A sudden loss of footing or a fall off a high surface can have serious repercussions for anyone, but especially for elderly people, children, and those with certain preexisting medical conditions. No matter how you got hurt in a slipping or tripping accident, your primary concerns afterwards are likely figuring out how to pay for your medical bills and other related expenses, as well as determining who might be legally liable for covering those costs for you.
Depending on how your specific accident occurred, you may have grounds to file suit against a negligent property owner or manager with a qualified personal injury attorney’s help. By working with a Lakewood slip and fall lawyer with a proven history of handling cases like yours successfully, you could give yourself optimal odds of securing financial restitution.
When Could a Slipping Accident Justify a Lawsuit?
The fact that someone slipped or tripped and suffered an injury on someone else’s property does not automatically give the injured person legal standing to file suit against the property owner or manager. As with other personal injury claims, an injured plaintiff pursuing a slip and fall case must prove negligence by the defendant landowner in order to recover compensation.
More specifically, a slip and fall victim who wants to hold someone else accountable for their injuries would need to show through a preponderance of available evidence that their named defendant(s) failed to meet the duty of reasonable care they owed to them. In doing so, that person directly caused the accident in question to occur. What qualifies as a “breach of duty” can change entirely in different situations.
For example, the duty that a property owner owes to a lawful visitor is different from what they might owe to a trespasser; and even that latter duty can shift based on the age of the trespasser in question. A Lakewood slip and fall attorney could provide much-needed clarification about a particular person’s right to file suit during a private, initial consultation.
How State Law Governs Trip and Fall Claims
Under Revised Code of Washington § 4.22.005, a civil plaintiff found partially liable for causing their own accident may be subject to a proportional reduction in their final damage award’s value based on their percentage of total fault. In other words, if a person injured in a slip and fall event was negligent in some way leading up to their accident, they may be unable to obtain compensation for the full value of their losses even if they prove someone else primarily liable for the incident.
In addition, RCW § 4.16.080 sets a deadline of three years after an accident occurs for an injured person to file suit over it, with few exceptions that only apply in rare situations. These are only some of the legal and procedural hurdles a victim may have to clear before obtaining compensation. A Lakewood trip and fall lawyer could provide irreplaceable assistance in overcoming these hurdles.
Consider Working with a Lakewood Slip and Fall Attorney
Civil claims based on slip or trip and fall injuries can be challenging to effectively pursue in many ways, particularly if the injuries that a plaintiff sustained will have long-term and/or debilitating consequences. In situations like this, guidance from someone who has handled cases like yours can be vital to achieving a positive final resolution and receiving fair compensation.
Speaking with a Lakewood slip and fall lawyer should be a priority for anyone injured in a bad fall caused by a landowner’s misconduct. Call today to schedule your consultation.