When you visit a store, your goal is usually either the relaxing recreation of slowly shopping or to get in and out with items you need. Regardless of whether you were there for leisure or chores, the potential always exists for an accident or injury.
Even if you have a cart that you can lean on while navigating the aisles of the business, a slippery spot on the floor could easily result in an unexpected injury and disruption to your day. Although it is normal and natural to react to falling in a store with embarrassment, don’t let your feelings get the best of you.
You don’t want to move on and pretend that nothing happened, especially if you feel sore or think you may have gotten hurt. While it may be embarrassing, you want to find an employee and file an accident report as soon as possible after a slip-and-fall incident.
Filing a report helps create and protect evidence about what happened
You might assume that you don’t need to file an incident report because there are security cameras focused on every aisle in the store where you fell. However, some businesses use dummy camera systems to keep people from shoplifting.
Each of those cameras may not always actively record. Some of them may not be real cameras. Even if there was a camera, if you don’t file a report, the company may get rid of the recording in the near future. They may record over previous data or they may not save security camera footage unless they have reason to.
Filing a report also ensures that people who work at the business know about what happened. Unless an employee directly witnessed your fall, the people who work there may not even know what happened unless you alert them to the situation. If no one knows that you slipped while walking in the store, the business will very likely disagree with your assertion that you got hurt on their property.
Keep your own records in case you need to take action
You should never just assume that the store or business owner will do the right thing when someone gets hurt on their property. They may become so worried about the potential expenses that they will try to cover up what happened or deny your claim.
Keeping some of your own records can help if you need to take action against the business in the future. You might want to take a photo or video with your cellphone of the spot where you slipped. That way, there is documentation of a liquid spill or a shiny, overly waxed section of floor. You should also make notes that include the name of the employee to whom you reported the incident, the time, date and location of the incident, and any other pertinent details, such as your immediate injuries.
Most businesses have premises liability insurance policies that protect them and visitors if someone gets hurt. You may be able to file an insurance claim to cover your injuries. Other times, it may become necessary for you to take civil action against the business. Regardless of which approach is better, talking about your injuries and the circumstances of your fall with an experienced New York premises liability attorney will help you make the best of a bad situation.