Can You Sue the City Of Seattle If You Slipped And Fell On A Sidewalk?
If you recently slipped and fell on a sidewalk in the city of Seattle, Washington, you may be wondering if you can sue the city for your injuries. The answer depends on whether or not the city was negligent.
Contact our Seattle sidewalk slip and fall lawyers at Emerald Law Group to discuss the circumstances surrounding your accident and determine if you can sue the city of Seattle for your injury. Our knowledgeable lawyers will help you navigate the claims process from start to finish to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
How Negligence Applies in Slip and Fall Cases
In order to successfully sue the city of Seattle for a slip and fall accident, you must be able to prove that they were negligent in their upkeep of the sidewalk. Negligence is defined as an unintentional tort (a civil wrong) that occurs when an individual or entity fails to act with reasonable care and causes another person harm. When it comes to slip and fall accidents, negligence can include failure to properly maintain the sidewalks, failure to warn people of potential hazards, or failure to repair hazardous conditions in a timely manner.
Special Use vs. Special Relationship
In slip and fall cases involving public entities such as cities or townships, plaintiffs must be able to establish that there was “special use” or “special relationship” between them and the defendant. This means that special circumstances exist which make it more likely than not that the defendant should have been aware of hazardous conditions on the sidewalk, which could lead to an injury.
For example, if a city employee has previously visited the area where an individual fell but failed to take any action regarding hazardous conditions present, then this would be considered special use or special relationship.
Additionally, if there are records indicating that there were multiple complaints about dangerous conditions on a particular sidewalk before an individual fell there, then this might also qualify as a special use/relationship.
The Injured Party’s Carelessness
Plaintiffs must also prove that they did not contribute to their own injury by being careless themselves while walking on the sidewalk. This includes proving that they were paying attention (not looking at their phone) while walking and avoiding any known hazards (e.g., potholes). If they are unable to do so, then they may not be able to pursue legal action against the city of Seattle for their injuries sustained from a slip and fall accident on one of its sidewalks.
How to File a Claim Against the City of Seattle?
Under RCW § 4.96.020, all claims against government entities in Washington, including government employees, must be filed within applicable statutes of limitations. Like other municipalities in Washington, the city of Seattle sets forth notice requirements for claims filed against the city. It is critical to follow these rules to ensure that your claim for damages is not dismissed. Speak with a knowledgeable attorney to learn more about the notice requirements and the statute of limitations.
Contact Emerald Law Group for Legal Counsel
Slip and fall accidents can cause serious physical damage as well as emotional trauma, depending on how severe your injuries are following such incidents. As such, if you recently suffered from an accident due to dangerous conditions found on a sidewalk owned by the city of Seattle, then it is vital for you to understand what factors need to be established to successfully sue the city for your damages.
Contact our sidewalk slip and fall lawyers at Emerald Law Group for legal guidance and assistance with your claim. Call 206-823-0792 to schedule a free consultation.