On television and on the stage, a slip and fall is often played for laughs — but it’s no laughing matter when you’re sprawled on the ground, injured.

More than 8 million people end up at the hospital each year due to slips and falls, accounting for more than 20 percent of all emergency room visits. Many of those people who suffer a serious slip and fall are actually the victim of someone else’s negligence — meaning that the slip and fall could have been avoided if someone had been more careful.

In order to recover compensation for your injuries, it’s important that the next steps you take keep you on a firm legal footing:

1. Keep your footwear and clothing.

Your footwear and clothing could become more important than you think if the case is heavily contested. The defense will likely want to see your shoes to see if there’s something about them that could have contributed to your slip and fall. If you don’t save them, the defense is entitled to ask the court to presume the worst — meaning that they were not very slip-resistant.

Your clothing may also preserve proof of what caused the fall. For example, if you fell in the cold foods section of your local grocery store because you slipped on juice that had been spilled, your clothes may retain stains that prove what caused your fall.

2. Take photos if you can.

If friends or relatives are with you when you fall, ask someone to take photos of the scene of the fall, both before and after you are moved.

While this may sound calculating, it really can save the day if the owner of the property hurries and makes repairs to the floor or tries to deny that anything was on the ground where you fell. If everyone played fair, there’d be no need for this kind of evidence, but some property owners won’t hesitate to try to erase evidence of their own negligence.

If you were injured in a slip and fall, consider making an appointment with a personal injury attorney to discuss the possibility of a case. For information on how our firm may be able to help you, please visit our web pages on the topic.