Injuries caused by slipping and falling on a slick or unsafe surface are quite common. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), slip and fall accidents account for over one million hospital emergency room visits per year. As we age, we are more likely to slip and fall—it’s estimated that one out of every three people over the age of 65 will experience a fall each year in the U.S. Injuries from slip and fall accidents can be severe, such as broken bones, muscle tears, and even traumatic brain injuries. If you have slipped on a slick or uneven surface and fallen because the property owner failed to ensure your safety, you may be entitled to pursue a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your suffering. Let’s take a look at what you can do following a slip and fall accident to ensure that you receive everything you need in order to expedite your recovery.
Step #1: Seek Medical Attention
If your injuries are severe, you’ll instinctively know to call an ambulance and seek medical attention. However, if your injuries are not immediately apparent, it’s still a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor within the next day or two. Your medical provider may find that you’ve suffered a less obvious injury, such as a concussion or similar traumatic brain injury, and you may not yet be aware of your symptoms. Any documentation you can gather from your doctor regarding the nature and the extent of your injuries will be useful later on, should you decide to pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent property owner.
Step #2: Meet With a Knowledgeable Personal Injury Lawyer
Even if you are not sure you are interested in filing a personal injury claim, it’s worth meeting with an experienced attorney who can help you understand the process. You may realize that you have a strong case, and your attorney will guide you through the process of seeking compensation. Like other states, Washington adheres to a strict statute of limitations for filing a personal injury claim, so you should schedule an appointment with your attorney sooner rather than later. Under Washington state law, you must file your lawsuit with the court within three years of the date of the incident, or else you forfeit the opportunity to pursue compensation.
Step #3: Familiarize Yourself With What to Expect From the Process
Once you’ve begun working with your personal injury lawyer, you’ll discuss what needs to happen in order to build a successful claim. Since your outcome relies on your ability to establish that the property owner failed to protect your safety, you’ll need compelling evidence that indicates that the proprietor was indeed at fault. According to Washington’s comparative negligence laws, the plaintiff must present evidence to show that the proprietor was at least partially to blame for your accident. Any pictures you can provide of the condition of the property—showing slick puddles, uneven surfaces, or other hazards—will help to support your position. Your attorney will also help you to locate any witnesses who can attest to the unsafe conditions that led to your fall. While the defendant will likely fight back and claim that these dangerous conditions should have been obvious to you—thus assigning partial blame to you as well—you can still receive compensation for your injuries. However, it’s important to note that the total award you receive will be reduced by whatever percentage of fault you shared in the accident. Ultimately, you should still be able to achieve a favorable outcome that can help you recover and move on with your life.
To work with a dedicated personal injury attorney who is committed to giving you a voice, contact Henderson Taylor Law Firm at (360) 737-1478. For two decades, we’ve been pursuing justice on behalf of all of our clients in Vancouver and throughout Clark County, so call today to learn more.