When you’re hurt in a slip and fall accident in Sarasota, Florida, the way you handle the adversity has a significant impact on what you ultimately recover for your losses. What you do immediately after a slip and fall matters. What you do in the coming days and weeks impacts whether you can recover and how much you’ll receive for your damages.
While it’s likely you understand the importance of this information; you may be wondering what you need to do to ensure your right to recover is protected. Understanding what to do in the time after a slip and fall can help you and your attorney build a strong case for compensation. Here’s what you need to do after a slip and fall accident in Sarasota, Florida.
Seek Medical Attention
Immediately after your accident, your safety comes first. If you have any injuries at all, go to the doctor as soon as you can. Even if your injuries aren’t immediately apparent, seeing your physician after an accident is crucial.
You need to document that you’re hurt, and you need to show the jury that you’re taking your injuries seriously. Your physical injuries are often the launching point for determining how to value and build your claim.
There are a number of ways that you may work to preserve evidence of your claim. A slip and fall lawyer in Sarasota can help you determine how to best go about building your case:
• Take photos of the accident scene
• Take pictures of your injuries
• Demand an inspection of the accident scene
• Demand preservation of objects or structures involved in the accident like fixtures or other items of personal property
At all stages of the case, it’s critical to keep records. From your first injuries to your trial date, it’s important to write things down and save all related paperwork.
If you go to the doctor, save any discharge papers and bills that you receive. Keep a diary of your injuries and your pain. You should save every piece of paper or electronic documentation that relates to the case. You never know what might be extremely important later on.
Talk to Witnesses
The testimony of witnesses to your accident can be among the most influential types of evidence that exists in a slip and fall case. It’s important to ask each witness for a statement as soon as possible. A witness might forget critical details over time. They might also decide to be dishonest.
There are a number of ways to lock down a witness statement. You may only need to ask the witness for a written narrative of what they observed. If a witness is reluctant, you can serve them with a subpoena to answer questions under oath during a deposition. There are ways that you can find witnesses such as reviewing employment or sales records, looking for surveillance video, getting a copy of a police report or knocking on doors to see if anyone witnessed the accident or knows anyone who did.
File Your Claim
In rare cases, you can arrange for a fair settlement for a slip and fall without having to file a formal claim. In the vast majority of cases, you must submit a formal complaint for compensation in the right Florida court.
The complaint needs to state what happened that caused your injuries. It needs to meet all of the requirements according to the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. You must sign the claim and make sure that the other side receives a copy of the documents.
Evaluate Your Case for Strengths and Weaknesses
Building your case means looking at it honestly to determine where your evidence is substantial and where you need to gather additional information. Proving a slip and fall case involves establishing the elements of negligence:
• The other side had a duty to act carefully
• They failed to act carefully
• The failure resulted in your accident
• You’re injured as a result
You must evaluate each element and the strengths and weaknesses of your case. You must make sure that you can prove the other side’s failure to act carefully enough caused your injuries. Taking an honest look at your case allows you to determine how to build a strong case.
Build Your Case
Once you’ve saved the evidence, you can use that information to build your case in any of the following ways:
• Interviewing witnesses
• Conducting a deposition to require a witness to answer questions under oath
• Demanding that the other party respond to formal questions under oath
• Sending out subpoenas to demand records
• Working with an expert to evaluate the accident scene
• Securing expert medical attention and prognosis for your injuries
• Calculating financial losses from a wide range of damages
Aggressively building your case might make it seem like you’re headed towards a stressful trial. In fact, the opposite is often true. The stronger the evidence in your case, the more likely the other side is to see the value of the claim and agree to pay you fairly. If your case is one of the few that proceeds to trial, the evidence you prepare can be ready to go to show the jury why you deserve top dollar for your claim.
Hire an Experienced Attorney
At each stage in the case, an experienced Sarasota slip and fall attorney can guide you through the necessary steps to recover compensation. Whether you need to contact witnesses, demand preservation of evidence or prepare a summons and complaint to file in court, a lawyer has the expertise to do this correctly.
They can talk you through how the facts of your specific case apply to the law and what you might expect from the legal system. Along the way, they can protect you from harassment from the other party. Finally, they can help you negotiate a fair settlement or make the determination that it’s appropriate to take your case to trial.
Contact a Sarasota Accident Attorney Today
At Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, our team of legal experts have extensive experience handling a variety of slip and fall claims. Regardless of the specific circumstances of your claim, we are dedicated to protecting your right to recover. We will use our knowledge to help you at every step of the way.