Assist and document: Best response to a slip, trip and fall

August 18, 2020
By Susann Honaker, TAC Claims Examiner
Risk Management News

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One of the most common claims for TAC Risk Management Pool members is the slip, trip and fall. This elusive, gravity-enabled exposure frustrates even our most seasoned risk control consultants!

Slips, trips and falls can occur under the best and worst conditions — surfaces can be dry or wet, flat or uneven, clear or cluttered. Regardless of the circumstances of the incident, county employees should understand their role in assisting someone who has fallen on county property.

Once a slip, trip and fall has occurred:

  • Immediately approach and offer assistance, which could include contacting a friend or family member, or providing basic first aid supplies.
    • Avoid moving or providing physical assistance such as lifting an individual from the floor.
    • Contact emergency medical assistance only if the individual requests or requires care due to the severity of the injuries.
  • Always document the scene by writing a detailed report.
    • Note the date, time, specific location, walking surface and/or weather conditions, and the person’s name and contact information.
    • Describe the person’s clothing, shoes and any walking appliances.
    • Note if there was liquid or debris on the floor. Was the walking surface or sidewalk level? Were hazards identified such as a loose rug? Were floors recently mopped?
    • Record locations of any signs posted to warn of a potential hazard.
    • Photograph the accident scene and secure any available videos.
    • Photograph injuries only if permission is granted.
  • Be courteous! An appropriate, compassionate response from county personnel will set a positive tone for any ongoing claim administration.
  • Finally, never comment on whether the county has negligence or liability or make commitments to pay for medical treatment.

Counties can easily mitigate claim exposure by providing appropriate care and concern to a fallen individual and carefully documenting the event when it occurs. The TAC Risk Management Pool is here to help!

Find General Liability Loss Reports and file them online here.