Russell & Hill, PLLC

Slip and fall accidents occur without notice. You’re walking along, doing your shopping, when all of a sudden you lose your footing, landing on your hip in excruciating pain. You look around and see that liquid spilled in your favorite supermarket’s floor was the cause of your feet losing traction with the floor. Now you’re on your way to the hospital, all due to the negligence of someone else. You likely have questions circling in your mind. Who will pay my medical bills? Will I be able to return to work quickly? Am I seriously injured? This very scenario plays out all around the country frequently, with accident victims left holding the bag when they are injured due to no fault of their own. If you have been in a similar slip and fall accident, Russell and Hill can help.

Duty of Care

As a general rule, property owners and the occupants of properties must use reasonable care in order to maintain the properties that they own or control. This duty of care applies typically only to those people who are on the property legally, such as when a guest comes over for dinner or a business welcomes customers through its doors. These people are all invited to the property. Trespassers are not extended any duty of care other than the duty for the property owner to not intentionally harm them.

Still, to find the property owner liable in a slip-and-fall case, the owner or its occupant or employee must be shown to be negligent in that:

  • He/she owed a duty of care to you
  • A dangerous condition existed that caused you to fall
  • He/she knew of the condition or should have reasonably known of it
  • You were injured as a result of the condition

There is a bit of a challenge when the language “should have known” is looked under the lens of liability, particularly when it comes to slippery surfaces. For instance, it is not reasonable for store owners to know the instant a gallon of milk is dropped on the floor, creating a wet, slippery surface. The issue then becomes “how long was the milk on the floor” before the person slipped and fell? If a long period of time had passed, the person in control of the property should have known that the milk was there. If it just happened, a challenge may lie ahead for the plaintiff in that it is not reasonable to assume that the property owner knew about the milk within the first few minutes of the spill.

What Happens Next?

As soon as possible following your accident, contact our Bremerton injury attorneys to discuss your case. Washington State sets the statute of limitations at three years from the date of injury for claimants to come forward with their claims; once that date passes, you may be unable to collect compensation at all. Reach out to us now to arrange a no-cost case review with our compassionate legal team and find out what legal options you have available to you during this frustrating time.

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