If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in Olympia, one of the first steps toward recovering financial compensation will be to determine who is liable. While this may seem fairly obvious in some cases, establishing liability for a slip and fall accident is not necessarily as straightforward as it seems.
The Property Owner or Tenant Will Be Liable in Most Cases
In most cases, one of two parties will be liable for a slip and fall accident. This will be either:
- The owner of the property where you fell, or
- The business or individual that rents and occupies the premises where you fell
When Can a Property Owner Be Held Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident?
All types of property owners can be held liable for slip and fall accidents occurring on their premises. This includes owners of commercial properties ranging from shopping malls to public swimming pools, and it includes government agencies and homeowners as well.
In general, if the property owner knows (or should have known) of a dangerous condition and fails to exercise ordinary care to protect you from this danger, then the property owner can be held liable for your medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other accident-related losses.
When a property owner is liable, recovering financial compensation typically involves filing a claim with the property owner’s insurance company. For instance, homeowners insurance and commercial general liability policies may apply.
In order to make sure that the insurance company treats you fairly and that you are able to maximize your financial recovery, you should speak with an attorney about handling the accident claim on your behalf.
When Can a Business Tenant Be Held Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident?
When a property owner rents its premises to a business tenant, often the tenant also becomes liable for ensuring that the premises are safe for patrons or guests. There are some exceptions—for example, the property owner may still be liable for the safety of common areas, and it may have an obligation to address issues such as burst pipes that can create slippery surfaces and lead to slips and falls. But, generally speaking, if you slip and fall on rented premises (i.e., in a retail store), the tenant will most likely be liable.
These slip and fall accident cases will also involve making an insurance claim against the liable party. Most businesses carry liability insurance (and all businesses should carry liability insurance, and many renters insurance policies provide liability coverage for slips, falls, and other premises-related accidents).
Again, in order to protect your legal rights, you will want to hire an attorney to deal with the tenant’s insurance company and pursue maximum compensation for your injuries.
Who Else Might Be Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident?
While property owners and tenants are liable for most slip and fall accidents, there are various other parties that could potentially be liable as well. For example, depending on the circumstances involved, recovering financial compensation after a slip and fall accident could also involve filing a claim against:
- A cleaning, maintenance, or management company that either failed to appropriately clean a slip hazard or that created a slip hazard
- A builder or construction company that installed an unsafe walking surface
- (If you were injured on the job, you may be limited to filing a workers’ compensation claim against your employer, but you may have a personal injury claim against another party as well)
What If I Am to Blame for My Own Slip and Fall Injuries?
Many people who are injured in slip and fall accidents assume that they must be at least partially responsible for their own injuries. But, let’s assume that you were partially at fault. What does this mean for your legal rights?
In Washington, as long as you were not 100% at fault, you can still seek financial compensation for at least a portion of your accident-related losses.
When you engage Fuller & Fuller to represent you, our attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation in order to establish liability and fight for the maximum compensation available under Washington law. Our attorneys will anticipate arguments from the insurance company that you were partially at fault for the accident and present evidence supporting your claim.
Contact an Olympia Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Today
Did you suffer serious injuries in a slip and fall accident? If so, attorneys at Fuller & Fuller can help you recover the financial compensation you deserve.
Please contact us by calling (800) 570-4878 today. Our lawyers serve clients in Olympia and other areas of Washington.