Slip & Fall - FAQs

Slip & Fall – Premises Liability – FAQ

Falls are considered to be 100% preventable. Yet falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits.  Slip and fall accidents account for over 1 million hospital visits every year. Older people are more likely to fall and also more likely to suffer greater injuries as a result of a fall. 

When people fall and are injured on property that is owned or maintained by someone else, they may be able to collect compensation from the property owner.

The following questions are often asked by people who have fallen and been injured while on someone else’s property.

Premises liability is the liability of a property owner for injuries and other damage that happen to another person while legally on the owner’s property. Property owners that invite or allow other people to come onto their property are required to maintain the property so that it is reasonably safe for visitors to access.

A slip and fall accident is an accident that occurs when a hazard or unsafe condition exists on the property of another and causes a visitor to lose footing and become injured.

Responsibility for the damage resulting from a slip and fall accident depends on who is found to have caused the accident. A property owner has to take reasonable actions to make the property safe. That may involve monitoring floors for spills and cleaning them up promptly or it may mean putting up sufficient warning signs so that people will be aware of the danger and able to avoid it.

Liability for a slip and fall accident will depend on who did or did not do what. A store manager may have gotten sidetracked on his way to find someone to clean up the wet floor at the store’s entrance allowing a dangerous condition to exist longer than necessary. A customer may have been looking at her cell phone as she entered the store and slipped on the wet floor instead of walking around the puddle. Both parties may have some responsibility for causing the accident.

Maybe. People are generally expected to take reasonable precautions to ensure their own safety. Persons who are distracted or fail to take notice of circumstances that other reasonable persons would have been aware of may have some responsibility for the injuries they sustain in a slip and fall accident. It is important for the person injured to recognize when fault is an issue and minimize any potential liability because it will proportionately reduce the compensation that can be recovered.

Yes. But any compensation awarded will be reduced by the same percentage of fault that is attributed to the injured party. So a person 25% responsible for causing her injuries can only collect 75% of her damages.

Not if you are an adult. Landowners have no responsibility to make their property safe for those who enter onto it illegally. However, if the trespasser happens to be a child, landowners do have a heightened responsibility to protect children from dangerous conditions on their property that might be attractive to children – such as swimming pools and construction equipment.

Typically, it is the responsibility of the home or business owner to clear the sidewalks that people might use to access the home or business. Property owners have a reasonable time after a snow or ice accumulation to remove the hazard. Local governments may also have some responsibility for clearing public travel paths.

Property owners are by law supposed to be aware of and take measures to correct or warn of hazards that they could discover by reasonable inspection in a reasonable amount of time. Failure to correct a hazard or properly warn of its existence results in liability for injuries to visitors who are not otherwise aware of the hazard.

Landlords in Washington must maintain rented properties so that they comply with laws designed to protect the health and safety of tenants. Landlords are required to keep areas common to all tenants safe from hazards that increase the likelihood of accidents. In specific rental situations, the lease between landlord and tenant may further clarify the responsibilities for hazard removal.

Likely, yes. In Washington, local governments have a responsibility to maintain areas that are designated for public travel. If a pedestrian trips and falls on a sidewalk that hasn’t been properly maintained the city responsible for maintaining the sidewalk can be held liable for the resulting injuries. However, if an adjoining property owner has done something – like planting a tree whose roots have pushed up the sidewalk – the property owner may also be liable.

If you were injured on the property of another by an existing condition you were unaware of that caused you to lose your footing and fall you may have a slip and fall claim against the property owner. If the property owner should have done more to protect you from the hazard that caused your injuries, you probably have a legitimate slip and fall claim.

Yes. Falls are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Broken bones are also a common injury from falling. Neck and back injuries can occur – including spinal cord damage.

If you are out of the office conducting the business of your employer, workers’ compensation will probably cover your accident. If you were at another business or property other than your employer’s the other property owner may have liability for your accident as well.

You are entitled to recover the cost of your medical expenses and any income you lost by not being able to work. You may also receive compensation for the physical pain you have suffered and the emotional distress the accident has caused. An experienced slip and fall accident attorney can help you put together a claim for compensation that describes each element of your damages.

The Law Offices of Joseph Rome can help if you were injured in a slip and fall accident. Kirkland personal injury attorney Joseph Rome has over 15 years of experience successfully serving clients who have been injured in the greater Seattle area.

Call our office at 425-429-1729 or contact us here to schedule a free consultation.