Tipp FM Legal Slot – 8th July 2014 – Trips and Falls
On Tipp FM, John M. Lynch, Solicitor, spoke to Seamus on “Tipp Today” about what to do if you have suffered a slip or a fall through no fault of your own.
Listen to John’s discussion:[soundcloud id=’157935118′]
What do you do if you trip/slip or fall in a public place?
Remember the Location!
It is extremely important in accidents on footpaths, roads or other locations that you are in a position to identify precisely where the accident occurred. You should ensure that you have some way of pointing out the accident scene to us and any engineer retained by us to inspect the scene.
Should you take photographs?
Yes protect all evidence!
At the very earliest opportunity following an accident, you should take photographs of the scene. This is particularly important if you slip on a wet surface of for example spilled milk in a shop.
Should you approach witnesses who may have seen the accident?
Yes Get Details Of All Witnesses
If there were any witnesses to the accident, be sure to obtain their names, addresses and telephone numbers. Talk to them and see if they will talk to us. Some witnesses can be reluctant to get involved – particularly where the case involves their employer – so if there is any reluctance to assist, just give us the details and we will make every effort to put the witness at ease.
What other steps should be taken at an early stage?
Do A Detailed Statement Of How The Accident Happened
It is most important that you write down in the fullest detail how the accident happened and what injuries you suffered. You should set out the time, date and mechanics of the accident and who you believe is responsible and why you that party is at fault. It is important that you complete this statement at the earliest date – you should include as much detail as you can remember, no matter how trivial. You have no way of knowing at an early stage what will prove to be important as your case progresses.
If you fall in a shop should you report it?
Yes, it should immediately be reported to a staff member or the manager. You should also ensure to take their name. This may become very important and will prevent a shop from arguing that the accident did not occur on their premises
Record Your Injuries
After the accident – even if it has only been a minor one – you should always see your doctor for a check up. This is important. A failure to attend your doctor at an early stage may cause difficulty later on. Make sure you tell your doctor that you were involved in an accident and detail all your injuries, both physical and psychological, no matter how trivial they may seem to you at the time. Make sure that the doctor makes a note of these details.
It is very difficult to remember some months or years after the accident how you felt in the”early days.” Buy a diary and keep a record of present symptoms and from then on, record your condition on a regular basis. You should also keep a note of all your medical examinations, when you went, what was said and any medical opinions offered.
Sometimes an injury is exclusively psychological. Sleeping difficulties, headaches, problems coping with simple everyday situations, constant tiredness, loss of memory, nightmares or flashbacks to the accident are all common symptoms after a frightening accident injuries, you should go ahead with the referral at the earliest possible date and advise us, so that if necessary, we can obtain a report of that specialist’s opinion.
Do insurance companies hire Private investigators to check are injuries genuine?
You May Be Followed By A Private Investigator!
It has become common practice for insurance companies / employers to employ private investigators to carry out surveillance on people taking a legal case following an accident. Usually investigators are hoping to get some video or still footage of you lifting some heavy weights or doing some other strenuous task that they think you might deny being able to do if the case goes to Court. If you are saying that because you have a back or neck injury, you cannot clean windows – they would be delighted to have a photo of you out cleaning your front windows! It is important therefore that we are told accurately how your injury affects you.
Such investigation by the Insurance Company can do no harm to your case once we are in a position to give full and accurate details to the other side of the effects of the injury on you. This issue is all the more important if your case gets to the stage of issuing court proceedings. You will be required to swear an affidavit confirming that the particulars of your accident and the injury you have suffered are true and accurate.
Will an insurance company have a Plaintiff independently medically examined?
The defendant’s solicitors may request that you attend a medical examination arranged by them. As a general rule the other side’s doctor is not entitled to enquire into how the accident happened but is simply entitled to enquire into particulars of the injuries that you received as a result of the accident.
Make sure that you give the doctor details of all injuries – no matter how trivial. You should note that you are entitled to have someone present with you at these medical examinations if you feel the support would be beneficial.