tripping hazards can be found almost anywhere and the resulting falls can also cause injuries. These are known as “defects” in the property.
If these events occur on someone else’s property or a store or other business, you may have a claim for your injuries, known as a “premises liability” claim.
Here are five things you should do to help that potential claim.
Notify the Property Owner/Occupier
If you slip or trip and fall, try to find the owner or occupier of the property or the person in charge of the business and notify them that you fell immediately. If a business, ask if you may fill out an accident report for them documenting the fall. It is more difficult for them to deny it happened if you report it immediately.
Take Photographs of the Defect
Almost everyone has a cell phone today, so why not use it to your benefit? Take photographs of the slippery condition or tripping hazard as soon as possible after the fall. You will want to do this before the slippery condition is cleared or the tripping hazard is removed by the owner/occupier to document what that condition looked like when you fell.
Ask if There is Video of the Area
We are on camera a lot in today’s age. It would not be surprising if the owner/occupier caught your slip/trip on camera, especially if it occurred in or outside of a business. The owner/occupier must be asked to preserve this video before it is destroyed or taped over in the normal course. This could be great evidence in any claim you may make.
Document and Retain
You may speak with the owner/occupier of the property and/or his insurance company. Make sure that you write down who you spoke with, when and what you talked about for future reference. Write down how you are feeling periodically to document your pain and inconvenience. Keep all paperwork you may receive, like letters or emails from the owner/occupier or their insurance company.
Contact an Experienced Premises Liability Attorney
We never bill people for calling and asking us questions, so why not call to make sure everything is in proper order? If you have a claim, the attorney can do things to help preserve your claim, like writing to the owner/occupier and putting them on notice that any video of the incident and for reasonable time periods before and after should be retained and not destroyed.