With winter on the way, it's time to start thinking about those icy sidewalks in front of the stores. The icy conditions can be particularly hazardous to walk on, especially if they're not properly cared for. To help reduce your chances of a slip and fall accident this year, the best thing you can do is always wear slip-resistant shoes whenever you head to the store. However, even your slip-resistant shoes won't offer 100% protection on a sidewalk that hasn't been cleared of ice and snow. If you're the victim of a slip and fall accident on a sidewalk that hasn't been properly cleared, here are some steps you'll need to take to the get the compensation you're entitled to.
Get Photographic Documentation
If you slip and fall on ice in front of a store this winter, the first thing you need to do is get photographic documentation of the area where you slipped. You'll need to be able to show the condition of the sidewalk at the time of your accident. If you're not in a condition to take your own pictures, have someone with you snap the pictures, or enlist the assistance of a witness to the accident. It's also a good idea to have someone come by around the same time each day for about a week and take additional pictures of the sidewalk. This will provide a clear pattern of disregard for icy conditions in front of the store.
File the Necessary Paperwork
After your fall on the ice, store management may have you fill out an accident report. Go ahead and fill out the form, but avoid signing anything that is an attempt to pass liability for the accident on to you. Be sure to get the name of any store personnel who were in the area when you slipped on the ice, as well as the name of the manager on duty at the time.
Obtain Witness Information
If there were people in the area when you slipped on the ice, you'll want to get their names and contact information. Having witness information will make it easier once you file your insurance claim against the store. If you can't find witnesses at the time, put social media to work for you. Post a request on your social media page for information from anyone who may have been in the vicinity at the time you slipped on the ice. Sharing your information is an effective way to get witnesses to come forward.
Talk to an Attorney
Finally, if you slip and fall on ice in front of a store this winter, you're going to need an attorney. Chances are good that the store will try to pass at least part of the responsibility for the fall onto you. Your personal injury attorney will help prevent that from happening. They'll also handle all those stressful phone calls to the insurance company.