Before we dig in, let me say this: If you’re injured in Washington State while on the job, such as in the case of a slip, trip, and fall, you are covered under the Industrial Insurance Act. Period, end of the sentence, full stop. You don’t have to show fault, negligence, or other elements of liability. For information on workers’ compensation cases and filing an L&I claim, check out additional blogs here.
But what if you’re not at work?
How do I know I have a personal injury/premises liability case?
OUCH, my neck! My back! …MY NECK AND MY BACK!
These cases conjure eye rolls and are often discredited because they’re thought of as petty, or the injured person is “just looking for money.” Here are the brass tacks: a lot of them are simply not compensable. In other words, lots of slips, trips, and falls do not rise to the level of an insurance claim. In fact, there are several factors that must be present before you can show that some other person or company is liable for your damages — namely, you must show:
- A duty (owed to you by the property owner)
- A breach of that duty (i.e.: property owner failed to or negligently maintained the premises)
- That the breach was the actual cause of your damages
- That you have indeed suffered damages
If any of these elements are missing, you likely don’t have all the pieces to file a claim, but these concepts often live in the “gray area.” If you’ve suffered an injury from a slip, trip, or fall on someone else’s property, it’s a great idea to talk to a personal injury attorney for a free consultation.
The statistics on slip, trip, and fall cases
Spills, ice, snow, rain, loose mats, rugs, and stepladders are among the most common reasons people fall, according to the CDC. Depending on the circumstances, any of these causes may rise to the level of an insurance claim IF (and it’s a big “if”) the factors listed above are present.
According to the National Safety Council, 6.8 million people visited the emergency room in 2020 for slips, trips, and falls. That’s a lot of twisted ankles and broken bones!
What are the contributing factors to these accidents?
Many of these falls occur at home or are caused by preventable things such as:
- Improperly worn footwear
- Furniture placement in the home
- Kids (picture me whaling in agony, having fallen because my son left his shoes on the stairs)
- Pets and other obstacles
Generally, these aren’t causes for a claim (if you trip on your shoelaces, or over the legos on the floor in the living room, you’re probably on your own).
But what if you’re not at home? What if you’re at the store, or even someone else’s house? That’s where the duty, breach, causation, and damage factors come into play. If you think your fall may have happened in a place and manner where these factors are in play, call a personal injury attorney for a free consultation.
How to prevent these accidents from happening
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve already suffered a slip, trip, or fall, but just in case you’ve traveled here on an info-gathering mission, let’s soften that landing for you a bit. Here’s a great article on how to fall-proof your home.
Getting legal help after a slip, trip, and fall accident
If you’ve been injured, get medical help. Every once in a while, you can get away with rubbing a little dirt on it and getting back to your day. But if you’ve suffered a serious fall (even if you think you might be ok), go get checked out.
Don’t trip! Contact Carlisle + Byers for support
If you have fallen and been injured in a way that has impacted your daily living or your ability to work, call a personal injury attorney who knows how to navigate these claims. They can help determine if the factors above may be present in your case. Don’t wait — these cases are governed by a statute of limitation, so the clock is ticking. Learn more on our website and schedule a free consultation today.