One of a parent’s worst nightmares is watching their child suffer due to injuries in an accident caused by a negligent individual or business. If your child was hurt in a slip and fall accident in San Diego or Southern California, they might be entitled to compensation from the at-fault property or business owner.
However, they are relying on you to protect their rights. You must ensure that they receive the maximum recovery from the insurance company so they can get the medical treatments needed to recover fully and the compensation they need to help them have a bright future.
How do you do this? Here are five crucial steps you need to take to build a winning case for your child.
Step #1: Get Immediate Medical Care for Your Child
You should get prompt medical care for your child after their fall. A physician should examine them within 72 hours of their fall—even if they do not believe they are hurt. They may be too young to realize that they suffered an injury or have a hidden injury that could become a medical emergency if they do not receive medical treatment soon after their accident. You protect their health and avoid disputes with the insurance company about the cause of their injuries by taking them to the doctor right away.
Step #2: Report the Accident
You should notify the property or business owner of your child’s slip and fall accident immediately after it occurs and complete an accident report. This puts their insurance company and on notice that the accident happened and that your child has a potential claim for compensation. If they do not provide you with a copy of the report, take a picture of it with your cellphone camera. Also, get the contact information for the negligent party and their insurance company so you can file a claim for your child.
Step #3: Preserve Evidence
To win your child’s case, you will need to collect evidence proving the property or business owner’s negligence caused their slip and fall accident, the seriousness of their injuries, and the amount of compensation they deserve. You must start collecting evidence right after your child’s fall. Some helpful types of evidence include:
- Photos. Take photos of the accident scene, the dangerous condition, such as damaged flooring, spills, or other conditions, that caused your child’s fall, and your child’s injuries.
- Witness statements. You should obtain the contact information for witnesses who saw your child’s slip, trip, or fall occur so they can make a written statement and testify at your child’s trial. Their statements and testimony can be invaluable in helping you prove that the business or property owner’s negligence caused your child’s injuries.
- Your child’s clothes. Preserve your child’s clothes and shoes in the condition they were in at the time of their slip and fall accident. This can help you refute insurance company arguments that your child’s clothing or shoes contributed to their fall.
- Medical records and bills. Your child’s medical records will help you prove their injuries, the medical treatments they need, and their prognosis for a full recovery. You should save their medical bills to determine the amount of compensation they are entitled to for their medical expenses.
- Paystubs. If your child had a job and had to take time off work while they recovered from their injuries, save their paystubs to prove the wage loss damages they should recover in their settlement.
- Expert witness reports. Depending on the disputes with the insurance company, you may need to hire expert witnesses, such as a medical or economic expert, to prove your child’s case.
Step #4: Do Not Sign Documents
You should not agree to sign any documents, like the insurance company’s medical release, without first consulting with a knowledgeable child injury attorney. You could waive your child’s important legal rights.
Step #5: Retain a Lawyer
You should hire an experienced child injury accident attorney as soon as possible after your child’s fall. Some of the ways an attorney can assist you include:
- Collecting the evidence you need to win your child’s claim.
- Take over communications with the insurance adjuster and negotiate your child’s settlement with the insurance company.
- Follow the special procedures required in California to settle your child’s claim.
- File your child’s lawsuit against the negligent party if their insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, or the statute of limitations to sue will expire soon and will litigate your child’s case.