Tacoma Slip & Fall Lawyer
Have you ever been shopping at the store when you suddenly slip on the floor and fall? While some of these accidents are nobody’s fault, in many cases they are the result of negligence on the part of the store’s ownership and management. For instance, if you slipped on a puddle of water that had been sitting there for some time, the store could be found negligent for not properly inspecting its aisles and cleaning up the spill.
A Tacoma slip & fall lawyer can review your accident and advise you of your potential right to seek compensation. Washington property owners can–and should–be held responsible for preventable accidents that injured invited guests on their property. At Emerald Law Group, we help slip and fall victims seek compensation for their medical bills, lost income, and other damages arising from their accident.
Washington’s Comparative Negligence Rules Can Affect Your Right to Compensation
A common question we get is, “Are store owners always liable for slip and fall accidents on their property?” The answer is “no.” The laws governing slip and falls are actually quite complicated, so whether an owner is responsible for a particular accident will heavily depend on the facts of a given case.
Basically, a property owner has a legal duty to keep their premises in reasonably safe condition for invited guests. So if a store is open to the public, it must ensure that any areas open to the public during normal business hours are kept clear of any hazards that might reasonably lead to a slip and fall. This includes warning customers of potential hazards–e.g., placing a “Wet Floor” sign near a puddle of water–and taking reasonable care in any adjacent spaces under the owner’s control, such as a parking lot or sidewalk.
At the same time, a property owner may defend against a slip and fall claim by trying to shift blame to the victim. Washington follows a “comparative negligence” rule in personal injury cases. This means that if a slip and fall case goes to court, the judge or jury must decide the relative fault of each party for the accident. If the court decides the slip and fall victim’s own actions contributed to the accident, their right to receive damages is reduced accordingly.
For example, say the store argues that the victim was “not paying attention to where they were going” and ignored a “Wet Floor” sign. A jury might decide that the victim was 40 percent responsible for their slip and fall accident. Any final award of damages would then be reduced by 40 percent. Because Washington follows a “pure” comparative negligence rule, however, the victim could still recover something so long as the store owner shared in some of the fault.
Contact Emerald Law Group Today
Many slip and fall cases are resolved by filing a claim with the store or property owner’s insurance company. But even there it is still in your best interest to work with an experienced Tacoma slip and fall accident lawyer who understands how to deal with insurance companies and negotiate the best possible settlement. So if you need to speak with an attorney right away, contact Emerald Law Group to schedule a free initial consultation.