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Make sure to file a report if you slip and fall in a store

Few things are as embarrassing as experiencing a slip-and-fall accident in a public space. One minute you are walking through the grocery store, the next you're on your back with a group of people staring at you. It is normal for most people to want to brush it off and move on with their day. However, doing that could prove to be a costly mistake for you.

While many slip-and-fall accidents only result in minor bruising and a little damage to your pride, some can cause serious injuries. In fact, it is estimated that about 8 million people end up in emergency rooms every year due to falls. Even if you don't think you are seriously injured, take the time to report your accident to the manager or owner of the business where you fell and seek medical advice.

Some of the most serious injuries may have delayed onset

While most people can tell if they have a broken bone or torn ligament, brain injury and soft tissue injury symptoms may not develop until days after your accident. A combination of the adrenaline from the fall itself and the potential for delayed onset symptoms could leave you feeling okay when you are actually seriously hurt.

It is especially important to report an injury if you strike your head, get shaken badly or lose consciousness. These are potential risk factors for a traumatic brain injury, and you should not ignore them. They can worsen over time, impeding your ability to do your job or even to care for yourself on a daily basis.

Failing to report the accident could mean more difficulty receiving compensation

One reason for reporting an accident in a public place is to protect your right to compensation in the future. If the business does not have a record of the accident, you may have trouble recovering your losses -- which may include medical treatment, lost wages and pain and suffering -- should you need to file a claim.

Reporting the accident as soon as possible to management or the owner helps to ensure that the company has a record of your fall. After you leave the building, you should seek a medical evaluation to rule out the potential for brain damage or soft tissue injuries. Earlier treatment can improve your prognosis, especially in cases with swelling or bruising on the brain.

Even if symptoms don't crop up for several days or even weeks, the medical evaluation and incident report will help connect your later symptoms to the earlier incident. That will make the process of seeking compensation much simpler.

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