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.
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.
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, called 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
- loss of spousal support and consortium
- compensation for mental health treatment
- rehabilitation expenses
- loss of enjoyment of life
- loss of benefits
- death benefits (if applicable)
What Your Attorney Will 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.
Contacting 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 an attorney as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact an experienced Vancouver slip and fall attorney at any time by calling (360) 433-9361.