Do I have a valid slip and fall claim?
Being injured after a slip or trip doesn’t necessarily mean you have a valid claim for personal injury compensation.
Slipping accidents can obviously take place anywhere, but to claim compensation you need to prove that responsibility for the accident lies with a third party rather than yourself. Shops, restaurants, libraries and business establishments, for example, all have a responsibility to ensure people’s safety. If they fail to do so and accidents occur as a result, they can be found to have been negligent and liable to compensate the injured party.
Hazard warning signs
It’s common knowledge these days that when making a floor wet on purpose, a business or premises will erect a yellow ‘Hazard Warning Sign‘. This sign gives you the knowledge of a potential hazard and puts you on notice that you need to take extra care. If you have slipped on a wet floor in a shop, restaurant or business and there was no hazard sign erected, you are likely to have a valid claim for compensation. The 3rd party could be seen as liable for your injuries by failing to provide a warning of a foreseeable risk to your safety.
However, in some circumstances, the erection of the yellow hazard sign is insufficient. We often see this in claims after supermarket accidents. For example, the supermarket has a leaking freezer unit in their store. The floor gets wet and they call out an engineer. If they erect the yellow sign, they’ve covered themselves. But if they just erected a sign and didn’t bother calling the engineer and left the unit leaking for weeks and weeks, the sign would become redundant and they would still be liable for not removing a known hazard in a reasonable time frame.
Unless you are severely injured and incapacitated, you should report your accident and injuries immediately and ensure that they are noted in an accident book. If the 3rd party tell you they don’t have an accident book, or won’t let you have access to it, there are things you can do. If this is the case, look for a witness and get their details. If you can’t do that, take photos or send a letter by recorded delivery (keeping a copy for yourself with proof of postage) reporting the incident to the business or establishment.
The 3rd question to consider is: Were you sufficiently injured to seek medical treatment from a hospital or your GP?
But alas, it’s not enough to just be injured, the injury has to be severe enough to provide a sufficient level of quantum to enable the claim to be placed. Quantum is the posh Latin term for value of the claim used in the legal world. To ensure that the injury value is sufficient, it is usually the case that an injured client will need to have suffered from their injury for a period of at least a few weeks. To take ankle injuries as an example, if you sprained your ankle mildly and recovered within a fortnight, you would struggle to bring a claim. But if you sprained it badly, tearing the ligaments and spent 6 weeks on crutches and then had 5 physio sessions, your claim would easily pass the quantum test.
For the sake of a claim, its always best to ensure that your GP is made aware of any ongoing problems with an injury. To put it bluntly, if you suffer in silence and don’t return to your GP, you won’t be able to claim compensation for the ongoing injury. You could miss out on a substantial sum of what you are actually entitled to receive.
If your injuries don’t settle and you notice discomfort a few weeks or months later, or if you’re not sleeping or feeling depressed because of your injuries, make sure it’s on your medical records.
If you haven’t had medical treatment, it is likely that your injuries will not be seen as sufficiently serious to warrant a claim as medical evidence is needed to support your claim. If you have been suffering in silence and haven’t seen the GP, you still can. If the GP is happy to note that your injuries are consistent with those suffered in a slipping on a wet or dangerous floor surface, you can then prove your injuries and pursue a claim.
These are the main criteria you need to check to see if you can claim:
- Was the accident someone else’s fault?
- Do you know the identity of the liable party (business name and address etc)?
- If not, did you report the incident to the police or local authority?
- Have you sought medical treatment from your GP or hospital?
- If not, are your injuries still presenting symptoms that your GP can diagnose?
If you have any questions about whether or not your accident scenario warrants a claim, please call our team on (649)-946-3015, or if you prefer, we can call you back. We know your rights and can help you to understand them. We’ve successfully helped many clients claim compensation for slip and trip injuries and we’d love to help you, too.