Vancouver Trip and Fall Attorneys
Did you suffer an injury in a slip and fall accident?
Did you know the property owner could be held liable in certain situations? This is why you should consider taking legal action to recover compensation for the damages you suffered. Our Vancouver slip and fall attorneys are well-versed in state law and court rulings on property owner liability for these kinds of accidents. When you meet with us for a free consultation we can review your accident to determine if you may have a case and have a chance at obtaining compensation. We can explain the damages you may be owed and how we can go about pursuing them. The advantage to working with one of our attorneys is that we can manage the entire case on your behalf. This means we can negotiate for compensation, file legal documents, investigate and deal with every other aspect of the process. Throughout the process, we will keep you informed of our progress and anything you might be able to do to help us. Other than that, we want you focused on recovering from your accident.
We take slip and fall cases on contingency, this means our fee is contingent on you being compensated. If there is no compensation, there is no fee. People are often afraid to contact an attorney because they fear it costs too much, but you do not have to worry about that. We take cases involving trip and fall accidents in Vancouver and surrounding areas in Clark County.
Basics About Slip and Fall Accidents
These types of accidents can occur in so many different locations, including public and private facilities, recreational areas and even other people's houses. Some common locations for slip and fall accidents include:
- Swimming pools
- Public parks
- Shopping malls
- Retail stores
- Big-box retail stores
- Grocery stores
- Parking lots
- Public walkways
- Sports venues
- Concert venues
- Grass walkways
Some of the fall hazards in these locations could include:
- Cracks in concrete
- Lack of a railing on a staircase
- Malfunctioning escalator
- Wet or slippery floors
- Loose gravel
- Poor lighting
- Damaged carpeting
- Merchandise in the aisles of a store
- Damaged floor tiles
- Uneven or unstable ground
- Falling ceiling tiles
- Stores shelves with too much stuff on them
These and other hazards can cause visitors to the property to slip, trip or fall and suffer severe injuries, ranging from broken bones to traumatic brain injuries. Serious injuries are particularly likely if the victim falls onto a hard surface, like asphalt or concrete, or if he or she falls from high up off the ground, such as down or off a staircase.
Property owners have a legal obligation to ensure their property is safe for visitors. If they do not take the appropriate steps to deal with hazards or warn guests about them, they could potentially be held liable for the damages that result, from medical expenses to pain and suffering.
Rizk Law's Vancouver slip and fall attorneys have detailed knowledge of state laws governing these cases and how to prove a property owner is liable for your injuries. We also know how to gather evidence in these cases to help prove your injuries could not have been avoided.
Building a Slip and Fall Case
If you suffer a slip and fall injury, you should try to collect evidence at the scene. This includes pictures and notes on your account of what happened. However, you may be too seriously injured to be able to collect evidence.
If that is the case, you need to focus on treating your injuries and getting medical attention from doctors. However, if you are with someone, such as friend or family member, you could ask him or her to take pictures and write down notes on what happened.
You should also inform the property owner so he or she can complete an accident report on the situation. Completing this report right after the accident is a good idea because your memory is still fresh. If you try to do it later, you might forget something, and this might also help the at-fault party - the insurance company for the at-fault party or his or her attorneys may try to argue that you do not remember things accurately because the report was filled out days after the accident.
The accident report is a crucial piece of evidence because it is an official record of what happened. Ask the property owner for a copy to provide to your attorney. The other crucial piece of evidence is your medical records for the treatment of your injuries. These help to link your injuries to the accident in question, which is a key element of proving negligence in a slip and fall case.
After you receive treatment and your injuries have been stabilized, you should give serious thought to reaching out to an attorney. It costs you nothing to discuss the accident with our Vancouver personal injury lawyers. We can explain if we think you have a case and the forms of compensation you may be entitled. You can decide if you want to go forward with legal action against the property owner.
Most personal injury cases, including slip and fall cases, center around the legal theory of negligence. This essentially means someone else is at-fault for your injury because this other person or entity did not take reasonable steps to help prevent you from suffering an injury.
However, slip and fall cases are somewhat unique because the property owner's legal obligations are based on your legal status when you entered the property. Washington State recognizes three main legal statuses for visitors to a property:
There are two kinds of invitees: business visitors and public invitees. Business visitors are people invited to enter or stay on property for a purpose that is directly or indirectly connected to the business dealings of the owner. A common example of a business visitor is someone who enters a retail store. Public invitees enter a property because of an express or implied invitation for a purpose for which the land is kept open to the public. When you enter a public park or walk on a public sidewalk, you are likely considered an invitee.
Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees. They must use reasonable care to discover and deal with dangerous conditions on the property. In order for a property owner to be held liable for injuries to an invitee, you must prove these three things:
- The owner knew or should have known the condition created an unreasonable risk of harm
- The owner could not have a reasonable expectation that the invitee would have recognized the risk
- The owner did not make the condition reasonably safe or provide warning to the invitee
Reasonable care could include cleaning up a spill or providing fair warning to visitors about it to help prevent them from suffering an injury. On public property, there might be a duty to fix cracks or uneven parts of a sidewalk.
However, under Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 4.24.210, owners of land or water areas used for recreation cannot be held liable for unintentional injuries, provided the owners do not charge a fee of any kind for using the land. However, there may be exceptions to this immunity from liability. If the owner knows about a dangerous condition that is not readily apparent to the invitee, and it causes injury, the owner could potentially be held liable.
These are people who enter property but not for a business purpose. When you go to a friend's house as a social guest, you are a licensee. The owner of the property has a lower duty of care to you than to an invitee. He or she cannot willfully cause you injury or fail to warn you about hidden dangers he or she knows about. For example, if the carpet is unstable or there are trip hazards, he or she should warn you about it if you are unlikely to know about it.
When you enter a property without permission, you are trespassing. You essentially assume the risk of injury when you enter a property illegally. You will have a hard time recovering compensation for your injuries. The property owner does not have to take precautions to help ensure your safety because he or she does not expect you to be there.
However, if the property owner tries to intentionally injure you while on the property, it may be possible for him or her to be held liable for your injuries.
Proving liability for a slip and fall injury is complicated. Determining your legal status may not be too hard, but determining the duty of care owed to you will be. These cases require a careful analysis of the facts, state laws, and court precedent. Our Vancouver slip and fall attorneys have in-depth knowledge of these aspects of slip and fall cases.
Contact Rizk Law right now by calling us at 503.245.5677.
Contact a Vancouver Slip and Fall Attorney
For some people, slip and fall accidents do not sound that bad. However, victims know this is often not the case, when they are suffering from spinal cord damage, brain injuries and severe fractures. They are in for a long recovery that will be quite expensive.
This is why victims often turn to experienced legal help in these situations. The experienced Vancouver slip and fall attorneys at Rizk Law are prepared to pursue fair compensation, particularly when insurance companies and at-fault parties are trying to avoid legal responsibility.
Schedule your free legal consultation to determine how you may be able to move forward. There is no obligation on you to file a lawsuit or do anything else after meeting with us. This is just a chance to talk about what happened and what we might be able to do for you.
If you want to pursue a case, you will not be assessed attorney fees unless you receive compensation at the end of the legal process.
Call 503.245.5677 today to see how we might be able to help you.