When you’re heading out to the mall, safety probably isn’t the first thing on your mind. You have an agenda, items to be picked up, returns to be made, and a time frame in which your to-do list needs to be completed. However, slip and fall related injuries are more common that you might expect. Children and older Americans are especially at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 2.3 million Americans were treated for fall related injuries in 2010 alone. Additionally, Safe Kids USA reports that about 20,000 children are injured each year as the result of shopping cart related injuries.
Slipping and falling in a public place, where there are many people around can be humiliating. Although your first instinct might be to get up and carry on as if nothing happened, it is important to gather some information and to ask for help from those around you. It is better to gather too much information and not need it than to not gather enough and wish that you had.
Steps to follow if you are the victim of a slip and fall
1. Address any Emergent Medical Needs
First and foremost, address your medical needs. It isn’t always immediately apparent how injured you are and often times the soreness and aches and pains related to the fall will take a few days to set in. Depending on the severity of your injury you may need to call an ambulance or 911. Make sure your medical provider is aware of how you were injured.
2. Ask for Help-Witnesses
If you are alone, ask for help from those dg customer first you. Talk to the other shoppers in the vicinity of the fall. Many times people will approach you after a fall to assist, but if that does not happen you’ll need to approach them. Ask if they witnessed the accident and if so, get their contact information. Make notes that you can refer to later.
3. Look Around
Take an inventory of what’s around you. Are there any possible hazards that caused you to slip and fall? Consider the following:
Is the floor uneven?
Is the floor wet?
Is there anything spilled on the floor?
Are there any other hazards that contributed to your fall such as debris, ladders or other equipment in the walkway, etc.?
4. Take Pictures
Take pictures of the location of the fall. You will want to have multiple pictures from various angles to make sure you have adequate visual documentation of the scene. For example, if the floor was wet and there was not a ‘wet floor’ or ‘caution’ sign alerting you to that hazard, you’ll want to be able to show that with your pictures.
5. Report the incident to the store or mall manager
Before you leave the business where the accident occurs, you should speak with the business owner or the property manager. Let them know about what happened and gather their contact information. If you had to leave the scene quickly to seek medical treatment, you’ll want to follow-up once you’re able.