Slip & Falls and Trip & Falls
Suffering a slip and fall or a trip and fall incident is often a distressing and confusing time. Finding reliable information as to whether or not you have a claim can be difficult. If you were injured in a slip and fall or a trip and fall you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and the losses that you have suffered. If you are unsure of your rights to claim compensation it is best to seek legal advice straight away so that the necessary preliminary steps and investigations undertaken in close proximity to your incident.
What should you do after a slip and fall or a trip and fall incident?
It is important to do the following after a trip and fall or a slip and fall incident:
focus on your injury
In the immediate aftermath of an you should seek first aid, if necessary, as even a minor injury can become a lifelong condition without proper initial treatment. Request for an ambulance to be called or attend an emergency department if necessary.
report your incident
You must tell the person responsible for the premises or property or thing [i.e. such as a telecommunications pit] where your slip and fall or trip and fall incident occurred and request that they complete an "incident report", a copy of which you should request for your records. The question of who is to blame for your slip and fall or trip and fall incident is best avoided at this stage. Even if you blame yourself, or if the person you report the incident to blames you for the accident, this does not mean that you do not have a claim for compensation.
take photos and video of the area of your incident and of what caused your incident
Contemporaneous evidence of the site of the incident location, circumstances and your injuries provides invaluable assistance to the preparation of a public liability compensation claim. You can never have too much evidence, and if ever in doubt take a photo or make a record of it.
make your own record of the circumstances of your incident as well as of all your symptoms
It is important that you keep an up to date list of your symptoms, whether on paper, computer or your smartphone. This is because treatment providers do not often record all of your symptoms and complaints and often concentrate on what is serious at the time. The passage of time can make what seems like a minor injury in the initial post incident period ca long-term, debilitating condition. If there is no record of such injury, it will be difficult to attribute this injury to the incident. In the alternative, you can record video footage of you discussing your symptoms.
go to your general practitioner or hospital
You may have already been to see your general practitioner or received hospital treatment, however, you need to listen to your body and attend on your general practitioner or hospital as many times as you think fit. This is important if, for example, you only sought medical treatment only once, most defendants or insurers will seek to argue that you do not suffer from any ongoing problems or disabilities, and, if they were, your would have sought frequent medical treatment.
How do I recover compensation as a result of a slip and fall or a trip and fall incident?
In order to claim compensation for the injury or injuries that you sustained in a slip and fall or a trip and fall incident, you must establish that the prospective defendant owed and breached a duty of care to you and as a result of that breach your slip and fall or trip and fall incident occurred. The prospective defendant is only going to be liable to pay you compensation if a reasonable person in his or her position could have done something to prevent or minimise your slip and fall or trip and fall incident and consequential injury, but did not, and that this act or omission caused you to trip and fall or slip and fall.
How can slip and fall and trip and fall incidents prevented?
Examples of many ways in which slip and falls and trip and falls can be prevented include:
keeping walking surfaces clean and free from clutter or contaminants such as water or fresh produce
clean up spills immediately
when a spill occurs, immediately place warning signs around and over the spill and block off the relevant area, and then commence the clean-up process
keep stairwells clear, well-lit and free from unsecured objects
install appropriate hand railing
mark the top and bottom stairs and any tripping hazards with reflective tape
ensure that steps have appropriate "nosing’s"
remove any unsecured rugs or carpets
ensure that there is proper illumination [i.e. lighting]
use clear, well placed signage to highlight any problem areas
place non-skid rugs or mats
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