Complete Guide to the Law on Slip and Fall Accidents
You may think your slip and fall accident happened because you were clumsy. You may be right but that is not always the case.
Most slip and fall accidents occur because someone failed to comply with basic safety rules. The law is that any person in control of premises must ensure they are safe. If there are any hazards, such as a slippery floor or snaking wires, they should be removed promptly.
Unfortunately, property owners do not always comply. This is why slips and Falls are now one of the most common accidents around, causing severe injury and pain. The Center for Disease Control reports that over one million Americans suffer a slip, trip, and fall injury every year. Sadly, more than 17,000 people die annually from these injuries.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), slips and falls now account for 15% of all accidental deaths, and are second only to motor vehicles as a cause of fatalities.
Clearly, a slip and fall accident is nothing minor. If you or any of your loved ones have suffered injury in a slip and fall accident, know that you may have a right of compensation.
At The Curtis Firm, our remit is to see that you get the compensation you deserve. We know that accidents such as these will bring unexpected and often significant expenses. This is why we are committed to doing everything possible to see that you receive fair compensation.
This article helps you understand more about the law on slip and fall accidents in Washington.
Slip and fall accidents can be catastrophic
When you tell someone that you slipped and fell at work or elsewhere, they're not likely to show serious concern for your welfare. After all, slips are only ever minor. But the reverse is often the case.
Slip and fall accidents can result in severe injury and pain. All sorts of injuries may result, causing pain and suffering. The CDC even reports that slip and fall accidents are a leading cause of traumatic brain injury.
Considering that they are the cause of 15% of all accidental deaths, it is clear that slips and falls are dangerous incidents.
Negligence in slip and fall accidents
Most slip and fall accidents are due to negligence. They often occur in situations where a property owner or manager left a hazard unaddressed.
Persons in control of property are expected to adhere to a number of safety precautions to ensure the safety of other people. This is especially so for public places and work environments. This duty of care also extends to maintenance of public walkways.
For these places, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set a minimum safety standard that must be strictly followed. If a person who owes you a duty of care fails to adhere to these standards, they will be deemed to be negligent in their duty. For instance, under the OSHA guidelines, ‘operators' of public places must place warnings to inform people of wet or slippery surfaces.
Safety Guidelines For Business Places and Work Environments
In 2017, OSHA introduced a new set of guidelines. These guidelines are safety precautions that businesses (from manufacturing to retail) must strictly follow.
These rules were made specially to prevent slip, trip, and fall hazards in work environments and public places.
According to the rules, employers must conduct regular inspection of all surfaces in their workplace. This includes stairs, floors, and ladders. Operators of business places must have a safe guard rail system, safety net system, travel restraint system, or ladder safety system.
Even more, employers are obligated to provide training for their employees on fall and equipment hazards or any other available fall or slip protection systems.
Filing a claim in slip and fall accidents
In 2018, OSHA issued almost 7,000 citations against businesses for failing to meet requirements in fall protection standards.
If your slip and fall accident was as a result of the negligence of another person, you may have a claim for compensation. This position also holds true for negligence and non-maintenance of infrastructure in public places.
In a work environment, the company will be strictly liable for your injuries whether they were negligent or not. This will be possible if you can establish recklessness or misconduct on the part of the company.
Generally, in slip and fall accidents, three (3) things questions are paramount to showing liability. They are:
- Whether you were owed a duty of care;
- Whether that duty of care was breached, and;
- Whether the breach of duty was the cause of your injury.
Compensation in slip and fall cases
Slips and falls make up about 20 percent of all job-related injuries. From small injuries to short and long-term incapacitation, the damage that these kinds of accidents can cause is unquantified. As shown above, these injuries may even be fatal.
When they are not fatal, the injuries caused in these accidents can have significant impact on finances. The unexpected expenses will often take a serious toll.
Thankfully, it is possible to recover compensation for these injuries. Many victims of slips, trips, and fall injuries have successfully recovered compensation from the negligent parties. Annual compensation is estimated to cost businesses over $11 billion.
If you have suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, you may also be entitled to some compensation for your injuries. Some of what you may receive includes:
- Costs of medical treatment;
- Compensation for lost wages;
- Damages for pain and suffering; and
- Punitive damages against the negligent company.
What To Do If You're Involved in a Slip and Fall Accident
The compensation you receive will no doubt depend on the nature or severity of your injury. It will also hinge on whether you can successfully prove your claim. Proving your case would require you to provider evidence that can support your assertions.
Keeping medical information and details of the injuries you sustained will go a long way here. You may also request for CCTV footage of the incident to further buttress your claim.
Likewise, finding witnesses that will corroborate your statements will come handy when you're claiming for compensation.
Gathering this evidence and establishing the facts of your case will require the services of a skillful attorney. It is important that you reach out early, so your attorney will have adequate time and facility to help you win your claim.
Consult an Attorney
Slip and fall injuries can cause immense pain and suffering. You don't have to suffer the additional pain of losing the compensation you deserve.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident or if you have a loved one who has been injured, we encourage you to reach out to us. Let us help you recover the compensation you deserve.
You can call us on 253-327-1063 or contact us here to set up a free, no-obligation consultation. Our attorneys will listen to your story and help you understand your rights. Get in touch with us today.