Following a “slip and fall” accident in Washington where you sustained injuries, you must find out the options available to you, particularly concerning compensation for your injuries. This is especially true if the owner of the property where you were injured clearly had a hand in your accident.
Whether you plan on taking your claim to court or with an insurance company, you should understand how Washington’s shared fault laws could impact your case.
What exactly is comparative negligence?
If you file a personal injury claim against the owner of the property liable for your accident, expect that the other side to contend that you also share some fault for the slip and fall, explains a personal injury attorney from a prominent law firm in Marysville.
In the event that the court considers the other party’s argument valid, the award or settlement you could receive would be substantially lower than what you’re expecting.
For example, the property owner could argue that you should have been aware of the property’s dangerous condition as there were ample signs and cones in place. Perhaps you weren’t paying attention or were doing something else while you were walking and then slipped.
As per the comparative negligence statutes of the state, if the court deems that you’re 20% at fault for your accident and your damages (e.g., medical care, pain and suffering, income loss, etc.) costs about $18,000, you would only receive $14,400. This is minus 20% or $3,600 of the total damages from the owner of the property.
What if I accept a settlement?
In the event that the property owner agrees to settle out of court, this comparative negligence law would still apply. When negotiating with the insurance provider and the property owner’ lawyer, they’ll naturally attempt to guess what the court might decide on if your claim goes to trial.
This means that you could expect their settlement offer to somewhat mirror their interpretation of your responsibility in the slip and fall accident. With this in mind, consult a personal injury attorney to know the best way to go about your claim.