Why It’s Crucial to Preserve Your Clothing After a Slip and Fall Accident

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Were you injured in a slip and fall accident that was caused by a property owner’s negligence? If so, you could be entitled to pursue compensation from the property owner under premises liability law.

Since our founding, the New York personal injury attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. have represented clients in slip and fall accident cases. We have the necessary experience and skills to help you hold the negligent property owner accountable and seek the compensation you deserve.

If you’re a slip and fall accident victim, contact our slip and fall attorneys today to discuss your case and review your legal options. We offer a free, no-risk initial consultation to all prospective clients.

Below, we’ll briefly discuss why it is essential to preserve your clothing and footwear after being injured in a slip and fall accident.

Preserving Your Clothing After a Slip and Fall in New York

To secure the slip and fall accident settlement you deserve, you will need to show evidence that supports your version of events.

One important type of evidence involves what you were wearing at the time of the fall.

  • Clothes – Oftentimes, slip and fall accidents occur when a victim slips on a substance that the property owner failed to clean up. If the property owner tries to argue that the slip and fall was your fault, you could have your garments analyzed to determine what type of substance caused you to slip. For example, oil often leaves stains on clothing. If you slipped on oil, the residue would likely remain on your clothes.
  • Shoes – Likewise, the soles of your shoes might reveal evidence of the substance you slipped on. You should store your shoes as quickly as possible to preserve evidence of the slippery substance. If you can’t preserve your shoes in their current condition, then you should take photos of the substance on the bottoms of your shoes. The at-fault property owner could also try to argue that you slipped because your shoes had worn tread. By preserving the footwear you had on at the time of the accident, it could be possible to dispute claims that the property owner makes if they are false.

Liability in a Slip and Fall Accident

In New York, property owners must keep their properties safe for lawful visitors. If a property owner knows about a hazard or reasonably should have known about it, they must take steps to eliminate it. If a visitor to the property injures themselves because the owner failed to eradicate the issue, the property owner could be held liable for damages resulting from the accident.

Four key elements must be present to prove liability:

  • You must demonstrate that the property owner had a duty of care to keep you safe from harm while on their property.
  • You must show that the property owner breached their duty of care through negligence. If the property owner failed to eliminate the hazard that caused your injuries or failed to warn visitors about the possible dangerous condition, that would constitute negligence.
  • Third, you will need to show causation. You will need to demonstrate that the property owner’s negligence led directly to the accident you sustained injuries.
  • Lastly, you’ll need to show that you sustained quantifiable losses due to the accident. Losses may include financial damages, such as medical expenses, and non-financial damages, like pain and suffering.

Proving liability can be a challenge, but you can help strengthen your case by preserving certain types of evidence after the accident, including your clothing and footwear.

How the Insurance Company Might Try to Argue You Were at Fault

If your slip and fall accident occurs at a residence, you would likely file a claim against the homeowner’s insurance policy. If you slip and fall on a commercial property, such as a grocery store or restaurant, you would likely turn to the property owner’s insurance company.

Regardless of the insurance entity you are dealing with, the insurance company will likely use various tactics to try and reduce or deny your claim. Remember: insurance companies are for-profit entities. Their chief goal is to save the company money. Anything they can do to minimize the amount they must pay you or to shift blame back to you, they will do.

Blaming victims is a common tactic that insurance companies use to reduce or deny claims. If the other party didn’t cause your accident in the eyes of the insurance company, then they can’t be liable for your damages. They might try to say you caused your injuries. Or, they might try to say that you were partially at fault. If a jury accepts their allegations, then your compensation could be reduced.

A knowledgeable personal injury attorney will know exactly how to subvert these tactics. If you hire an attorney, they can step in and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, significantly improving your chances of getting the fair settlement you deserve.

Steps to Take After A Slip And Fall

If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, there are several steps you should take after the accident to protect your rights:

  • Seek medical attention – Seek a prompt medical evaluation. If you are not seen within 72 hours after the accident, an insurance company could argue that your injuries did not stem from the accident in question.
  • Collect evidence – If possible, take pictures of the scene. Make sure you capture photos of the hazard that caused you to slip and fall, as well as your injuries. Speak to witnesses and get their contact information. And, of course, preserve your clothes and shoes.
  • Keep a pain journal – Make a daily note of your level of physical pain and your psychological state. Your attorney can use the information you include in your journal to quantify non-financial losses like pain and suffering.
  • Don’t post on social media – Avoid posting on social media until your claim is resolved. Anything you say publicly about the accident could be used against you.

One of the most important steps you can take is to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after the accident. Because time is limited to file an injury claim after an accident, make sure to hire a lawyer as soon as possible.

How a Slip and Fall Attorney Could Help

If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, contact the New York slip and fall attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. Contact us today for a free, no-risk consultation.