Our Washington DC slip and fall lawyers help you recover a fair compensation for your slip-and-fall injuries. Slip-and-fall incidents can range from mild to quite serious. Injuries sustained in such incidents may include broken bones, muscle tears, pain, head injuries and back injuries. And these injuries come with significant medical costs of treatment.
When you slip and fall due to a dangerous condition on a private, public or commercial property, the owner of the property is typically held responsible. This is why most slip-and-fall cases are filed against landowners, restaurants or the government. However, it is your responsibility to prove the negligence of the owner in order to qualify for the damages. Here is a look at the D.C. laws that apply to slip-and-fall claims as well as a look at other aspects of such cases.
Slip-and-Fall Laws in District of Columbia
When filing a slip-and-fall lawsuit in Washington, D.C., you must consider a number of relevant District of Columbia laws and rules. These notably include the statute of limitations and the comparative negligence rule.
For slip-and-fall claims, D.C. has a statute of limitations of three years. This means that any claim you file must be filed within three years of the injury or property damage caused by a slip-and-fall. It is critically important that you file the lawsuit within this period. If you file the claim after the statute has expired, the other party will have the claim thrown out of the court by citing the delay.
Comparative negligence rule is another important consideration when it comes to slip-and-fall injuries. As per this rule, you can’t recover any compensation for an injury if you were even a little bit responsible for the injury. For instance, if there is water on the floor of a restaurant and you slip as you walk across the floor, you have a slip-and-fall injury claim. The restaurant can argue that you slipped because you were wearing slippery shoes. This doesn’t eliminate the negligence of the restaurant but it also shows your negligence. If the court accepts this argument, you will receive zero damages.
When is Property Owner Liable for Slip-and-Fall Injuries?
Premises liability is a central concept in slip-and-fall claims. According to this concept, a property owner is legally responsible for making sure that property is safe for any legal visitors. If you are legally visiting the property and suffer a slip-and-fall injury due to unusual conditions on the property, you can hold the property owner responsible. Not all slip-and-fall incidents can be attributed to the negligence of the property owner. You must be able to demonstrate that the property owner failed to maintain the property in a way as to minimize a risk of injury.
Slip-and-fall injuries can also occur at commercial or public places. In such cases, liability lies with the entity or agency responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the place. As with property owners, the negligence of the entity or agency must be proven in the court in order to win a compensation claim.
What to do when the DC Government is Liable?
It is possible to bring a slip-and-fall claim against the D.C. government. However, when you are filing a claim against the government, you have to deal with a number of limitations. This is why it is critically important to consult Washington DC slip and fall lawyers before you file a claim against the government.
Typically, you have to prove the government’s negligence when filing such a claim. For instance, if unusual snow or ice conditions on the street caused your slip-and-fall injury, you must demonstrate that the government had enough time to remedy the condition. Alternatively, it must be proved in the court that the government entity responsible for maintenance had prior notice of the adverse condition that caused the injury.
Common Objections Raised Against Slip-And-Fall Claims
It is common for property owners to raise a number of objections against slip-and-fall claims. The aim of these objections is to either turn down your claim altogether or to downplay it in order to pay a smaller amount of compensation. Here are some common objections used to counter slip-and-fall claims:
- You were distracted when you suffered the slip-and-fall injury. Talking on the phone or texting is a common form of distraction in such cases.
- You were in an area of the property which was off-limits to visitors or where visitors are not usually expected.
- The property owner had set up signs and cones to indicate that the area had a dangerous condition.
- The footwear you were wearing had some role in the accident.
- The dangerous condition that caused your injury was quite obvious and should have been known to you.
As per the comparative negligence rule of D.C., the defendant only needs to prove a minor negligence on your part to avoid paying any damages at all. This is why even a small objection, if merited by the court, can lead to a failure of your case. Good Washington DC slip and fall lawyers can help you avoid this by preparing solid defenses against such objections. With good legal advice on your side, you are able to gather evidence that will turn down the unfounded objections raised against your claim.
How Can Washington DC Slip and Fall Lawyers Help You?
When you are in the process of filing a slip-and-fall claim in Washington, D.C., you need legal help. A good attorney will help you meet the D.C. requirements when preparing the claim while also ensuring that your claim will be able to withstand common objections.
Here at TorkLaw, we have been working on slip-and-fall cases for many years. Our attorneys fully understand the relevant laws of the jurisdiction. We also look at the nature of your injuries in detail and then prepare a claim that seeks the maximum amount of compensation from the negligent party. Contact us today to book a FREE consultation with our attorneys and discuss your case in a one-on-one discussion.