Lakewood Slip and Fall Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip and fall accident, our Lakewood slip and fall attorneys are here to help. We’ve all lost our footing a few times, but it’s easy to forget that slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries, especially as we get older. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of serious and fatal injuries among older Americans. But even younger people can be hurt by a fall if it is bad enough. All too often, people fall because of another party’s negligence, causing injuries that could have easily been prevented had the responsible party taken care to minimize fall risks.
At The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs, we believe that those who cause slip and fall accidents through their negligence should pay for the injuries they cause the victims. With over sixty years serving personal injury victims in Lakewood, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Chehalis, and Bremerton, we have the experience and know-how to increase your chances of winning compensation from the responsible party to aid in your recovery. Contact our Lakewood personal injury law firm at (253) 588-6696 to schedule a free consultation.
Do I Need an Attorney for My Slip and Fall Case?
Though slipping and falling may seem like a common occurrence that can be easily attributed to general clumsiness, if you’re injured in a fall on someone else’s property and require medical treatment, you may be able to file an injury claim for damages.
Washington state law does not require you to have a lawyer to file an injury claim with the property owner’s insurance company, but doing so can bring you significant advantages when demanding compensation for your injuries. Here are some ways having an experienced personal injury attorney on your side can help:
- Objectivity. Slip and fall cases generally happen on someone else’s property, and this can sometimes make things awkward if the property owner is a friend or acquaintance. When you hire an attorney for your slip and fall case, we take the personal relationship out of the equation and deal with the facts. While you’ll likely be dealing with the insurance company and not your friend directly, having an attorney do that work can make the issue seem less personal.
- Knowledge and experience. When you hire an attorney for your slip and fall case, you bring the full weight of our extensive knowledge and experience with Washington injury case law to bear on an insurance company. We know the ins and outs of the business, and we can put our considerable skills to work for you.
- Reputation. Pursuing an injury claim on your own can be daunting. You’re up against an insurance company with a legal team and huge resources at their disposal, and they are well aware of how intimidating this can be. Hiring an attorney lets the insurance company know that they can’t take advantage of your lack of experience. We can take your case to trial if they won’t offer you a fair settlement.
- Estimating damages. Obtaining compensation for your slip and fall case is about making you whole again, not just covering the material losses you’ve suffered as a result of the accident. This means that damages like pain and suffering or mental anguish need to be considered when evaluating damages. We can review past cases and fall back on our experience to reach a number that covers all your losses, not just the ones you can see.
- We may be able to get you more money. There is data showing that hiring an attorney for your injury claim can both increase the chances of you obtaining a settlement or an award in court and increase the amount of compensation you obtain. A Martindale-Nolo survey from 2016 showed that those who hired an attorney for their claim were over 40% more likely to obtain compensation, and those who hired an attorney received over four times as much as those who chose to handle their claims themselves.
- Let us do the work. No one wants to spend time dealing with insurance companies, particularly not someone who has just suffered a debilitating injury after slipping and falling. When you retain legal counsel to assist with your claim, we do the hard work, so you don’t have to. We will investigate your accident, gather evidence, speak to witnesses, and take the lead in negotiating a settlement so you can concentrate on recovering from your injury.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
More often than not, a slip and fall case is a premises liability case. This means that the person responsible for maintaining a property did not properly look out for slip and fall risks, and the victim fell and was injured because of this failure. Here are some of the common causes of slip and fall accidents:
- Uneven surfaces
- Unmarked wet floors
- Icy or snowy surfaces
- Moving surfaces
- Ledges with low visibility
- Edges of carpets or other surfaces with low visibility
- Insufficient light to see the floor
- Loose carpeting
- Trash or other objects left on the floor
Any of these risks, among others, have the potential to cause an unsuspecting victim to slip and fall. In many cases, these risks appear because whoever was responsible for maintaining the property failed to notice, minimize, or eliminate them.
Injuries caused by Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents can cause injuries of many types and varying levels of severity, depending on the age and health of the victim, the distance they fell, the material of the surface, and other factors. Here are some of the serious injuries that victims can suffer when they slip and fall:
- Broken bones
- Skin abrasions
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Neck and back injuries
The older the victim is, the more at risk they are for these and other serious injuries when they slip and fall. If you have slipped and fallen and are experiencing serious pain, you should see a doctor as soon as possible, even if you do not feel the need to be rushed to the emergency room. The sooner you get treatment, the better chance of recovery you will have. You will also need medical documentation and receipts later if you wish to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party.
Proving Fault in a Slip and Fall Case in Washington State
For slip and fall cases and all other personal injury cases, Washington is a comparative negligence state. This means that under Washington law, each party will be assigned a certain percentage of fault according to what negligent actions they took that could have contributed to the accident. If the plaintiff files and wins a personal injury suit, their monetary award will be reduced by the percentage of fault they share.
For example, if a negligent property owner left a loose, moving floorboard unrepaired and an unsuspecting visitor slipped, fell, and was injured, that visitor might file a personal injury suit against the property owner and might even win. However, if the visitor was looking at their phone when they slipped and fell, the jury might decide that the property owner was 70 percent at fault and the visitor was 30 percent at fault. If the visitor otherwise would have received a $10,000 award, that award would be reduced by 30 percent to $70,000.
The Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall Cases in Washington State
The statute of limitations for slip and fall cases and all other personal injury cases in Washington State is three years. This means that from the time the accident occurred, you have three years to start taking legal action. However, this does not mean that you should wait the entire three years. The sooner you get started, the better your chance of success, as it will be easier to gather evidence and to produce medical records and other documents. If you have decided to take legal action, you should contact a Lakewood, Washington slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible.
Recovering Damages in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
The injuries resulting from a slip and fall can impact every area of your life, from your finances to your personal relationships. Fortunately, a personal injury claim can help you recover damages for many of the costs of your injuries, including:
- Medical bills
- Property repairs
- Lost wages due to time off work
- Future lost income due to injury-related disability
- Other miscellaneous costs
- Wrongful death
Whatever costs you have incurred during your recovery, an experienced Lakewood, Washington slip and fall lawyer from The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs can help you decide which damages to seek and whether to accept a settlement or continue fighting your case in court.
Recovering from a slip and fall accident can be an extremely difficult time in your life. In addition to facing a painful recovery, you may experience serious financial consequences. You don’t have to face this time alone. The Lakewood, Washington slip and fall lawyers of The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs are here to help. If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip and fall accident due to another party’s negligence in Lakewood, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup, Chehalis, or Bremerton, don’t hesitate. Call The Law Offices of Briggs & Briggs today at (253) 588-6696 for more information on how we can help.