Slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries that can impact your life in many ways, from physical pain and suffering to lost wages and medical bills. If your accident occurred due to someone else's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.
However, defending attorneys and insurance companies may try to argue that you contributed to the accident and may reduce your compensation under comparative fault law. If this sounds like your situation, contact West Law Office for legal guidance. Our Spokane slip and fall lawyer can explain what comparative fault is and how it can affect your claim.
How Comparative Fault Works
Comparative fault, also known as a shared fault, is a legal principle used in personal injury cases. It determines the percentage of fault each party has for the accident and apportions damages accordingly. In a slip and fall case, for example, the plaintiff may be found partially at fault for not paying attention to their surroundings, while the defendant may be found partially at fault for failing to maintain a safe environment. Comparative fault can reduce the plaintiff's compensation based on their degree of fault.
Washington is a Pure Comparative Fault State
In Washington, the courts apply the doctrine of pure comparative fault (RCW § 4.22.005). This means that even if you are found to be 99% at fault for your slip and fall accident, you may still recover damages, albeit reduced by your percentage of fault. For example, if your damages are $10,000 but you are 50% at fault, your damages will be reduced to $5,000. This rule applies to all types of personal injury cases, including slip and fall accidents.
Examples of Comparative Fault in a Slip and Fall Accident
There are several situations where comparative fault can come into play in a slip and fall case. These include:
- Intoxication. If you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol and this contributed to your fall, you may be found partially at fault.
- Wearing inappropriate footwear. If you were wearing high heels or flip-flops that made it difficult to walk, you may be considered partially at fault.
- Ignoring warning signs. If there were signs warning you about a dangerous area, and you ignored them, you may be considered partially at fault for your accident.
- Being distracted by the phone. If you were looking at your phone and not paying attention to your surroundings, you may be considered partially at fault if the accident occurred as a result.
It is a non-exhaustive list of situations in which a property owner or insurance company may argue that you were to blame for slipping and falling.
How Can Comparative Fault Affect Your Slip and Fall Claim in Washington?
Comparative fault can significantly affect the amount of compensation you receive in a slip and fall case in Washington. If the defendant's attorney can prove that you were partially responsible for the accident, they can reduce your damages proportionally. This is why it is crucial to work with an experienced attorney who can help you gather evidence and build a solid case to prove that the defendant was primarily at fault. Your attorney can also help you negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Fight for the Compensation You Deserve with West Law Office
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in Washington, it is essential to understand how comparative fault works and how it can affect your claim. Our lawyer at West Law Office can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and fight for your rights. Don't let comparative fault prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve – contact our office today. Schedule a free case evaluation by calling 509-993-0748.