Seattle Trip & Fall Injury Lawyer
Legal Representation After a Trip & Fall Accident
Trip and fall accidents usually occur when a foot strikes an object and the body's momentum throws the person off balance. These falls can cause serious injuries as the body jerks or twists in an instinctive reaction to a sudden loss of equilibrium, even when balance is restored, and a fall to the ground can be prevented. Human factors is an area of study that can be used to prevent these accidents.
When trip and fall accidents occur on someone else's property because the owner allowed tripping hazards to exist, and failed to provide adequate warning, injured victims may be entitled to claim compensation for all losses. If you or your loved one has suffered such an accident, your best course of action is to consult with an experienced Washington personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., our Seattle premises liability attorneys have been representing injured people in Washington for more than 40 years. We are dedicated to providing responsive, skilled, and professional representation, and we are steadfast in pursuing the best possible outcome for those we represent.
Common Causes of Trip and Fall Accidents
Trip and falls are often caused by hazardous conditions existing on a property. These may include:
- Electrical or phone cords stretched across a walking area
- Objects in the walkway
- Open drawers and cabinet doors
- Obstructed views
- Inadequate lighting
- Uneven stairs
- Broken or missing handrails on stairways
- Stair steps that are too shallow
- Carpets that are frayed or contain holes
- Raised sidewalks, pavers, and bricks
- Unexpected steps to a lower surface
Washington Property Owners' Responsibility for Trip and Fall Accidents
Under Washington law, a property owner's liability for a trip and fall accident depends in part on the status of the person who was injured. If the injured party is trespassing on the property, the owner's only legal duty is to avoid willfully or wantonly injuring that person.
It is an entirely different matter, however, when a person on the property is an invited guest or on the property with permission, on an "invitee" -- customer, client, or person on a property for business purposes. In that case, the property owner has a legal duty to exercise ordinary care to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition. Property owners can be held liable for trip and fall accidents if that owner:
- Knew of or should have known of the trip and fall hazard on the property;
- Should expect that individuals on the property would be unaware of the danger or may fail to protect themselves; and
- Failed to exercise ordinary care to protect the injured party from the danger.
Owners and occupiers of properties are required under state law to regularly inspect the premises for hazards and make whatever repairs, safeguards, or warnings are needed to protect individuals on the property. Even if someone other than the property owner caused the unsafe condition, the law still holds an owner who had knowledge (or should have had knowledge) of the condition liable for injuries sustained.
Damages in Washington Trip and Fall Accidents
Washington is a comparative negligence state. This means that when the jury determines that you were in part at fault for the accident, the damages you are awarded will be reduced by the percentage of fault that has assigned to you. When your case is settled out of court, the insurance adjuster is likely to bring up comparative fault in the negotiation process. Our seasoned trip and fall accident attorney can thoroughly investigate your accident to obtain any evidence that establishes that the property owner is at fault, and fully responsible for your injuries.
There are no damage caps on personal injury compensation in our state. The Washington Supreme Court has ruled that placing statutory limits on non-economic damages violates citizens' constitutional rights to a trial by jury. What this means is that there are no limits pre-established by state law on how much can be awarded to a plaintiff in a lawsuit for non-economic damages, such as mental and physical pain and suffering.
Damages you may be entitled to claim in a trip and fall accident may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Disability or disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of society and companionship
- Loss of consortium (marital relations)
Contact Our WA Trip and Fall Accident Attorneys Today
If you have suffered injuries in a trip and fall accident, the Seattle slip and fall accident lawyers at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. can provide the high-quality representation and dedicated advocacy you need. Contact our office to arrange for a free consultation. We can review the facts surrounding a trip and fall, and advise you of the value of the damages you may be entitled to claim. We can be reached at (888) 228-3860.
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