Yes, slip and fall cases can be hard to win. If you are the victim, the burden is on you to demonstrate how those responsible for the property where you fell were responsible. At first glance, this might not seem difficult. But there are many tactics the defense can use to refute and try to dismiss your claim. For this reason, having a personal injury attorney on your side who specializes in these cases is essential.
If you’ve fallen on someone else’s property and are wondering if you could take legal action, read on to learn more. (And of course, you can always call our Washington injury attorneys at any time for a no-fee consultation.)
According to the CDC, millions of people in the US are treated in emergency rooms and hospitals every year for falls. When a fall is the result of someone else’s carelessness, it comes under premises liability.
In brief, premises liability means property owners are responsible to keep their premises safe for guests to use. Property owners should take reasonable, timely action to address hazards. They should also do routine maintenance and inspections.
When a property owner fails in this regard and you get hurt, they could be found liable. In other words, they could be on the hook to pay for your financial harms as well as pain and suffering.
For you to prevail as a victim, there are a few key things you need to prove. As a reminder, the burden is on you to demonstrate each of these components. You, or your attorney, will need to compile records, evidence, testimony, and other facts to support your claim.
If you are successful in proving the defendant’s negligence, they can now be financially responsible for your damages.
First, with very few exceptions, you should expect that property owners will defend themselves against your claim. It is within their financial interests to try to disprove your version of events. Unfortunately for victims, there are many potential angles they can take, depending on what happened.
Here are a few common defenses we’ve seen:
No matter what, you should expect that the defense will use any number of tactics to shield themselves from liability. Thus, it’s crucial to have an experienced attorney on your side.
What happens if your slip, trip or fall happens on property owned by the city or state? Examples include schools, courthouses, military basses, post offices, or even many sidewalks around town.
In these instances, you’ll have additional barriers to overcome. Protocols and timelines for filing claims against government entities are much stricter than private businesses. Plus, in many cases, they enjoy immunities from lawsuits.
Even so, it’s not impossible to win a case against a city or state. A qualified attorney will want to carefully evaluate the circumstances of your injury before deciding to take on your case.
We decided to research Washington slip and fall cases to provide you with some actual settlement numbers.
We noted 601 reported cases spanning more than 20 years. Here’s what we found:
These numbers demonstrate further how slip and fall cases are not “easy lawsuits,” nor do they often result in very high settlements. It’s also important to remember that Washington is a contributory negligence state, where the settlement can be reduced if the victim is found partly to blame for their injuries.
There are many ways a talented attorney can help you with your slip and fall case:
Think of your attorney as a trusted adviser and advocate that works for you. When you have an attorney on your side, you can rest assured that the legal aspects of your case are being handled. This frees you up to focus on your medical treatment and recovery.
Every story is unique. That’s why it’s impossible to make blanket statements in a blog post about whether you have a case or not or what obstacles you may encounter.
The best step to take is to call a personal injury attorney who handles slip and fall cases. At Ladenburg Law, we won’t charge you to speak with an attorney from our team. If we take on your case, you’ll only pay us a fee if we’re able to win you a settlement.