Renton Slip & Fall FAQ’s
RENTON SLIP & FALL ATTORNEYS
What is premises liability? How is it related to slip and fall accidents?
In Washington state property owners are responsibility to maintain their property in good condition. Premises liability refers to the body of law defining this responsibility and the liability of a property owner that arises from any injuries that occur on the property because it is not maintained in good condition.
Many slip and fall accidents occur because the owner of a building fails to uphold their responsibility to provide safe walkways, etc. around the premises.
What are the most common types of premises liabilities?
Slip and fall and trip and fall accidents are the most common premises liability lawsuits Boyd Buckingham handles, though we also see stump and fall accidents and step and fall accidents as well. One of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents are sticky or slippery surfaces. These can occur both inside and outside of buildings. Wet floors are notorious for being slippery. Unexpected low obstructions often cause trip and fall accidents. One of the most common causes of stump and fall accidents are uneven surfaces and sidewalks that have lifted because of tree roots, and holes in the walkway or a curb that drops off unexpectedly can cause step and fall accidents.
Where would I be most likely to experience a slip and fall accident?
Slip and fall accident seem to happen the most often in restaurants and supermarkets, especially if food spills are not properly cleaned up. They are also become more common when freezing weather hits the greater Seattle area. Many store owners are not prepared for the ice that develops on sidewalks and in parking lots.
Is there a difference between permanent hazardous conditions and temporary hazardous conditions?
Yes. A permanent hazardous condition is usually structural, such as a broken stare or a missing tile. A temporary hazardous condition is often weather related, such as ice on the sidewalk. Or it could be caused by a spill. In this case, time becomes a factor. Did the owner have the opportunity to realize that the temporary situation existed? If so, did the owner, seek to correct the problem? For example if there was ice on the sidewalk, did the owner applied deicer?
What kind of compensation can I seek if I slip and fall or trip and fall?
Like most personal injury claims, you can seek compensation for your medical bills, wages lost, pain and suffering and potential future expenses related to your injury.
Who would be responsible for my medical expenses if I have a slip and fall accident?
Unless it can be proven that you were under the influence of alcohol or narcotic, the general rule of law is that the owner of the building or the operator of the premises is responsible for keeping the premises as safe as possible. If there is a known hazard, adequate warning needs to be posted.
Most businesses carry a general liability policy that provides for medical payments that would cover at least some of your medical bills. And many homeowners policies also contain medical payment provisions that can cover some of your medical costs. When the limits on these policies are exhausted, you may have to look to your own health insurance policy or another option to cover the balance of any medical expenses that have not been covered.
If I am older, could this cause difficulties in seeking compensation for a slip and fall or trip and fall injury?
No, Washington law does not discriminate against its older citizens. Even if you have a pre-existing condition, you have a right to expect property to be maintained properly. If you suffer an injury that aggravates an existing injury, you are entitled to compensation if your accident was caused by a property owner’s negligence.
Do I need to fill out an accident report at the time of my fall?
You are strongly encouraged to do so because this provides evidence that the accident occurred. Make sure the accident report gives details about what happened, conditions at the time of the accident, and the names and contact information for anyone who witnessed the accident as well as the conditions that led to the accident occurring. It’s also a good idea to take photographs of the area as soon as possible.
Should I consult an attorney before I bring a premises liability case?
If your injuries are extremely minor, it may be better to attempt settling the case yourself. But make sure that your injuries are minor and are completely healed before you attempt to settle. If your injury serious, for example you lost work, retain an attorney. Unless the case is obvious, you can expect the business or home owner’s insurer to try and claim there was no real injury, or they will try to under evaluate the damages you are compensated for.
I slipped at work. Can I sue my employer?
In Washington state, if you fall and injure yourself at work, your injury will be covered by L&I workers compensation. You cannot sue your employer.