I would say, generally, yes. It’s always good to file an accident report because it is going to provide proof that your fall actually happened, contemporaneous with the accident.
That word – contemporaneous – is important, especially where a defendant is trying to dispute that your fall even happened. So taking the time to make a report gives you hard proof that what you are claiming is true.
Not only is the report good evidence in the face of those types of unfounded accusations, the report itself sometimes kick-starts some type of customary procedure that can end up helping you down the line. For instance, some companies will have a procedure to investigate an incident scene after receiving a report. So that may create statements, photographs or other evidence to support your case. This often happens in places like a big box store or other national chains. The simple act of making that accident report will provide a lot of back end evidence that would have never existed if you decided to just go home.
In circumstances like an un-witnessed accident a report is of the utmost importance. Going back to a trip and fall on a sidewalk, quite often those types of incidents are un-witnessed. And even if a random person saw it happen, they likely won’t stick around. They may help you up but they’re not going to give you their name and say “I’ll be your witness,” because people generally don’t want to be involved. So in these circumstances, try your best to report the incident to the building next to where you fell. Or if that is not a possibility, call an ambulance. The ambulance personnel will respond to the scene and document the time, location and circumstances of your fall while also taking care of your medical needs.
PRO Tip: After a trip and fall accident in New York City, call 311. 311 creates a document that’s maintained by the New York City Department of Transportation. This printout will help prove that your incident occurred and will have all the details that you relayed shortly following the accident.
So yes, I would say almost certainly, yes you should make an accident report in most scenarios. There’s simply too much to gain and too little to lose by making a report.