Should You File an Incident Report in an Arizona Premises Liability Case?
You may be leery of filing an incident report after a property owner’s negligence causes you any kind of an injury. After all, you’re smart enough to know that anything you put in writing can be used against you. So, in these cases, what Arizona premises liability case says? Let’s discuss it.
Yet reporting your injury to the premises owner is one of the first steps you can take to give your claim legitimacy, especially if there aren’t any witnesses to your slip and fall who can verify your story later.
Why are incident reports important?
An incident report serves as an effective piece of evidence because it’s a form of official documentation. It’s also effective because you’re capturing the details of the incident immediately when they’re fresh.
They’re also a form of evidence you can count on. You might hope a store’s video surveillance system has captured your fall, but you probably won’t be surprised to learn that footage often gets erased before personal injury attorneys can get to it.
What’s the best way to fill out an incident report?
The trick will be to fill out these forms as accurately as possible, with as much detail as possible, without admitting any liability of your own. You’ll also want to spend a lot of time documenting how the accident occurred.
Be matter-of-fact, be factual, and be unemotional. Remember that this is a document that could be shown or read aloud in court someday.
Note, you don’t need a form to write out an incident report. You can just write the report on a piece of paper, sign it, and retain a copy for yourself after you give a copy of the report to the appropriate party. An incident report should include the date and time.
Document the location, names, and contact information for all parties who were witnesses to the incident and yourself, events leading up to the incident, conditions inside and outside on the day of the incident, how you came to slip, fall, or get hurt, and the specific injuries that you took.
If you saw damage or hazards that contributed to your injuries you should document those as well.
Try to ensure your narrative is as coherent as possible.
Avoid Verbal Statements
Both the insurance adjuster and the store owner may ask you to give a verbal statement, but you should refrain. It’s easier to control the content of a written statement. You can read back over it and edit it if you accidentally say something you shouldn’t.
By contrast, insurance adjusters are trained to ask leading questions that can create problems for your case. Giving a verbal statement to a store or business owner runs the risk that these individuals will misrepresent what you say later.
If either party insists you should get an attorney as quickly as possible, and refer them to your attorney for all necessary conversations.
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