When Negligence Causes Lasting Trauma In Tacoma
While we all like to think we are well-coordinated, anyone of us can be the victim of a bad fall, whether you live in downtown Seattle or work in the thriving tech environment of Tacoma. Sadly, many falls end with more than just a bruised ego, leading to brain damage, broken bones, and long-lasting muscle damage. The sad fact is, many accidents can be avoided if only a safety hazard was dealt with by a landlord or property owner, be it on a patch of ice in a parking lot after a bad storm on Puget Sound or a fold in an office building’s carpet.
If you suffered a slip-and-fall in the city of Tacoma because a property owner failed to fix a safety hazard, you do not deserve to bear the weight of costly medical bills without proper compensation. Reach out to the Tacoma personal injury attorneys at Pendergast Law by calling toll-free at 888-539-9211. We offer each potential client a free consultation and will not accept a dime unless we win your case.
Factors Behind Serious Falls
Most of us like to brush off non-serious falls as carelessness, but many traumatic and even fatal accidents occur because of unsafe conditions. These are often the result of poor planning on behalf of negligent property owners who did not take the time to move a piece of equipment, put up a wet floor sign, or replace the light in a dark stairwell. At the end of the day, if the hazard was known to a property owner or one of their staff, and it was not fixed or guests were not warned, they can be held liable for the injuries caused by a slip-and-fall accident.
Common forms of negligence that can contribute to a fall include, but are not limited to:
- Poorly maintained stairwells, such as missing handrails, broken lights, or steps that are too high or too low
- Hallways, entrances, or doorways that have tripping hazards, including wires or equipment
- Uneven floors with torn or raised carpets
- Floors that are slick or wet
- Parking lots, walkways, and sidewalks that are covered in ice or snow
- A lack of warning signs about hazardous conditions, such as wet paint on handrails or wet floor signs
Any one of these conditions can contribute to a damaging fall that results in a range of painful and costly injuries.
How A Fall Keeps You Off Your Feet
A fall on concrete or down a flight of stairs can lead to more than simple scrapes or bruises, especially if you fall from a great height. Depending on how and where you fell, you could be suffering from:
- Head trauma and brain injuries, either from hitting the ground or a nearby piece of furniture
- Spine injuries ranging from a slipped disc to nerve damage and paralysis
- Fractures and broken bones all throughout the body, but commonly in the arms and shoulders
- Sprain ankles, wrists, or strains in your back and neck muscles
- Deep cuts or puncture wounds that can become infected
Even for relatively minor injuries such as fractures or sprains, you will still need to take time away from work, pay for multiple medical appointments, and possibly even attend physical therapy sessions. In a short period of time, these costs can add up and make it difficult for you to continue with your career, studies, or manage a household, especially if you have dependents. A sprained wrist can be an extremely difficult situation for a single parent to deal with, and major injuries are even more damaging.
Damage to the brain or spine, if extensive enough, can lead to years of dealing with debilitating medical conditions. If your memory was affected in the fall, you may need cognitive therapy to relearn basic skills. Or, you may develop chronic migraines that require pain management therapy and medication for you to go about your daily routine. In addition, spinal cord damage can lead to partial or total paralysis of your limbs. You may need assisted living services and equipment, to change careers, and have to make adjustments to your home.
Whether your injuries were minor or extensive, you do not deserve to suffer when the accident could have been avoided altogether. If your slip-and-fall accident was the result of a negligent property owner, then you may be eligible for compensation.
Proving Tacoma Property Owners Are At Fault
When we enter a building or parking lot in Tacoma, we don’t expect to suffer a serious slip-and-fall. Much like in Seattle, Tacoma is home to thriving tech and communication businesses that utilize chic, modern office designs. As such, we expect most buildings to be free of building violations and safety hazards, but some still slip under the radar and result in serious fall accidents.
While pursuing a premises liability claim after a fall, you will need to demonstrate liability and negligence on the part of the property owner. To do that, you must first establish that the property owner was legally required to provide a safe environment for you. If you are a guest, visitor, or tenant, you can naturally expect the property owner, or their property manager, to prevent safety hazards and fix them in a timely manner.
However, not all slip-and-fall cases are justified in the state of Washington. While property owners should fix safety hazards or place warning signs to protect guests, they can only do that if they are aware of the issue. If someone recently spilled their coffee in a doorway and you slipped on it before the custodial staff was made aware of it, then the property owner could not be expected to pay for your damages.
To demonstrate that they were aware of a safety hazard, a premises liability attorney could utilize safety inspections, maintenance reports, requests from residents for cleanups or repairs, and citations from the city of Tacoma. Witness statements and surveillance footage can also help demonstrate that there was a clear hazard that needed to be fixed.
Lastly, a premises liability claim must include damages that you suffered due to the property owner’s negligence. If you were put out of work because of your injury or, in tragic cases, were left disabled as a result of the accident, your compensation could include all related medical expenses, lost wages if you are out of work or have to change careers, and mobility equipment you might need.
Advocating For Compensation After A Serious Fall
Most people do not like to make a big deal about a slip-and-fall, especially if the injuries were minor, and often attribute it to clumsiness. For the hardworking people of Tacoma, you don’t want to make a big deal about a fall and would prefer to get back to your job. Sadly, many serious injuries do not present themselves immediately, such as brain trauma, spinal cord damage, and soft tissue injuries. In addition, many victims are not even sure if they have a case or who caused their injury.
But that is where the Tacoma slip-and-fall accident attorneys at Pendergast Law can be of service. We have been providing legal representation and counsel to residents of Tacoma for over four decades and have the necessary experience to investigate your accident. If you suffered a slip-and-fall because of someone else’s carelessness, contact us at toll-free at 888-539-9211 to schedule a free consultation and learn what options are available to you.