Were you injured after a slip and fall accident? Were you on someone else’s property or in a public location? If so, you may have the right to file a claim against the property owner or manager.
According to the law, property owners have a legal duty to maintain a safe environment for legal visitors. If their failure to tend to a dangerous condition on the property resulted in your slip and fall accident, it is possible to file a compensation claim.
The laws related to premises liability claims are complex. When combined with Washington’s comparative negligence laws, it can be challenging to recover compensation without help from an experienced attorney.
At Bernard Law Group, our attorneys have decades of experience fighting for the rights of accident victims. You can count on us to help you navigate the legal process and fight for the full compensation you deserve.
Understanding Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are more common than many realize. They occur when a person loses their footing and falls. Usually, this happens because of a hazardous condition on a property.
These incidents can happen anywhere, from public sidewalks and shopping centers to private residences and workplaces. Understanding the nature and causes of these accidents can help prevent them. This knowledge can also be beneficial if you are involved in a slip and fall accident.
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Definition of Slip and Fall Accidents
Legally, slip and fall accidents fall under the premises liability umbrella. This means the property owner or manager may be held liable if an individual is injured due to unsafe conditions on their premises.
These conditions include wet floors, uneven surfaces, poor lighting, or hidden hazards like broken tiles or torn carpeting. When these dangers are not addressed, they pose a significant risk to visitors and employees, leading to potential injuries.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
The causes of slip and fall accidents are diverse, ranging from natural to man-made factors. Inclement weather, like rain or snow, often leads to slippery outdoor surfaces. Indoors, spills, inadequate maintenance, or faulty design can create hazardous conditions.
Other common causes include loose floor mats, cluttered walkways, and inadequate stairway design. In commercial settings, such as retail stores or restaurants, the fast-paced environment and high foot traffic can exacerbate these risks, making timely maintenance and safety measures even more critical.
Recognizing these hazards and their impact is the first step in preventing slip and fall accidents. For those who have already been involved in a slip and fall accident, knowing these causes is essential in determining liability and seeking justice through legal channels.
Legal Framework for Slip and Fall Claims in Tacoma
After a slip and fall accident, filing a claim against the liable party is the obvious step. However, this can be confusing. Washington state laws must be followed for your case to be successful. At Bernard Law Group, our experienced attorneys can help guide you through the legal process.
Slip and Fall Accident Laws
Washington state’s law concerning slip and fall accidents is primarily governed by premises liability principles. This legal concept holds property owners and occupiers responsible for maintaining safe conditions. If a property owner fails to address potential hazards that they knew or should have known about, and this negligence leads to an injury, they can be held liable.
Premises Liability in Tacoma
The injured party must prove several key points to establish a premises liability claim in Tacoma. Our experienced Tacoma slip and fall attorneys can help with this.
The elements that must be proven include:
- Show the property owner owed the injured victim a duty of care. The duty varies based on the visitor’s status. An invitee (e.g., customers in a store) is owed the highest duty of care, while trespassers are owed the least.
- Proof the property owner breached this duty by not maintaining safe conditions or warning of possible hazards must be presented.
- Show a direct link between the breach and injury.
In cases where the property owner and the victim may have contributed to the accident, Washington applies the comparative negligence rule. If the victim is partly at fault, their compensation may be reduced proportionately to their share of the blame.
Common Injuries from Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents can cause different types of injuries. These injuries vary in severity depending on the circumstances of the fall, such as the individual’s height, surface, and physical condition.
Common Injuries from Slip and Fall Accidents
- Fractures: Particularly common in older adults, fractures can occur in the hips, wrists, and ankles. Hip fractures, in particular, can have severe long-term effects.
- Head Injuries: These can range from mild concussions to severe traumatic brain injuries, especially if the victim hits their head during the fall.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: These are among the most serious consequences and can lead to permanent disability, including paralysis.
- Cuts and Bruises: Though often less severe, cuts and bruises can still be painful and lead to further complications if not properly treated.
- Shoulder Injuries: This can include dislocations or rotator cuff injuries, often caused by a direct impact or twisting motion during the fall.
- Knee Damage: Falls can result in torn ligaments or damage to the knee cap, which can be particularly debilitating.
The impact of these injuries goes beyond physical harm. Victims can face emotional trauma, financial burdens due to medical bills, lost wages, and a reduced quality of life.
Importance of Legal Representation in Slip and Fall Cases
Personal injury cases are often complex and confusing. Because of this, having an experienced attorney representing your interests is recommended.
By hiring a slip and fall lawyer from our firm, you gain access to someone with the expertise to answer your questions and guide you through the claims process.
We understand the complexities of premises liability law. We can help determine the property owner’s negligence and establish the victim’s right to compensation.
Navigating the Legal Process with a Slip and Fall Lawyer
Hiring us means you have someone to gather and present evidence on your behalf. We will build a strong case by collecting physical evidence, medical records, witness statements, and expert testimonies. We know that our process is vital in arguing your case and proving the extent of your injuries and how they will impact your life now and in the future.
Another part of the legal process we handle for accident victims is insurance negotiations. Many insurance companies use tactics to try to discredit claims or offer unfair settlements. With years of negotiation experience behind us, we will handle negotiations to ensure you receive fair compensation for all losses and damages you incurred. If a fair settlement agreement is unable to be reached, we can litigate your case in court.
Bernard Law Group’s Approach to Slip and Fall Cases
Coming to us for help with your slip and fall accident case means you are represented by experienced and knowledgeable attorneys who will get to know you, your case, and your needs. We carefully analyze each case and gather all relevant details. This ensures we have a compelling argument to use in negotiations.
We have a track record of success and can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
What to Do If You’re Involved in a Slip and Fall Accident
Being involved in a slip and fall accident can be disorienting and stressful. However, taking the right steps immediately following the incident is crucial for both your health and any potential legal claims.
Here’s what you should do:
- Seek Medical Attention: Prioritize your health. Even if injuries seem minor, some symptoms may appear later. Getting a medical evaluation creates an official record of your injuries.
- Document the Scene: Take photographs of the area where you fell, including any hazards (like wet floors, uneven surfaces, or poor lighting). Note the date and time of the accident.
- Collect Witness Information: If anyone witnessed your fall, ask for their names and contact details. Witness accounts can be pivotal in supporting your claim.
- Report the Accident: Inform the property owner, manager, or relevant authority about the accident. Request a copy of the accident report, if possible.
- Preserve Evidence: Keep the clothing and shoes you were wearing at the time of the accident in their post-accident state. They might serve as evidence.
- Consult a Lawyer: Before making any statements or agreements, consult with a slip and fall lawyer to understand your legal options and rights.
Following these steps can significantly strengthen your position if you decide to pursue a legal claim.
Contact Our Tacoma Slip and Fall Lawyers for Assistance
Navigating the aftermath of a slip and fall accident can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. Bernard Law Group combines expert legal guidance with a personalized approach to each case, ensuring your rights are protected and your voice is heard.
If you’ve been involved in a slip and fall accident, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced attorneys for a consultation. We are ready to help you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.