Investigative Steps to take after a Slip-And-Fall Accident
April 16, 2015
Slip-and-fall accidents may still happen with the best preventative techniques. While it is crucial to take steps to reduce the risk of these accidents, it is also important to know what to do after one happens. The investigation phase is very important. If there is a thorough investigation, it could limit the responsible company's liability, reduce the cost of claims and protect the business from even more losses. Follow these steps to ensure a smoother investigation and claims process.
1. Assist the claimant. Make sure the company's response is coordinated with the local emergency responders. Record any actions taken to help the claimant during this process. Always take the proper steps to protect the scene of the accident until emergency responders arrive. Since it is easier to forget information and important details as more time passes, it is crucial to take notes during the emergency response phase.
2. Obtain a statement from the claimant. Try to obtain a statement from the victim during the emergency response phase and after it is over. Have a standard statement form on hand that will focus on important bits of information. It should include the name of the victim, the date of the injury, the location where the accident took place, the time when the accident happened, the cause of the accident, how the accident happened and any unsafe conditions that were noted. It should also include the victim's contact information and signature.
3. Collect all physical evidence. During and after the response phase, take photos of the accident scene. Ask witnesses to provide statements of what they saw. If there was any video surveillance taking place during that time, obtain the footage or a copy of it. Keep it for reference to the case and to analyze for any possible changes to enhance the building's safety.
4. Take action to remedy the cause. Investigate the accident and its cause thoroughly. If an unsafe condition or employee behavior was the cause, take steps to correct the problem. Be sure to investigate other areas of the business to make similar changes if applicable.
In 2012, the National Insurance Crime Bureau said there was more than a 10 percent increase in questionable slip-and-fall claims over the span of one year. Some of the factors that are red flags for a questionable claim include the following:
- The claimant is a transient.
- There are only subjective injuries.
- The claimant makes threats of bad publicity if the matter is not settled fast.
- There are witnesses who come forward quickly and seem enthusiastic.
- Props are used to support the claim's credibility.
- The claimant uses a post office box and does not answer the phone.
- The claimant has a history of filing other claims.
- The claimant has a history of changing addresses or phone numbers frequently.
- The claimant is unable to produce positive identification.
Questionable claims should always be reported. In many cases, businesses performing thorough post-accident investigations are able to identify one or more signs of a questionable claim. Thorough investigation techniques are key. To learn more, discuss concerns with an agent.