A stack of files sitting on a desk

If you have suffered an injury in a fall on the property of another individual or a business, there are several steps you should take to protect your legal rights. One of those steps is filling out an accident or incident report. It may prove useful in a trial or settlement negotiations.

Another essential step to take after a fall is having a discussion with a New York City slip and fall lawyer. They can advise you on the process of pursuing a claim and assist you with making a report if you have not done so already.

What are incident reports?

An incident report is any documentation that follows an incident or injury. These reports are standard among supermarkets and other large businesses. Government agencies also frequently rely on them as well. There is no uniform type– most companies design their own, which they require supervisors to use. Generally, they record the date, time, and a brief narrative of what occurred.

In some cases, the company will allow you to fill out the incident form yourself. This could involve a brief account of how your fall happened as well as the nature of any injuries you may have sustained. The report may also identify any store employees present at the time of the accident– or shortly after that.

What Should I Include in a Slip and Fall Accident Report?

Whether the store provides a form for you to fill out or you draft your own, the information in an accident report is important. This document should put the business owner on notice that an accident occurred on their property. It also provides a paper trail that sets the stage for your personal injury case.

Set the stage

First, provide context. Often, understanding the circumstances surrounding the fall could be important when it comes to succeeding with your personal injury case. This includes establishing the date, time, and location of the fall. If it happened outdoors, you should also describe the weather conditions, including the temperature and the presence of any precipitation.

Explain what happened

Next, establish a clear timeline. Begin by describing the events that led up to the fall. In addition, your report should make it clear what caused it. For example, it could have been spilled liquid on the floor or a loose extension cord you did not notice. Falls can also occur due to dim lighting or uneven flooring.

Describe the damage

Finally, describe the outcome of the accident, such as the injuries you notice in the immediate aftermath, as well as your pain. In addition to the harm you suffered, you can also notate any property damage.

Is filing a report necessary?

Yes. By creating a report at the time of your injury, you establish a paper trail that confirms your accident. When the details within this document match your allegations, as noted above, they can help corroborate your case—if it goes to trial.

Injury reports could also provide your New York City personal injury lawyers with critical information. It could identify the managers on duty at the time of the fall or any witnesses present when it happened.

Am I entitled to a copy of the report?

Whether or not the manager or supervisor agrees to provide you a copy of your report is a question of company policy. Often, employees may tell you that these reports are internal documents and refuse to make a copy for your records.

Whether or not you can obtain a copy of an incident report is not that important. During a lawsuit, your personal injury lawyer can request copies of all evidence related to your accident.

What if an incident report is unavailable?

There will not always be the option to make a report after a fall. Many small businesses do not have a system for this. Likewise, homeowners and the owners of private property are unlikely to have this as well. Despite the lack of a formal document, you should write down what happened as soon as possible. These notes can be useful to your personal injury attorney as they prepare for litigation.

When writing down these details, be sure to note:

  • Where the fall happened
  • How it happened
  • If anyone else was present
  • What caused it
  • Your injuries
  • Anything the property owner might have said about your fall

Contact us about a free consultation

An accident report could prove to be useful in your personal injury case. However, this documentation is only part of building a winning claim. The most important step you can take after a fall is selecting skilled legal counsel to take on your case. Contact Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb, Green & Bagley, P.C., right away to schedule your free consultation.