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What Should I Do If I Fall and Am Injured on an Icy Sidewalk at a Store?

top down view of man walking on icy sidewalk at storeCommercial property owners are responsible for removing accumulations of snow and ice on their property, but they don’t always do so. This may cause a slip and fall accident resulting in serious personal injuries.

If this happens, there are certain steps that the victim should take to make sure his rights are protected if a claim is brought to be compensated for personal injury.

Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident on Commercial Property

Ask For Help

First, and importantly, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help if a fall occurs.

The first reaction may be to not seek help so that attention is not called to the fact that you fell, thinking that slipping and falling is solely due to your own carelessness. Appreciate that falls are very common and generally not the fault of the injured person.

Seek Emergency Medical Care, If Necessary

If you are injured, it’s important not to move, which could worsen the injury, and to seek emergency medical care. Ask people at the scene to help you. Request that 911 be called if you aren’t able to do it yourself. This will also help bring witnesses to the scene of your fall, who may be of assistance in documenting conditions at the scene as well as the pain you are experiencing. (You can learn more about the importance of witnesses in personal injury cases here.)

Report What Happened & Explain Your Injuries Accurately

When medical personnel arrive, make sure to voice all complaints of pain, and also, accurately report what happened to cause the fall. Explain to health care providers what parts of your body hurt and what you felt when you fell. Be descriptive and do not downplay, nor exaggerate your pain—explain what you are feeling.

This is not only important in assuring an accurate diagnosis of your condition to enable proper treatment, but also because your medical records—particularly the emergency transport and emergency room records—will become important documents if a claim is brought for personal injury. But most importantly, seek prompt medical attention to ensure good treatment.

File An Accident Report

If you are able to do so without compromising medical care at the scene, request to file an accident report with the store manager, supervisor, or landlord. This early documentation of the incident, and your condition, will help preserve your claim and put the insurance company for the store on notice of a potential claim.

This will also enable documentation of the conditions that caused the fall, witnesses to the fall and/or conditions, and your condition immediately following the incident. Additionally, this will also likely prompt investigation of the incident by the store, including documentation of the scene conditions by an employee (who can later speak to what was there long after he may have forgotten), and photographic documentation of the conditions. It should also document your description of the cause of the fall.

It’s important to carefully review what is written, to ensure accuracy—particularly if you are asked to sign the report.

Document the Scene of the Accident

If you are able to or have family or friends with you at the time of the accident, take photographs of the exact location where you slipped and fell. Take several pictures, from different angles and distances, to ensure accurate and thorough documentation of the scene conditions. Take a moment to look at them, as once the scene is changed through maintenance activity, the condition that caused your fall is gone forever. It is also a good idea to take a photograph of the surrounding area, including where there is shoveled snow or treated ice, ice melt or rock salt, and other treatment of the snow and ice.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

It is also important to contact an experienced attorney who handles slip and fall cases before you talk with an insurance company claims representative or claims investigator. The store will seek to take advantage of an opportunity to obtain a statement from you, and the persons who ask for them are experienced in trying to get the victim to concede partial or total fault for the fall.

Sometimes the natural tendency is to be embarrassed, and in doing so, to take responsibility for the accident—when in fact responsibility should lie totally, or at least partially, with the owner of the premises for failing to provide proper maintenance as required by law. Sometimes the investigator will attempt to get the victim to agree to facts that aren’t entirely accurate.

The best advice is to not discuss your fall with them without first consulting with an attorney. Wondering when to take the step of contacting an attorney? Learn about when you should contact a personal injury lawyer after an accident here.

Get the Help You Need After You Slip, Fall and Are Injured on Commercial Property

If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident, in Albany or anywhere in the Capital District, you may be entitled to compensation. The personal injury attorneys at Anderson, Moschetti and Taffany have handled thousands of slip and fall cases throughout the Capital District.

As practicing accident attorneys with decades of experience and record setting verdicts and settlements, we will work hard to obtain full compensation for you or a loved one. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to handle your case successfully.

Call us at (518) 785-4900 today, or fill out the form on our website to request a consultation with a member of our legal team. We will explain your rights, answer your questions, and help you on your way to obtaining the compensation you deserve.

Related Resources: 

For more information about snow-related slip and fall injuries, be sure to review the following resources:

What Are My Rights If a Property Owner Fails to Remove Snow or Ice and I Fall and Am Injured? – Learn about snow removal laws in New York State and find out what happens if you’re injured as the result of the negligence of a property owner when it comes to treating snow and icy conditions.

How Long After a Storm Ends Does a Property Owner Have to Shovel Before Being Held Liable for Someone’s Fall and Injury? – Property owners have a duty to keep their property reasonably safe for others coming onto the property. Learn about how long they have to treat the dangerous conditions that may be caused by winter storms.

What If It’s Snowing Out When I Fall and Am Injured? Am I Still Able to Bring a Lawsuit for My Injuries? – Find information about the Storm in Progress Doctrine that can protect property owners when it comes to treating dangerous conditions caused by snow and ice during winter storms.

Editor’s note: This content was originally published in 2015 but has been updated as of March 2019.

David J. Taffany

About David J. Taffany

Mr. Taffany is an personal injury lawyer and a founding member of Anderson, Moschetti & Taffany, PLLC in Albany. He specializes in all types of personal injury and wrongful death cases, including complex medical malpractice, products liability and labor law. Read More About David J. Taffany »