Injuries That You Cannot Simply Walk Off
Most people have felt the sheer terror of a potentially bad fall, whether you’ve tried to find your footing on a slick floor or stumbled climbing up a dark stairwell. While some of us are able to catch ourselves or only suffer a small scrape or slight embarrassment, others are not so lucky. A poorly installed carpet can cause you to crack your head on nearby furniture, break your wrist as you try to stop the fall, or sprain your back. For the elderly, injuries like these can be dangerous, causing serious complications, long recovery times and an incredible amount of pain.
While most residents of Renton may doubt they will ever suffer a bad fall, slip-and-falls are one of the most common accidents that can occur. We like to attribute it to clumsiness or bad luck, but it is often the result of careless property owners. In addition to painful injuries, a fall can easily take you out of work for some time and result in costly medical bills, adding more stress to an already difficult situation. If your fall could have been avoided if someone were paying more attention or cleaned up a spill, you’d justifiably feel pretty angry.
That is where the Renton personal injury attorneys at Pendergast Law can step in and provide sound legal advice. We offer free consultations to all accident victims to determine who caused your injuries, what costs you have had to deal with, and if you can pursue proper compensation. Call us toll-free at 888-539-9211 to learn more with a free consultation.
Devastation After A Fall
Falls are so common that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has calculated that they are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries and one in five results in painful injuries. Among the various injuries you can suffer in a slip-and-fall, the most devastating are:
- Head trauma, skull fractures and brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage, including slipped disks, bruised nerves, or even paralysis if sections of the neck are damaged
- Damage to the nerves in your shoulder or even dislocation of the shoulder joint
- Broken bones, including wrists, ankles and hips
- Serious lacerations if you collide with a sharp or rough surface, such as the edges of steps
- Sprains and strains that result in chronic pain or limited mobility for an extended period of time
High-impact falls can also result in death, either due to the initial collision with the ground or due to complications in the hours afterward.
In the short-term, you may need long periods of rest and physical therapy to correct the damage, but even this comes with expensive medical bills, lost wages and stress as you try to move on from the accident. For the hardworking residents of Renton, a month out of work can upturn your entire life, making it hard for you to take care of your family, plan for the future, or move up in your career.
The more catastrophic injuries add more weight to your burdens, requiring corrective surgery, extensive physical therapy and even assisted living equipment, such as in the cases of paralysis or other disabilities. You may have to change careers, especially if you suffer serious head trauma that affects your cognitive functions, which can be an extremely difficult shift to your life.
In cases where the fall resulted in the death of a loved one, the trauma is deeper than any physical pain. The emotional and financial tolls of funerals can be heartbreaking. Furthermore, you now have to find a way to deal with the remaining medical bills or figure out how to maintain your household’s income.
Bottom line, many falls go beyond everyday tumbles and often leave victims and their families dealing with life-changing consequences. This is especially troubling when the accident could have been avoided altogether.
Negligence That Contributes To Falls
Renton is home to a thriving business community, offering spaces to new retail stores, startup offices and manufacturing companies. As such, these buildings are expected to provide safe conditions for workers, guests and consumers. However, either to increase profit margins or to avoid costly construction work, all places of business can have potential risks that lead to slip and fall accidents. In some cases, it can be as simple as a custodian failing to put up a wet floor sign. Other times, it’s a poorly lit stairwell or an electrical cord that is stretched across a room. Sadly, each of these conditions can result in serious accidents.
Weather and the time of year can also play a factor. During winter, parking lots and sidewalks can get icy around Renton, which can easily contribute to multiple slip and falls. Most paths are sanded and salted by the city, such as busy routes along NE 4th Street, Carr Road, Benson Road and school routes, but many parking lots are the responsibility of property owners. If a landlord doesn’t schedule a de-icing in a timely manner, residents and visitors can experience serious slip and falls, breaking bones or suffering brain trauma when they collide with hard concrete.
Other conditions that can contribute to a slip-and-fall in Renton include:
- Broken or missing handrails
- Poorly designed staircases with high or low steps
- Equipment blocking a pathway
- Damaged carpets or floors that create tripping hazards
- Wet or slick surfaces
At the end of the days, these conditions can be fixed by an attentive property owner who warns guests of safety concerns and hires the necessary parties to fix the hazards, but when they fail to do so it can lead to debilitating injuries.
Holding Property Owners At Fault
Property owners are required to maximize the safety of all guests, visitors, residents or workers; otherwise, they can be held liable for injuries caused due to safety hazards. However, to win a premises liability claim, your attorney must prove additional factors.
First, the property owner must be aware of the unsafe conditions. While they are expected to perform routine inspections, some issues may not be immediately apparent. If no one notified a landlord that a stairwell light was out or it only went out shortly before an accident occurred, it can be difficult to hold them accountable for the hazard.
However, if a property owner did know about a safety risk, such as a spill at a restaurant or a shallow step into a shop, then they are expected to fix the issue in a timely manner. When they fail to do so and a guest or resident falls, they could be held liable for any injuries sustained.
Injuries are also necessary to file a claim against a property owner. If your fall only resulted in a small bruise or scrape that didn’t require medical treatment, the property owner cannot be expected to pay you solely for a minor inconvenience. But, if you did require medical attention, then you would have the basis for a premises liability claim, or a claim against a property owner for injuries.
There is one last element that must be considered to make a case for a slip and fall accident. In addition to suffering a medical injury, you must also have suffered damages, or financial costs. Primarily your claim will be to recover the cost of medical treatment, assisted living equipment and lost wages if you have to take time off work to heal. Alongside the financial costs, you may also recover noneconomic damages, or personal costs that do not have a bill attached to them. This can include pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and mental trauma.
Holding a property owner accountable for a slip and fall accident requires more than just liability, however. You will need evidence and an experienced attorney at your side to ensure the property owner’s insurance company provide the proper compensation you need to recover. We can assist in collecting witness statements, reviewing surveillance footage, analyzing maintenance and inspection reports, and determining if the property has any safety citations from the city. Once we have built a strong case on your behalf, we can go to work negotiating for a fair compensation offer.
Advocating For Proper Compensation
No one in Renton wants to go into a premises liability claim lightly, especially if you are injured at your favorite shop or restaurant. You may know the owners or the staff and have been going there for years before the accident took place. Now that you are injured, you are looking at all your options to cover the costs of medical bills and fully recover, and the last thing you want to do is to sue a neighbor, friend, or acquaintance.
While liability insurance is not required for Washington businesses, it is required to apply for licenses and sign contracts with some business partners, employees, and landlords. As such, many small businesses and large corporations have some form of liability insurance in cases of bodily injury. If your injury falls under that policy, your case will be with the insurance company, not necessarily the property owner, and you would not be forced to file a lawsuit against your friend or neighbor.
More importantly, you should not have to stress over a premise’s liability claim. Instead, you should be focusing on getting treatment and healing so you can take care of your family and future. At Pendergast Law, our Renton slip-and-fall accident attorneys are well-versed in dealing with insurance companies, from their underhanded tactics to negotiating for proper compensation. Let us take care of the legal matters and focus on getting you the money you deserve. Reach out to us toll-free at 888-539-9211 to begin a thorough review of your case.