Vancouver Slip and Fall Lawyers
Slip and falls are a leading cause of injury in Washington State, and you need experienced Vancouver slip and fall lawyers in your corner from the onset. Slip and fall injuries can result in thousands of dollars in medical bills and other damages.
What follows is a brief outline of Washington law as it pertains to slip and fall cases and the types of legal damages that are available to you.
If you suffered a slip and fall injury, contact Mila Boyd Law Offices today.
How Do Slip and Fall Injuries Occur?
The NFSI, which provides nationwide statistics about slip and fall cases, notes the following:
- The worst slip and fall accidents usually occur in the construction, mining, and maintenance industries. They are also very common in public places (i.e., stores and shopping malls), outdoors on public sidewalks, and in parking garages.
- Slip and fall injuries usually result in broken bones and fractures, such as tailbone, skull, and hip fractures, as opposed to mere soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains.
- These types of injuries are most common among the elderly, and the severity of injury is greater.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Slips and falls can result in trauma to all parts of the body. Injuries often involve more than one body part and can result in poly trauma, or multiple injury sites. You should be aware of possible injuries that can occur from a slip and fall accident, including:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and concussions
- Head and neck injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Muscle and ligament sprains and strains
- Contusions (bruises) and lacerations (cuts)
When you seek medical treatment after a slip and fall, it’s important to let the doctors and other medical professionals know that you have experienced a slip and fall. This will help them know what to look for. A slip and fall lawyer can guide you through the process of interacting with medical professionals and seeking ongoing medical treatment.
What Do I Have to Prove in a Slip and Fall Case?
Vancouver slip and fall lawyers can assist you with proving the necessary legal elements of your case. In a slip and fall case, you, as the injured person, have the burden of proving negligence on the part of the property owner or occupier. This could be an individual, corporation, or governmental entity, such as a city, county, or local government. More specifically, you must demonstrate that the property owner or occupier owed a duty directly to you, and that he or she breached this duty, legally and proximately resulting in your injuries and damages.
How Long Do I Have Before I Have to File My Case?
Washington State provides time limitations (statute of limitations) on all legal claims and lawsuits. Statute of limitations prevent evidence from growing stale and ensure witness availability at depositions, trials, and other legal proceedings. A claim must be filed prior to (or on) the statute of limitations deadline. Otherwise, you are forever barred from filing a claim or seeking compensation for your injuries.
Under the Washington statutes, you have three (3) years from the date of the slip and fall accident to file a claim/lawsuit. However, in some cases where a potential defendant is a governmental entity, such as a city, county, or township, the limitations period may be shorter. Moreover, there may be separate notice requirements. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you should contact an experienced Vancouver slip and fall lawyers as soon as possible after sustaining your injuries.
What Types of Damages Can I Receive?
Washington State allows you to recover both economic and non-economic damages in a slip and fall case. The purpose of damages is to make you “whole.” The hope is that they will place you in the same position (to the greatest extent possible) that you were in prior to the accident.
You should keep in mind that every slip and fall case is different. The types and amounts of damages available to injured plaintiffs vary on a case-by-case basis. An experienced Vancouver slip and fall attorney can determine which types of damages are applicable to your case and can assist you with proving those damages.
Types of damages available to injured plaintiffs in slip and fall accident cases might include the following:
- medical bills and expenses (hospital, doctor, and physical therapy bills)
- lost wages (including time missed from work for recovery and/or for attending doctor and physical therapy appointments)
- out-of-pocket expenses
- pain and suffering (past, present, and future)
- loss of earning (income) capacity
- compensation for mental health treatment
- rehabilitation expenses
- loss of enjoyment of life
- loss of benefits
- death benefits (if applicable)
What Your Attorney Will Need to Prove
Proving a slip and fall case generally involves witness testimony and physical evidence. Witness testimony usually includes that of bystanders, store managers/employees, family members, friends, and co-workers. Physical evidence usually consists of some or all of the following:
- incident reports
- photos of the area where the slip and fall occurred
- surveillance footage of the area
- witness statements
- other evidence that tends to show the cause of the slip and fall and/or that the owner or occupier of the premises knew (or should have known) of the danger(s) on the premises beforehand
An experienced Vancouver slip and fall attorney can assist you with gathering the evidence necessary to prove your case. When you have injuries to deal with, it can be difficult to know where to request all of the necessary information.
Who May Be at Fault in Your Slip and Fall Accident?
In many slip and fall cases, multiple parties are to blame. Whoever had power over the property may have had a duty to maintain it appropriately for visitors. This may include the following:
- Property owners
- Property maintainers
- Construction companies
- Maintenance companies
- A Government organization
It can be difficult to know who owns property. In many cases, a store may be renting a property from someone else. Both organizations may be responsible. It’s best to work with a slip and fall lawyer to investigate who may be responsible for your accident so that you know whom you should hold legally liable.
Comparative Negligence in Slip and Fall Cases
In a slip and fall case, you must prove that the property owner or maintainer was responsible for your injuries. However, the property owner may also try to place blame on you through a theory called “comparative negligence.” Comparative negligence involves looking at the negligence of both parties involved, including the victim. If you are found to be negligent at all, your award may be lowered or denied entirely.
Situations where the victim may have been partially at fault include the following:
- Condition that led to the slip and fall should have been obvious to the victim.
- Dangerous part of the property was identified by warning signs or cones.
- Victim was not paying attention while they were walking.
- Victim was wearing inappropriate footwear or clothing that resulted in the injury.
If a person is found to be partially at fault for an accident in which they were a victim, they are not completely barred from recovering compensation. However, their compensation may be reduced. In many situations, your compensation would be reduced by the percentage at which you are at fault. If you were found to be 10% at fault for the slip and fall, and you had $50,000 in damages, then your award may be reduced by 10% to equal $45,000. Comparative negligence will also be considered during settlement negotiations.
If you think you may be partially to blame, you should consult a slip and fall lawyer right away. They can review your case and help you understand your legal options. Even if you are partially at fault, you can likely still recover some compensation. Contact a slip and fall lawyer about your case.
Contact Experienced Vancouver Slip and Fall Lawyers
At Mila Boyd Law Offices, we offer free case evaluations to injured victims of slip and fall accidents. If you have experienced a slip and fall injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, speak with a Vancouver slip and fall attorney as soon as possible.