By Pendergast Law on July 5, 2016
Slip and fall accidents are occurrences that can happen anywhere. Often these are serious injuries. In fact, each year 8 million people visit hospital emergency rooms because of slip, trip, and fall injuries. If you have been injured in a slip, trip, and fall accident, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries.
The first step to recovering damages from an accident is to get medical care. Obtaining records from your health care provider gives you evidence of injuries and recovery costs. A record of injuries and financial damages can help prove the impact of the accident. The records you may need are medical reports, medical expenses, and records of lost wages. You should gather accounts of the incident from witness testimony, employees of the business where the accident happened, and medical professionals. Pictures of the accident scene can show the judge and jury to see the conditions of where the accident occurred.
Liability for a Slip, Trip, or Fall on a Seattle Sidewalk
In Washington State, liability depends on several factors. Liability rests on plaintiff responsibility, owner responsibility, and age of the plaintiff. With some cases, owners are not responsible if the plaintiff acted in an unsafe or irresponsible manner. For example, if a plaintiff was drunk or otherwise intoxicated, then he or she was acting in a manner in disregard for whatever safety hazards were present despite owner precautions. Similarly, a plaintiff who was trespassing does not have any legal grounds for bringing a lawsuit because the trespasser was in the area illegally.
All Seattle property owners have legal obligations to maintain their properties. There are differences, however, as to liability if the accident occurred on private, retail, or municipal property. With private property, it is the duty of the owner to make sure the property is safe, but there is no obligation to maintain public sidewalks. Usually it is the obligation of cities to maintain public sidewalks.
Exceptions to this obligation are when a private landowner’s property, such as a driveway, goes over a public sidewalk. An owner of land adjacent to a public sidewalk can also have an obligation if artificial conditions such as tree roots extending to the public sidewalk create a hazard. Natural hazards can cause legal obligations, depending on circumstances. A landowner does not have the obligation to clear snow and ice from public sidewalks, but does have the obligation to keep snow from piling up so that it makes the public sidewalk dangerous.