Personal Injury Attorney Kent WA

Slip & Fall Attorney Kent WA

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Personal Injury Attorney
Kent WA

Law Offices of Mark McClure
1103 W Meeker St #101, Kent WA 98032
 
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Slip & Fall Attorney Kent WA


Falls and Slips


Accidents that are caused as the result of falls, trips, and slips can happen anywhere. However, they are more common in public places, including stairways, parking lots, sidewalks, hotels, department stores, and supermarkets. There are many reasons for hall and slip accidents, such as obstacles on walking surfaces, uneven sidewalks, missing handrails, inadequate lighting, or snow or ice on parking lots. All of these can cause a parson to fall or slip.

More than 8 million hospital room visits are accounted to falls each year, according to the CDC (Center of Disease Prevention Control, and there are more than one million fall and slip accidents in the emergency room each year. About one half of these hospital visits are by children under the age of 10 years old. It is estimated by the CDC that due to fall and slip accidents between 20% and 30% of people sustain moderate to severe injuries, including hip and spine injuries, fractures of the lower and upper in addition to head injuries that can reduce the ability of a person to lead an independent, active and can also diminish mobility.

Statistics for fall, trip, and slip, accidents
  • The number one cause of accidents in public buildings, restaurants, hotels, and the home are falls, trips, or slips. About 16% occurred on escalators or stairs, while 70% occurred on level and flat surfaces.
  • The leading cause of death in the construction industry is falls. Out of 774 total fatalities in the construction industry, there were 264 fall fatalities, of which 255 of these falls were to a lower level.
  • Flooring materials and floors directly contribute to over 2 million fall injuries each year, according to the Consumer Product Commission.
  • Fall trip, and slip accidents account for over 21 fatalities every year and more than 300, 000 accidents in the United States.
  • After automobile accidents, fall, trip, and slip accidents are the second leading cause of accidental disability and death.
  • Over 42% of all falling deaths are the result from a fall from steps, or stairs. Over 86,000 injuries that are related to falls each year are caused by pets.
  • Fall fatalities are almost equally divided between women and men, however, more non-fatal injuries are experienced by women.
  • Each year, about 9,500 deaths in elder Americans are associated with falls. About 75% if the deaths from falls are from the elderly. 75% of deaths from falls.
  • Fall and slip accidents account for about 45% of the general liability claims.
  • It is estimated that fall and slip injuries cost about $100 every day, which included working compensation claims of more than $1.8 billion every year.

After a fall, trip, or slip accident


Anybody who has been involved in a fall, trip, or slip accident should:
  • Obtain medical attention quickly for your injuries, even for minor pain. It isn't uncommon for injuries to the soft tissues to develop or one or two days after s fall, trip, or slip accident.
  • Never make any statements to the occupier or the property owner with regards to physical condition following a fall, trip, or slip accident.
  • You need to obtain the full name, address, and phone number of both the person occupying or renting the premises in the case of a premises fall, trip, or slip or liability accident.
  • You should collect the information of the business liability insurance company from the property owner or the homeowner.
  • Obtain the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of from any witnesses.
  • If possible you should take pictures of the defect or object that caused your fall, trip, or slip accident as well as the area surrounding those defects or objects with your cell phone camera.
  • Report the accident to the facility manager of the hotel, store, or other business.
  • Never agree to give a recorded statement or sign any written statement without your attorney present.

The Need for an Attorney


It is in your best interest to consult an attorney whenever you have been a victim of a fall, trip, or slip accident. Property owners are frequently willing to take responsibility after an accident has occurred on their premises. The problem is that the property owners are seldom the person you deal with. The primary parties who are responsible for your injuries after determining liability are usually insurance companies. It can be very difficult to deal with insurance professionals, such as adjusters and other insurance representatives. Attorneys, adjusters, and investigators are used by all insurance companies. The objective of these insurance professionals is to limit the amount of money that they pay to injured people who are victims of negligent owners or landlords and make sure that the bottom line of the profits for the insurance company is maximized.

Frequently, it can mean the difference between being denied the funding required to cover your expenses, such as lost wages, and medical bills or having your claim rejected and receiving the compensation that you deserve by having an experienced fall, trip, and slip attorney to assist you through the claims process. For the reasons stated above, you shouldn't sign any insurance documentation, provide a written statement or a recorded statement without first consulting an attorney, or, preferably having your attorney present.

The Law Office of Mark McClure will relieve you of the burden of dealing with the consequences of a fall, trip, or slip accident alone and answer any questions that you might have. Some of the numerous services that we provide you include:
  • Negotiating a fail settlement for your clam and conducting all communications with the representative of the insurance company.
  • Immediately conduct an investigation in order to preserve relevant evidence before it is altered or lost and locate witnesses if required.
  • Locate all potential sources of funding to compensate you for your losses, such as a government entity, manufacturer, or property owner.
  • Collect all documentation to support you injury claim including wage loss information and all medical records.
  • Skillfully navigate your case through the difficulties of the court system and provide the required legal base(s) for your claim.
  • Ensure that all filing deadlines are met and aggressively protect your interests.

Classification/Fall Categories


Injury specialists such as the CDC classify falls into two basic categories. One is elevated falls and the other is same level falls. Although elevated falls result in more severe injuries, same level falls occur more often.

Falls on the Same Level


Step and fall, trip and fall, and slip and fall accidents are all considered same level falls. A step and fall accident usually occurs whenever a person's body is too far off balance. A trip and fall accident usually occurs whenever a person is falling forward. A slip and fall accident usually occurs whenever a person is falling backwards
  1. The step and fall accidents occur when the person misjudges the distance and the front foot lands on a surface lower than expected, such as when a person steps down or forward and the outside or inside foot lands on an object such as a rock or a small toy, which causes the ankle to twist or when a person steps over a curb in the dark or steps down from a step stool also causing the person's ankle to twist.
  2. Slip and fall accidents occur when there is insufficient friction or traction between the walking surface and the soles of your shoe. Slips are mainly the result of a slippery surface such as oily, icy, or wet walking surfaces and can be made worse by the selection of footwear. Freshly mopped floors and icy surfaces offer low traction, while dry concrete sidewalks offer good traction. In addition , shoes that have smooth leather soles and those with minimum heel to surface contact, such as high heeled don't provide much traction. However, low heeled or flat footwear that have soft rubber soles will provide much better traction. Not wearing any footwear can prevent a fall whenever walking on a very slippery surface.
  3. The trip and fall accidents usually occur when the foot in front hits an object and is stopped suddenly, which causes the upper body to be thrown forward that results in a fall. Objects such as electrical cords that are lying across the walking surface, loose area rugs, a small difference in the height of the steps can all cause trip and fall accidents.

Elevated Falls


Although elevated falls are general more severe than same level falls, they usually occur less often. 60% of all elevated falls occur at heights that are no more than 10 feet. Most of these falls are due to a loss of balance.

Falls are the second leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States, after auto accidents and are quite prevalent in the construction industry. Raised surfaces are the primary location where elevated fall accidents occur. Falls from elevated surfaces, such as roofs and scaffolding, ladders, step stools, elevators and stairways are the most common causes of injury to adults due to elevated falls. Falls from step stools, furniture, playground equipment, and stairways are the leading causes of injury to children. Falls out of open windows or from balconies do occur, although not nearly as many.

How to Prevent Fall, Trip, and Slip Accidents


Regardless of their age, everybody can be at serious risk of injury as the result of fall, trip, and slip accidents. However, you can reduce or avoid risk of being injured in a fall accident by these fall prevention measures:
  • Use care whenever you are walking on surfaces that are difficult to maintain your footing and pay close attention to the condition of the walking surface and look for obstacles in the walkway, uneven, waxed, icy, and wet surfaces.
  • Avoid descending/ascending stairways with slip on slippers or shoes that have slippery smooth soles or in your stocking feet.
  • Always use handrails on stairways and steps and turn the lighting on.
  • Walk carefully when wearing footwear that have hard, smooth shoes or high heeled shoes and wear footwear that is slip resistant.
  • Remain focused on what you are doing and avoid distractions.
  • Never use a barrel, box, or chair as a ladder.
  • Avoid areas that are posted with danger or warning signs.

Determining Liability/Fault


Under some conditions the courts can hold government entities, management companies, landlords, and those that are occupying the property responsible for injuries and accidents that occur on property that they own or control. Premises liability is the name of this area of law. The most common kind of premises liability are fall, trip, and slip accidents.

In the determination of liability, the court will focus on the condition of the property and the legal status of the injured person. The court will also focus on the actions and activities of both the property owner and the visitor. The duty of the property owner is different depending on the visitor. People who are on the property lawfully, such as social guests, licensees, and invitees are provided with greater protection than those who are illegally on the property like trespassers.

The Legal Status of Visitors as trespassers, Licensees, or Invitees

  • A trespasser is a person who enters the property without the consent of the owner without any right to do so.
  • A licensee is a person who enters property as a social guest or for his/her own purpose. In either case, a licensee has the consent of the property owner to be on the property.
  • Anybody who is invited on the property is an invitee. Among others, a guest to a house party, patrons of restaurants, and customers in stores are all examples of invitees. There is an assumption that the party that controls the house, restaurant, or property has taken action to help make sure that the people will be safe while on the property and those actions have been reasonable. That action only has to be reasonable.
A licensee enters property for his or her own purpose; or, they have entered the property as a social guest. Either way, a licensee is on the property with the consent of the property owner.

A trespasser enters the property without any right to do so and without the owner's consent.

Types of Activities and Property Condition


With regard to their safety both licensees and invitees have the same expectation of the law and are treated the same. The expected standard of care is the person who controls the property or the owner exercises reasonable care to make sure of the lawful visitor's safety. The person who controls the property or the owner is obligated to inspect the property regularly and look for conditions that are dangerous in order to comply with this standard of reasonableness. However, the outside and the inside of the building needs to be examined for these dangerous conditions and warnings about these conditions posted or repairs should be made to these conditions. The property owner who knows about these dangerous conditions and fails to warn visitors or repair the problem can likely be found liable. The owner who is determined to be liable for to exercise reasonable care and thereby negligent would then be responsible for making financial restitution to the injured party.

It isn't uncommon for rainwater to accumulate close to outside entranceways, or for people to spill or drop things. The law doesn't require property owners or their employees to correct dangerous conditions immediately, as they are permitted reasonable time to warn patrons or visitors of the potential hazards, or to discover and repair the potential hazards.

The law considers if the owner makes through and regular efforts to maintain the walking surfaces free from snow, ice, debris, and spills by performing daily, regular maintenance inspections, especially in areas that are accessible to the public and keeping the property safe when determining the owner's reasonableness. Whenever falls do occur, owners or their employees can be held responsible, and are otherwise negligent in the upkeep of their property or who fail to make regular inspections.

Negligence


There must be negligence and that negligence has to be the cause of the accident in order to hold a government entity like the state or city or the property owner liable for your injuries as in nearly every personal injury case. You must prove all four elements of negligence in order to be successful.

Elements of Negligence


The occupier or owner must have owed you a duty of care. Usually, in order to protect others from harm people have a duty to act reasonably, which is the basic principal underlying the duty of care. The duty of care for a property owner is determined by the relationship the property owner has with the injured person. For example, an unexpected trespasser has a much less duty of care than a business owner.

A breach of duty will occur whenever the owner or an employee should have known or knows that a dangerous condition exists since any reasonable person would have identified the dangerous condition and had sufficient opportunity to correct the problem prior to the accident occurring in slip and fall negligence cases.

Arguably, the most difficult and most critical part of the case is having to prove causation. In order to be held accountable, there has to be evidence that the owner of the property is legally responsible for your injuries to prove causation. The defendant can't be held liable in court without evidence that your injuries are related to the breach of duty by that defendant.

In order to recover, the owners or their employees conduct must have actually caused the injury. Cause in fact is established by evidence that demonstrates that the action or inaction by a property owner was the direct cause of the injury. In other words the injury would have occurred but for the negligent conduct. It has to be demonstrated that the negligent action or inaction of the person is a considerable factor involved in the injury, whenever more than one factor occurs prior to the injury.

The idea of foreseeability is behind the proximate cause concept. There is liability for the resulting damages, if the resulting harm should have been foreseen with regards to a negligent act or accident. However, liability doesn't exist because proximate causation doesn't exist if the person might not have reasonably foreseen that their inaction or action would cause the hazard or the harm.

There must be what is known as a causal connection made between the negligent conduct and the harm for your damages and injuries to be compensated for. Where there are many different factors existing, this might be somewhat difficult. For those who have preexisting conditions, causation might be problematic. In order for the defendant to be found legally responsible, you have to that this accident aggravated your preexisting condition.

You must have suffered damages such as an injury. The breach of the duty of care by the defendant can result in damages. Verified documentation including wage loss statements from your employer and medical bill statements can result in damages.

(Fault) Comparative Negligence


The actions of the injured party are at issue to determine if the carelessness of another person contributed to the accident in nearly all fall, trip or slip cases. The failure of an individual to exercise due caution or reasonable car might make recovery impossible or reduce the recovery.

The state of Washington has a system of comparative negligence, which means that you will be compensated depending on what contribution you made to the accident. Therefore, if you were 30% responsible for a fall, trip, and slip accident, the damages awarded to you will be reduced to 30%. For instance, if you were awarded damages of $90,000, you would be compensated for $60,00 or 70% of your damages. .

Some common situations when comparative fault might be attributed to you can include:
  • Acting in any way that will make you more likely to fall, such as jumping, running, or walking too fast.
  • Not paying attention to where you are going by being distracted.
  • Carrying heavy objects or material that obstructed your view.
  • Failure to use stairway handrails.
  • Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications because these medications might result in drowsiness or dizziness.
  • Wearing footwear that is improper.
  • Having a eye prescription that is outdated or failing to wear prescription eyewear.
  • Wearing sunglasses in areas of low light. Ignoring or failing to notice visible warning signs that the region might be dangerous.

Damages Awarded in Fall, Trip, and Slip Cases


Compensatory damages are designed to restore the victim physically, emotionally, and financially and to place the victim of an accident in a position which that would have been in had the accident never happened. Compensatory damages consist of money losses known as special damages, while nonfinancial losses are known as general damages.

Special Damages Explained


An injured person can usually recover for medical expenses associated with physical therapy, prescription medication, diagnostic studies, physician visits, hospitalization ,and emergency room care. The injured party might also recover expenses associated with artificial limbs, permanent housing in a nursing home, and a wheelchair in addition to future medical care that you might require.

If you are unable to work as the result of your injuries caused by the accident, you are also entitled to recover lost wages. You might not ever be able to work again or you might be unable to return to your particular job should your injuries be disabling and permanent. Your ability to earn might be impacted indefinitely or temporarily if you have suffered long term injuries.

Your attorney will find and put together and team of economic experts. These experts will provide their opinions with regards to the amount of the anticipated losses will probably be in order for them to take that into consideration when a claim is made.

Normal household and family tasks that you wouldn't have had if you hadn't been injured, such as daycare, a gardener, and a housekeeper are frequently overlooked source of recovery for those expenses.

General Damages Explained


A fall, trip, and slip accident that results your injury might allow you to recover for loss of consortium, loss of the enjoyment of life, emotional distress, mental anguish, and pain and suffering. However, pain and suffering is frequently confused with emotional distress and mental anguish and they aren't the same thing. Mental anguish is associated with mental suffering, grief, shock, anxiety, and fear, while pain and suffering is associated with physical injury or direct pain that frequently results from a traumatic accident.

As a result of your injury, you might endure psychological, physical , and emotional loss, which is known as loss of the enjoyment of life. Since you can no longer do the things that you used to enjoy or enjoy life the way that you did before the accident, you may be compensated. The interference within the martial relationship that includes a change in services performed by the spouse, or the loss of affection, love, and companionship is known as loss of consortium. In conjunction with the claim of the injured spouse, the uninjured spouse should bring the action for loss of consortium.

The Amount of Your Claim


There isn't any rule of thumb to determine the amount of your claim is. Many factors determine the amount of your claim. Although the following factors have impact on the amount of your claim, they aren't all inclusive.

  1. In your ability to be compensated for your injuries, insurance plays a crucial role. Usually the most that you will be able to receive is the amount of the policy limit of the liability of the owner or the property owner's insurance. However sometimes there isn't any insurance or the insurance is too limited. You might have to collect the damages from the controller or the owner of the property in those cases.
  2. Your income will depend on if you can or can't return to work, if your injury required you to change jobs and how many days you missed from work. These are significant factors the worth of your case. The greater the calculation for your loss of wages will be for the more money you made prior to your injury. The calculation for your wages lost will be less if you have a lower income job. Usually your past income will determine your future lost income, because history tends to be a good predictor of future income. Your tax returns and pay stubs will be required to establish those claims.
  3. Another factor on the way that your injuries affected your way of life is will also determine the worth of your claim. These factors include if surgery was involved, if you can do normal household chores, if you can drive an auto, if you can walk, how long it took you to recover, and if your everyday activities impacted. The answers to these statements can help determine how much your claim is worth.
  4. In determining how much your claim is worth, your age might also be a factor. Victims consisting of either the elderly or young children might receive a higher settlement since people tend to feel sympathetic towards the elderly as well as those that are young. The amount of time that you had otherwise as well as the amount of time that you can be expected to live is also factors in determining the amount of your award.
  5. The higher the value of your award, the more severe the injury. For instance, a broken leg that required surgery that required a lengthy recovery and an extended hospital stay will have a much higher worth to you than an injury that involves bruising, lacerations, cuts, or an ankle sprain. Similarly, a single injury is worth less than a single injury.
  6. The percentage of your fault in causing the accident will diminish the worth of your claim and will be subtracted from the amount of your award.
  7. Preexisting conditions known as prior injuries might also be a significant factor in the worth of your claim. The responsibly of the owner of the property will be determined by the determination if the preexisting condition was the result a fall, trip, or slip accident was the result of an accident aggravated a preexisting condition, and if it was asymptotic or symptomatic. If at the time of the accident you were treating for the condition and experiencing pain, the injury was symptomatic. An asymptomatic condition is either the result of the fact that you haven't been treated for the condition or you haven't experienced any pain or an old injury.
  8. Another factor in determining the worth of your claim is the amount of your out of pocket expenses and your medical bills. One factor in determining the worth of your claim is the total amount of your medical expenses. Your case will probably be worth more the higher the cost for your treatments. Cases that have high diagnostic costs for MRI's and CT Scans rather than higher treatment costs have less value.
  9. The worth of you claim will be diminished because the percentage of your fault in causing the accident will be subtracted from the amount of your award.

Recovery Sources


Property management companies, landlords, business owners, and homeowners have a responsibility to maintain their properties safe for the people who visit them, such as tenants or customers, and might liable for your injuries if they didn't do so.

Safe products are the responsibility of the manufacturers. A defective or faulty escalator or elevator might a manufacture to be liable for your injuries.

Distributors and suppliers also have a responsibility to maintain their products free of damage during their delivery and while in their possession. They can be also held liable for your injuries if they don't.

Government entities are responsible to maintain the majority of sidewalks and public streets that are in front of government buildings reasonably safe for pedestrians. They can also be exposed to liability for your injuries if they fail to take reasonable steps to make sure the public is safe.

Contact Us Today


We will take the time to determine exactly what is going on in your life by listening to you and always treat you with respect and dignity at the Law Office of Mark McClure. The last thing that you need is to fell that you are being judged during these trying times. We understand that all you need is help. Personal injury fall, trip, and slip laws are laws that will protect you, your auto, your home, and your property as well as your pay checks by making sure that when you are entitled to receive compensation you will be compensated.

You should have an attorney because the insurance companies have attorneys. Obtain some information by contacting our office.

Contact us at (253) 631-6484 and ask for Mark McClure. We are available and ready to help and listen.


© 2014 Law Office of Mark McClure ★ info@personalinjurywa.netPersonal Injury Attorney
1103 W Meeker St #101, Kent WA 98032 ★ Phone: (253) 631-6484