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Evidence can be key to a successful claim after a fall

Many people who are injured in falls are reluctant to file a claim against property owners who may bear some responsibility for a dangerous situation. Victims may be embarrassed about the fall and not want to call any more attention to themselves than they already have. They may believe that their own clumsiness caused it. Older people or those with mobility issues may fear that they won't have a chance for a successful claim because the property owner will blame the fall on their physical limitations.

However, if a condition such as spilled liquid on a floor or a tripping hazard like an electrical cord caused your fall, you may be able to hold the property owner and/or manager liable for their failure to keep the property reasonably safe. This can help you get compensation to cover your medical care, physical therapy and other expenses resulting from your injury.

If you're considering filing a claim, be prepared for the property owner to question your story and deny responsibility. That's why any evidence you can gather at the time of the accident can be crucial. For example, if there was something on the floor, like liquid, a cord, a loose tile or buckled carpet, take a photo or video of it before it's cleaned up, fixed or moved away.

Keep your shoes, and don't remove any evidence from them. If you can show that you were wearing sensible shoes and not spiked heels or flimsy sandals, that can help your case.

Many stores and other locations have surveillance cameras, so your fall may have been captured there. They probably won't release it to you -- or even admit that there is surveillance footage. However, an attorney can take action to get it.

Don't let the store manager or anyone else talk you in to signing any kind of release of liability stating that you weren't injured -- even if you don't think you were. Don't sign any kind of document at the scene. Symptoms of an injury can develop hours or even days after a fall. You don't want to sign away your right to take legal action. If you need to seek compensation, an attorney can put you in a far better position to get it than you'd be if you tried to handle things yourself.

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