Top 5 Ways to Document a Slip and Fall Accident
After a slip, trip or fall it is imperative for a store employee or manager to properly document and preserve the scene of the incident. Obviously, the well-being of the customer is of utmost importance but as soon as everyone is safe and secure you should turn your attention to the scene to preserve evidence in anticipation of an impending lawsuit. Below are five actions to take after a slip, trip or fall on your business premises.
1. Take Photographs
Take photographs of EVERYTHING, even if you think nothing substantially important is present. In some cases, lawsuits are not filed until years later making a re-creation of the accident scene virtually impossible. Also, it is possible that your photographs will show the lack of a hazard, which helps in the defense of the case to prove nothing dangerous was on the floor.
2. Gather Statements
Gather statements from customers after the accident. What better than an unbiased witness to explain what happened? Even if the statements are harmful to your case, it is better to learn the information upfront. It saves time and expense later down the road.
3. Save Evidence
If an item was damaged during the accident, preserve it. It is possible that the source of a spill was not the store’s fault but the fault of the product manufacturer. Keeping the product in its current condition can help your legal team make that determination.
4. Preserve Store Surveillance Videos
If the store has a surveillance system, be sure to backup and preserve the footage of the accident. Nothing will kill your liability defense like a spoliation of evidence claim. Most stores are equipped with a DVR system that makes saving the footage from just before to just after the incident easy.
5. Create a Report
It is wise to memorialize the incident into a well-formed report that details the date, time and type of incident. Also list any potential witnesses and secure their contact information. The more information you can compile at the time of the incident the better. Memories fade over time.
The five steps above can help you properly gather and preserve evidence to help support your defense in the event of a slip, trip or fall claim.