The weather is getting warmer here on Long Island, and this is the time of the year that our East Meadow office starts getting calls about accidents that occur outside of someone's home, typically at a backyard party or bbq.
As you may already know, homeowners must keep their property in a reasonably safe condition when opening the home to guests. In very general terms that simply means that nothing in the house should be a known hazaard (or something that should be known as a hazard) that would cause any guest to have a trip, slip or other accident.
In an effort to try and get ahead of the party season here are a few tips to keep in mind if you are in an accident:
Use Your Phone (Pictures): We live in an era where taking a picture is as easy as pulling out a cell phone. While it may not be the first thing you want to do, take pictures of the area where the accident occurred. Trust me, if was an unsafe condition, it will be fixed quite fast after your fall. Having pictures of the scene at the time of the accident can make the difference between a winning and losing case.
- Use Your Phone (Wittnesses): Yes we said phone again. Make a list of names and addresses of those people that either witnessed your accident or were aware of the unsafe condition. Of course it not always easy to get people to volunteer their name (unless you know who they are) since they know what you might be up to and simply don't want to get involved. However, all it takes is one individual to back up your version of what occurred to make you case a good one.
- Use Your Head (Insurance Company): Most people will not be willing to tell you who their insurance company is for fear that you will contact them and file a claim. Frankly, I never understood that since the whole purpose in buying insurance is for accidents. That being said, you should definitely ask the homeowner for the name of their insurance company and the policy number. Many people will gladly give it to you either because of guilt or because they don't want the hassle of dealing with you or your lawyer. Getting the name of the insurance company right there could save months of delays in your case.
- Medical Help: Get medical attention immediately if you are hurt. Early documentation of medical attention will strengthen any any claim . Too often people will wait days and even weeks before getting medical attention and that delay can destroy your case. Interestingly, many homeowner's insurance policies will have a separate provision allowing for the immediate payment of medical treatment sometimes known as "Med Pay."
- No Case: As we always say in our articles and blogs many accidents are not cases. It is important to speak to an attorney who has handled cases like these to make an intelligent decision on whether your accident is a matter that can be pursued in court.
If you were injured in an accident at a neighbor's house, give our Long Island personal injury lawyers a call with any questions you may have. We always take the time to answer questions and will provide a free, no-obligation consultation if you want to discuss a specific case in detail. Our attorneys will detail your legal options and let you know what we believe is the best course of action.