Updated March 3, 2021
Over the years, we worked on a number of cases recently where clients suffered severe fractures after falling on snow and/or ice, and we wanted to take the opportunity to share some tips (Especially with cold weather ahead of us!)
First, if you are injured in any accident, it is important to get medical attention as soon as possible. Do not jeopardize your health in order to gather evidence to be used later in a possible personal injury case. Having said that, it is crucial that evidence is gathered right away after a slip and fall on ice and snow because the evidence melts and witnesses quickly forget about snow and ice conditions. This evidence must be gathered and presented to your New Jersey personal injury attorneys, such as Raff & Raff, who can evaluate the evidence and advise you on whether or not you have a case.
The three most important things that the insurance companies look at when they evaluate a claim are photographs, witness statements, and evidence of the weather conditions. Adjusters frequently decide that a case is baseless if the only evidence that is in play is the plaintiff’s word about how he fell on ice.
It is very important that you ask a friend or family member to take photographs of the area where the fall occurred as soon as possible, using a quality camera (not a cell phone) that can place a date and time stamp on the photograph. They should take many pictures, from many angles. You want to be able to see a close-up of the spot of the fall, a wide shot of the area, the lighting conditions, whether there was any salt or sand spread around the area, the depth of any snow, etc. You also want to capture any slopes where water is melting off of snow piles and re-freezing. If you can’t get pictures taken that same day as the fall, then go back the next morning, because they may still be helpful, and if the area looks different the next day (for example some of the snow melted), then write down how it is different.
You will also want to get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all persons who witnessed the fall. If the fall occurred in a public place, there may be several people who are can be very helpful witnesses, but if you don’t get their names then you may never see them again. Also, it is a good idea to write down everything that you can remember about the fall and about the weather conditions, as soon as you are able.
As New Jersey personal injury lawyers who have represented many people injured in fall-down accidents due to ice and snow, we hope that these tips can help you in the event that you are injured in such an accident.