Our Seattle slip and fall lawyers specialize in helping you recover compensation for slip-and-fall injuries. When you slip and fall on a property, the owner of the property is typically liable for the injuries. This is because it is the owner’s duty to maintain the property and ensure that it poses no safety hazards. If you have suffered a slip-and-fall injury, it is important to gather relevant evidence and file your claim at the earliest. With the right evidence and good legal help, your timely claim has far better chances of resulting in fair compensatory damage.
It is also important to understand various aspects of a slip-and-fall lawsuit, including the state laws that apply to it. Here’s a quick look at these.
Washington State Statute of Limitations
Washington State has a clearly defined statute of limitations for lawsuits related to slip-and-fall injuries. As per state laws, you must file a slip-and-fall lawsuit within three years of the incident. This time period is the same as in the case of most personal injury cases. So if you have suffered an injury in a slip-and-fall accident, you must file an initial complaint at a Washington State court within three years of the date of the injury.
State laws also allow you to recover compensation for any property damage involved in the slip-and-fall accident. For instance, if you broke an expensive smartphone during the fall, you can also pursue damages for it. In this case as well, the statute is set at three years.
Some exceptions to this strict time limit also exist. However, it is best to consult Seattle slip and fall lawyers to see if your case qualifies as such an exception.
Comparative Negligence in Seattle Slip and Fall Cases
Washington is a comparative negligence state. So if you suffer a slip-and-fall accident in Seattle, you will be entitled to compensation proportionate to your degree of negligence. For instance, if the court finds that you are entitled to $10,000 in damages but then determines that you were 20% at fault, your damages will be reduced to $8,000. This is why when you file a slip-and-fall compensation lawsuit, the property owner’s counsel will try to pin a portion of the fault on you.
Common arguments that the other side may use to pin the responsibility on you may include the following:
- The dangerous condition that caused the slip-and-fall injury should have been obvious to you.
- You were distracted or walking recklessly when you suffered the injury
- You had not taken suitable safety measures. For instance, this may apply if you were walking barefoot on a floor designed for footwear.
- The property owner had put up signs and indications that a given area was off-limits due to potential risks.
Things to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
If you have suffered a slip-and-fall accident on someone’s property, it is important to take the right measures in order to recover a fair compensation. Here are the key things to do after a slip-and-fall incident:
- Get Medical Treatment: This is critically important. After a slip-and-fall accident, you may feel like you are okay. However, many injuries in such a case may present themselves later. If you don’t immediately seek medical treatment, the negligent party may use it against you as an argument. If you are too late in getting medical help for the injury, the other party may argue that the injury was not related to the accident at all. This is why you must seek medical help and undergo medical examination after a slip-and-fall accident.
- Collect Relevant Evidence: When you file a slip-and-fall compensation claim, you will need all the evidence you can get. This is why it is vital that you start collecting this evidence as soon as possible. Relevant evidence will include the identity and contact details of any witnesses, photographs or videos of the incident as well information about the date, time, location and other aspects of the incident.
- Consult Seattle Slip and Fall Lawyers: If you have sustained a serious injury in a slip-and-fall accident, it is important to consult a reliable attorney who specializes in slip-and-fall cases. A good attorney will help you file a claim for a fair compensation at the earliest. With an attorney at your side, you can also negotiate a better deal with the insurance company or the other party.
Common Injuries in Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip-and-fall accidents can range from harmless to minor to even serious or critical. The severity of the injuries sustained in a slip-and-fall incident can vary from one case to another. In particular, elderly victims are more likely to suffer serious injuries in such incidents. Here is a look at some of the most common injuries involved in slip-and-fall accidents:
- Back Injuries. If you land on your back during a slip-and-fall, you may sustain back injuries. Back injuries can range from a pulled muscle or sore ligament to displaced vertebrae or even damage to the spinal cord. In more severe cases, back injuries may even result in partial paralysis.
- Head Injuries. A head injury is another common type of injury that is sustained in slip-and-fall incidents. The severity of the head injury usually depends on the impact of the fall on the head and its angle. In more serious cases, traumatic head injuries can prove critical for the victim.
- Broken Bones. During a slip-and-fall, you may try to use your hands and arms to prevent a direct impact to your head or back. This can lead to fractured bones in the hands, wrists, arms or shoulder area. Broken hip injuries can also result when the impact of the fall is focused on the hips.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip-and-fall accidents may occur for a variety of reasons. In most cases, they take place when the surface you are walking on has an unusual feature that you wouldn’t typically expect. Here’s a look at some commonplace causes of slip-and-fall injuries:
- Floor spills: This is the most common cause of a slip-and-fall injury. Floor spills at commercial or public places are typically a result of someone’s negligence. At a restaurant, the management or owner is responsible. At a school, the administration or maintenance entity is liable.
- Insufficient Safety Features: Handrails along stairs are usually a safety feature most people expect. A slip-and-fall accident may occur when a handrail or other safety feature is missing from the property.
- Hurdles: Any unexpected or unusual hurdles in your path can also to lead slip-and-fall injuries. Such hurdles may include a torn or uneven patch on the carpet, uneven walking surface, as well as any dirt or debris in your path.
- Snow or Ice: Adverse weather conditions may pile up snow or ice on a walking path. It is typically a property owner’s duty to ensure the removal of such elements and make a walking surface safe.
How Can Seattle Slip and Fall Lawyers Help You?
If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, it is important to get legal help from Seattle slip and fall lawyers. A key part of slip-and-fall lawsuits is to prove the negligence of the property owner. On your own, it can be hard to collect the relevant evidence and prove negligence. This is why here at TorkLaw, we work with you to file well-prepared slip and fall lawsuits. We also negotiate a fair compensation to cover the medical costs of your injury, lost wages and any other losses you may have suffered. Contact us today to book a FREE consultation with our attorneys.