Falling in the middle of a retail store is dangerous, both for you and the other shoppers. If you fell in a retail store and got hurt, you may be eligible for compensation from the store. In order to collect anything you're owed, you're going to have to build a solid case. Most courts will need to see that whatever caused you to fall was a hazard and that it should have been recognized and addressed by the employees at the store. Here's a look at some of the things you should do immediately after the accident to build your case.
Look at the Big Picture First
After the accident, take some time to look around. Examine the big picture before you leave the scene. Start by looking at the cause of the fall. For example, if there is something on the floor, look at it to try to determine what it is. Make a note of any distinct features and take pictures on your cell phone if possible.
Think about the minutes leading up to your accident. Was the item or substance obvious? Were you just not paying attention, or was it an unavoidable hazard? If there were any witnesses, make notes of their names and direct contact information.
Know What You Have to Prove
In order for a slip-and-fall attorney to prove your case, he or she will need evidence that proves that the person who was responsible for the store at the time of the accident had physical knowledge or reasonable constructive knowledge of the hazard.
It's tough to prove physical knowledge. You'll have to prove that the person in the store directly knew that the hazard was present and didn't do anything about it. That would require solid evidence that the employee was aware and actually opted to leave it. That may mean having to find a customer who complained about the problem before you found it or surveillance video that shows the employee walking by the hazard or issue.
Constructive knowledge, on the other hand, is usually easier to prove. All you need to do in this case is show that the employee didn't conduct a reasonable inspection on the property. If the inspection would have revealed the hazard, that could show negligence. The courts will likely assume that, had the inspection been done, the accident may not have actually occurred.
Understand How to Protect the Case
Lack of evidence dooms many slip-and-fall cases. That's why it's important that you build the strongest case that you can by preserving every bit of evidence you can find. Take pictures of the entire store to show the conditions it's in, including the area where the accident occurred. Provide all of that information to your attorney to support the case.
When you get home after the accident, put your clothes and shoes into a plastic bag. Seal it and keep them safe until you've talked with a slip-and-fall attorney who can evaluate them. If you wear these things after the accident, you might inadvertently destroy important evidence. By protecting the clothing, your attorney may be able to have them evaluated by an evidence laboratory to help support your case.
As you can see, there are many things to think about after you've suffered a slip-and-fall accident in a retail store. Reach out to an attorney right away to help protect your interests, and use the tips here to ensure that you have gathered the right information to support the case. Your attorney may give you other advice as well, so make sure you explain the situation in detail. Find a slip-and-fall attorney through a website like http://www.putnamlieb.com.