You’re shopping and slip on some water you didn’t realize was there. You work for a store and trip and fall on a carpet seam that’s come apart. If you’re injured in a department store due to the store management’s negligence, it’s important that you understand what you need to do.
Per the National Floor Safety Institute, 22% of all slip, trip, and fall accidents lead to the person taking a full month off work. Wet or slippery floors account for 85% of all worker’s compensation claims. In a department store, slippery floors, uneven or loose flooring, objects in aisles, and missing or loose stair rails are all reasons falls happen to shoppers and store employees. Injuries sustained in a fall range from bruises, cuts, and scrapes to bone fractures and traumatic brain injuries. A fall is not something to take lightly.
Falls in a store setting don’t have to happen inside the store in a bathroom, aisle, or checkout. Falls that happen in the parking lot, sidewalk, and entryway are also under the store’s responsibility to keep free of obstacles and hazardous conditions.
Immediate Steps to Take After Your Fall
There are three things you should do immediately after the fall. If you have a companion with you while shopping, get them to do these things. If you’re working, immediately get the attention of a co-worker to help you.
1. Receive medical attention. The fall and how you land will dictate many of the injuries you have. Stay in place until you’ve had your injuries assessed. Don’t try to get up and walk it off. If you’ve injured your neck or spin, moving could worsen the injuries. Allow paramedics to assess you, so make sure someone calls them. If they say you’re okay, you can still opt to see a doctor to be sure you don’t have a concussion from hitting your head or an internal injury.
2. Ask for the store’s manager to be alerted. Make sure the manager fills out an accident report and gives you a copy. If you can’t have copies of the photos the store submits with the accident report, get someone to take additional photos on your phone or have them email them to you. If you’re okay to go home, take photos before you leave.
3. Get names and contact information for any witnesses. If anyone saw you fall, ask if they’re willing to be a witness. Get their contact information before you leave the store or go to the hospital.
A store is bound by a duty to care. This means they are legally obligated to keep their customers safe. Additionally, they have to make sure working conditions are safe for their workers. If they’ve neglected to fix a broken door, take care of a loose tile, ignored the lack of lighting in the parking lot, or allowed a metal shelf to jut out and catch people as they walk by, the store is negligent. Those are just a small list of ways stores are negligent.
Things To Do When You Are Back Home
When you’re back at home, make sure you store any paperwork your doctor gave you in a safe place. Follow the instructions. You may feel fine after hitting your head. If the doctor has told you to rest and not go back to work or your usual activities for a week, follow his/her medical advice.
It’s a good time to take the store’s accident report and pair that with photos and witness reports that you, or someone acting on your behalf, collected. Save these items in a safe place as they will be important to your case if you decide to file a personal injury claim against the store.
Call an attorney. The store’s human resources department will be in touch. They’ll pay your medical bills. They should offer to cover lost wages and pain and suffering, too. You need to make sure that the things they offer to pay for covers everything they should pay. They may try to blame you for the slip and fall or store accident. Those are the reasons you want to talk to a legal expert. An attorney who specializes in personal injury cases can help you go over the things you can and should do.
Personal injury attorneys at Jordan, Herington & Rowley have helped their clients win millions of dollars for personal injuries like slip and falls, brain injuries, and soft tissue injuries. If you were injured in a department store due to the store’s negligence, give Jordan Law a call. Consultations are free, and you may discover that you’re entitled to more than the store offered to pay.