Almost anyone can trip over their own feet. But slip and fall accidents are often caused by dangerous conditions that property owners have failed to correct. These falls happen at a variety of places—at work, in a business, at a private residence, or on public property. Below, we will take a closer look at common causes of falls and whether you have a valid legal claim.
Unsafe Surface Conditions
Many slip and falls happen because the walking surface is dangerous. For example, many of our clients slip on:
● Freshly mopped floors
● Waxed floors
● Loose mats or rugs
● Worn carpeting
● Spilled liquids
● Uneven floorboards or surfaces
No matter how carefully a person walks, the unsafe surface sends them flying, with injuries usually resulting from the fall.
Dangerous Environmental Conditions
Sometimes, the surface itself is not to blame but something else in the environment has created a hazard. For example, our clients sometimes slip because of:
● Poor lighting that makes it hard to see where they are stepping
● Glare or bright lighting that blinds people
● Debris on the floor that they slip or trip over
● Electrical cords that are not tied down
Whether you slip because of a hazardous surface or dangerous environmental conditions, the result is often the same: serious injuries and time off from work to recover.
Other causes of slip and fall accidents include dangerous or defective stairways. These falls are particularly dangerous because people suffer painful injuries as they tumble all the way to the ground. For example, you might slip on a staircase because of any of the following:
● Missing handrails
● Poorly designed stairs
● Loose steps
● Worn steps
As the victim tumbles to the ground, they make a painful contact with each step, dramatically increasing the risk and severity of injury.
Slip and Fall Injuries and Symptoms
After a fall, many of our clients suffer from the following injuries:
● Sprains or strains
● Fractures, including broken ankles
● Head injuries
● Back injuries
● Nerve injuries
● Traumatic brain injuries, including concussions
Some of these injuries are slow to develop, and you might not feel pain or stiffness for several days. Regardless, you should immediately visit a doctor as soon as you feel any symptom that you think might be connected to the slip and fall. Your doctor can prescribe the appropriate treatment and also carefully document the seriousness of your injuries.
Do You Have a Legal Case?
The fact that you slipped and fell does not, by itself, mean you can hold the property owner liable for your injuries. Instead, your Yakima slip and fall attorney must carefully analyze the circumstances surrounding your accident to determine whether you have a legal case.
In Washington, property owners owe visitors to their property a duty of care. The precise duty, however, depends on your status or reason for being on the property:
● Invitees are people explicitly invited onto the property by the owner. For example, friends or guests invited over fall in this category, as do business visitors.
● Licensees are people who enter property with the implied consent of the owner. For example, a friend who stops by on their own initiative to visit is a licensee.
● Trespassers have no permission or right to enter property or to stay on it. Someone who breaks into your home is a trespasser.
Property owners owe the following duties:
● Invitee—an owner owes invitees a duty to keep the property reasonably safe. This duty includes a duty to exercise ordinary care to uncover dangerous conditions.
● Licensee—an owner should use reasonable care to make safe any condition that involves an unreasonable risk of harm to the licensee, which the licensee cannot appreciate. Alternately, the owner must at least warn the licensee of the condition.
● Trespasser—an owner only owes trespassers a duty not to willfully or wantonly injure them.
For example, if you slip and fall in a business, then the business owner owed you a duty to reasonably inspect the store to find hazards. In a grocery store, this might include regularly checking the aisles for spilled liquids and cleaning them up in a prompt manner. If a business owner fails to do this, and you slip on the liquids, then you might be able to hold the store liable for your injuries.
Speak with a Slip and Fall Attorney in Yakima
If you have fallen and want to pursue a claim for compensation, you will need an experienced slip and fall attorney by your side to make sure you do things right. At Kapuza Lighty, our team has helped many slip and fall victims receive compensation for lost wages, medical care, and pain and suffering. To start your case, or to get answers to your questions, please contact us today—509-866-4166. Avoid delay.