The winter season brings a great deal more of a certain type of accident – slips, trips and falls. More than a third of all accidents reported to the Health and Safety Executive are as a result of slips and trips. Slippery pavements, wet shop floors and dark nights all make leaving your home slightly more dangerous. Although such falls may seem minor, a serious one may leave you seriously injured and even with lasting effect. Whilst some of the incidents are genuine accidents for which no one can be blamed, often they are caused by carelessness or negligence on the part of someone with a legal responsibility to prevent them. In the latter circumstance, the injured party may have a right to receive compensation and recover the cost of loss of earnings and any medical treatment required.
In order to have the best chance of success in reclaiming compensation, there are some things you can do.
Record the Accident - If you are seriously injured you should make sure you receive medical attention as soon as possible. Otherwise, you should report the incident to the person responsible and log it in the accident book if possible.
Take photographs - If possible, you should also take a photograph of what caused your accident as soon as is practicable. It can be helpful to use a ruler in the photo’s to give perspective. For example, if you tripped over a paving stone you should use the ruler to demonstrate how uneven the pavement was. You should also sign and date any photographs you take on the reverse side. These photos give evidence that the accident happened, where it happened and also how serious the defect that caused your accident was. If you are unable to take photos at the time of your accident, you should go back and do so as soon as possible. This is to ensure the defect is not remedied before you get a chance to take photos and thus there is no evidence.
Witnesses – You should also ensure you get the contact details of any witnesses to your accident, in case you need to contact them later.
Get treatment – You should see your GP or if necessary a hospital to have your injuries diagnosed and treated. Even if you complain of injuries where no treatment is necessary, a record will be made and so it is important to tell your doctor of any injuries you may have suffered no matter how small. Some of your injuries may go un noticed for some time, as soon as you become aware of injury, seek medical advice and assistance.
Notify – If your accident was a result of a fall on a public pavement or road, you should write to the local council responsible for it’s maintenance. This will further ensure a record it kept of your injury and where it happened.
Keep a diary – It can be a good idea to keep a diary of you injuries and physical symptoms. This can paint a fuller picture of the extent of your injures and ensure you remember all of the pain and suffering you have gone through. Be sure to include things such as sleepless nights and loss of appetite if you suffer from them.
Keep a record - You should keep a hold of any receipts for expenses incurred as a result of your accident. This includes: lost income, prescription costs and travel expenses to and from medical appointments. These costs will form part of your claim for compensation. Whilst taking these steps may seem inconvenient at the time, these can make all the difference when it comes to making a personal injury claim. Insurance companies do not want to pay out and many bodies are reluctant to admit liability. Having the evidence outlined above can ensure you receive the full amount of compensation owed to you.
Furthermore, you should ensure you seek legal advice from a personal injury specialist. Whilst your case may seem straightforward, slip and trip cases quickly become quite complex. For example, what if you weren’t paying attention because you were on the phone or otherwise distracted when you fell? What if there were warning signs but you didn’t see them? Factors such as this can affect the progress of your claim, however a personal injury specialist solicitor will be familiar with these situations and ensure you get the most from your claim.
For specialist personal injury claims advice in Scotland, no matter the accident or injury, contact Lawford Kidd today. To do so, click here to make an online enquiry. You can also call us on 0131 516 9180.