When people fall, their immediate reaction is often one of embarrassment. They look around to see if anyone noticed and may try to pick themselves up as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the constant use of dramatic falls as a punchline in visual entertainment has led to people instinctively engaging in emotional reactions when they fall that might put them at a disadvantage if they need to take legal action later.

One of the most important steps someone can take after a slip-and-fall incident in a business or other public location is the timely reporting of the incident to a property owner or business manager. All too often, people rush away from the scene of the incident instead, in the hopes of forgetting their embarrassment instead of taking the necessary steps to protect their interests in the event that symptoms of an injury develop in the wake of their spill.

Internal records are important evidence

Many businesses have security cameras that may have captured someone’s slip-and-fall. If the company isn’t aware that the footage relates to someone’s potential injury, they might very well delete data or record over a day’s records, thereby eliminating evidence that could prove that someone fell at the business.

When a patron or visitor takes the time to notify management of the incident, there will typically be official paperwork kept related to the slip-and-fall, and the business will generally need to preserve any evidence related to the incident as well. The person who fell can also use their mobile phone as a means of taking photos or recording video of the location where they fell. The details that they capture could help prove that a spill or an unsecured electrical cord was the cause of the incident.

If that person later requires medical care due to a broken phone or a brain injury, the internal records at the business and the details they captured with their mobile device could help them validate their claim that the business was negligent regarding its maintenance of the facilities and that the negligence was the underlying cause of their injury. People should make a report even if they don’t notice immediate signs of injury.

The body’s stress response to a slip-and-fall can sometimes cover the early warning signs of an injury, including pain, which means that some people leave the scene of a slip-and-fall without realizing that they will eventually require medical care. Taking the time to report an incident when it occurs will create an official record and might facilitate a premises liability insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit if someone requires financial compensation in the future as a result of the harm that they’ve suffered.