Business owners, managers, and landlords have a legal responsibility to practice reasonable care and protect guests, customers, and employees from this type of injury. If they know there is a leaky roof or dripping pipe that is causing water to puddle on the floor, or they know the handrail on the stairs is defective, or they simply do not ensure that deliveries are put in their proper place, they are not practicing reasonable care. That is negligence, and that is illegal.
So, They Will Just Pay You, Right?
Not usually. These property owners have insurance companies. The insurance companies make their money by collecting as much as they can from their clients and paying as little as possible when someone (like you) has a claim. It may be a legitimate claim, but you will still have to prove it.
In many states, like Florida, the courts look at the situation and determine the accident was a percentage your fault and a percentage their fault. For example, say you will a $1,000,000.00 suit against a big business store. The court determines that they were 80% at fault and you were 20% at fault. You would collect $800,000.00 of the settlement or 80%.
So What Do You Need To Do?
First, immediately report the injury to the manager or business owner and request they call 911 to get medical assistance. If they do not, you can call yourself. Take pictures of the accident. If you are unable to do so, have someone else take them for you. Be sure to get a picture of what caused the fall from more than one angle. Collect contact information from all witnesses, including any employees that saw the accident. Seek medical attention.
Now is a good time to contact a slip and fall attorney. Even an injury that seems minor can turn into a life-long problem. The chances of you winning a suit without an attorney are slim.
Keep all of your medical records, doctor’s reports, and police or insurance reports. Request a copy of the incident report the business turns in to their insurance carrier.
Keep a diary of all the things that are affected by the injury. The pain you suffer and things you normally would do that you are unable to. Note any time you have to request assistance from a friend, family member, or medical assistant for personal care. Note any time when you are unable to drive yourself or walk to an appointment and keep receipts for any fares you had to pay.
In order to prove your case, you will have to prove that the situation was known or should have been known to the owner and that he had time to resolve it. This is not always easy. Be aware of statements people (especially employees) make. A statement like, “I am so sorry, I told Bob that freezer was leaking!” or “The last time this happened, it took months to end.” Note who said it and the date and time. Your slip and fall attorney will be able to find more information.