If you or your loved one suffered serious injuries in a slip and fall accident on property owned by another person or business, you might be eligible to take legal action under Washington, D.C.’s premises liability law. Premises liability law requires property owners and managers to maintain their premises and ensure the safety of their guests when visiting those premises.
The experienced slip and fall accident attorneys at Lightfoot Law, PLLC, can review your accident claim and advise you of any legal options you may have and whether you are eligible to receive compensation for your accident-related losses. At Lightfoot Law, PLLC, our slip, and fall accident attorneys are committed to:
- Communicating clearly with our clients;
- Providing responsive and engaging client services; and
- Taking the time to understand client concerns and case goals.
Contact Lightfoot Law, PLLC’s, Washington, D.C., office today and schedule your complimentary consultation. Our attorneys look forward to answering your questions and addressing your concerns regarding your slip and fall claim.
Our Washington, D.C., Slip and Fall Attorneys Can Help
When a slip, trip, or fall requires medical attention and renders you unable to work, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you obtain compensation for your lost wages and medical expenses. The attorneys at Lightfoot Law, PLLC in Washington, D.C., have years of experience handling premises liability lawsuits in the courts of the District of Columbia and Maryland. We understand the differences that factor into accidents on residential property versus commercial property, and we know the ways that defendants’ attorneys try to avoid responsibility for paying your claims.
At Lightfoot Law, PLLC, our legal team will develop a strategic, individualized approach in pursuit of the best possible outcome for your case. Building your trial-ready case may include doing any of the following and more on your behalf:
- Investigating the circumstances of your accident;
- Gather all relevant evidence;
- Identifying all liable parties for your injuries;
- Consulting with needed accident and injury experts;
- Valuing your injury claim;
- Negotiating a fair settlement with the insurance company; or
- Representing you at trial if a settlement is unreachable.
Contact Lightfoot Law, PLLC, now at (202) 506-3591 or contact us online to learn more about the slip and fall claim-building process and our many client services.
Causes of Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents in Washington, D.C.
Slips, trips and falls can happen anywhere. Potholes, puddles, and ice can turn parking lots, sidewalks, and driveways into hazardous places. Restaurants, shopping malls, supermarkets, schools and playgrounds all have their own distinct types of risk areas.
Some common causes of slip and fall injuries include:
- Wet floors. Slipping on a wet surface may cause you to fall on your back or on one of your hands or limbs as you try to break the impact. Either can cause injury;
- Poor building maintenance. Inadequate lighting and uneven steps are two of the most common building maintenance issues that can lead to trips and falls down stairs. Malfunctioning escalators also cause slip and fall injuries;
- Loose fixtures. Leaning your weight on a handrail that isn’t properly fixed in place can cause you to go down hard. Loose fixture issues contribute to many slip and fall accidents; and
- Dangerous property conditions. Homeowners and business owners may neglect their duty of care and endanger visitors in various ways, such as allowing debris or other obstructive materials to collect in central passageways.
What To Do After a Slip and Fall Accident
A slip and fall accident can be traumatic and confusing for those involved, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you know what steps need to take place afterward in order for your case to be successful.
Document Everything Immediately
When suffering from an injury due to a slip or fall, it is important that you take pictures of the area immediately following the incident. Take as many pictures as possible—especially of any object or substance that caused your fall—and store them in a safe place. It’s also important to note when and where the incident took place, as well as any other relevant details such as weather or lighting conditions that could have contributed to the accident. This evidence will help build your case if you decide to pursue legal action.
Seek Medical Attention
After being injured in a slip and fall accident, it is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Not only does this ensure that your injuries are properly treated and managed, but it also provides documentation about your injury which can be used in court. Be sure to keep track of all medical bills related to this injury as they can be used as proof when calculating damages from your claim.
Get Contact Information of Witnesses
If anyone witnessed your accident, make sure to get their contact information so that they can provide testimony in support of your case if needed.
Find Out If There Is Any Video Footage
If your slip and fall occurred at an office building or store, check with management to see if there is any video footage available of the incident. This footage could be extremely useful in proving negligence on behalf of whoever was responsible for maintaining safe conditions where you fell.
Seek Legal Help
When trying to build a case for your slip and fall accident, hiring an experienced attorney can make all the difference between winning or losing a case. An attorney who specializes in personal injury law will know exactly how best to represent your interests and prove fault in court.
They will also have access to additional resources such as investigators or experts who can provide testimony about what happened during the accident itself. It is always wise for victims of slip and falls accidents seek professional legal advice before taking any further action with their cases.
How to Prove a Slip and Fall Accident
When you have slipped and fallen on someone else’s property, it can be difficult to prove who was at fault. It is important to be aware of the steps you need to take to build a strong case for your slip and fall accident.
The first step in filing a slip and fall lawsuit is gathering evidence to prove your case. This includes things like photos of the scene, witness statements, medical records, and any other documents related to your injury.
It’s also important to keep all receipts for expenses related to your injury such as doctor visits, hospital bills, medications, etc., as these will help build your case. Your lawyer can help guide you through this process to make sure all relevant evidence is collected.
To receive compensation for your injuries, it must be established that there was negligence or recklessness on the part of the other party. Proving negligence requires demonstrating that the owner of the property had knowledge (or should have had knowledge) of an existing hazard but failed to take reasonable steps towards addressing it or warning visitors about it in a timely manner.
Your lawyer will review the evidence gathered during discovery and present it in court in an effort to prove that negligence occurred in your case.
Once negligence has been established, damages will need to be calculated so that an appropriate settlement amount can be determined. Generally speaking, damages are intended to cover medical bills related to any physical injuries sustained as well as emotional distress caused by the incident itself (e.g., anxiety or depression).
Duty of The Property Owner
Property owners owe those who enter their premises a duty of care. This means that the property owner must exercise reasonable care under the circumstances—including keeping the premises reasonably safe and avoiding injuring that person.
The property owner also has a responsibility to perform inspections as a reasonable person would in order to find hazardous circumstances. This means inspecting for any safety hazards or dangerous conditions that may exist on their land or within the confines of their building or structure.
If a hazard does exist, it is the property owner’s responsibility to take steps to repair it or warn guests about it before an injury occurs.
Legal Rights of Trespassers Injured in Slip and Fall
The general rule is that the landowner or property owner doesn’t owe a duty of care to manage or maintain the property in a way that protects trespassers from harm. This means that if you enter someone else’s property without permission, then the owner isn’t responsible if you get hurt. That said, there are some exceptions to this rule.
The first exception applies when a landowner intentionally or willfully injures a trespasser. In these cases, the landowner can be held legally responsible for any damages suffered by the trespasser as a result of their intentional actions.
Additionally, if a landowner maintains a hidden trap on their property—such as an uncovered well—then they could potentially be held liable for any injuries or fatalities caused by the trap.
What is Contributory Negligence?
After any type of slip and fall injury, a victim must prove they are entitled to compensation. Both Washington, D.C. and Maryland use the rule of contributory negligence to determine who is liable for the costs of a personal injury claim.
Under the contributory negligence system, if the injured person bears any responsibility for the slip, trip or fall, he or she will be unable to seek compensation from any other party that contributed to the accident. This is true even if a property owner is almost entirely responsible for the conditions that caused the accident while the injured person made a minor error in judgment that contributed to his or her injuries.
Therefore, to hold another person or business accountable for the costs of your injuries in a D.C. personal injury lawsuit, the victim must be able to show that the other party’s negligence directly contributed to the cause of your accident and that the victim him or herself bears no responsibility.
Compensation for a Slip, Trip, or Fall Accident
A victim who can prove there was no negligence on their part and they are entitled to damages for their slip, trip, or fall accident injuries, may receive compensation for both their economic and non-economic accident-related losses. The amount of damages a victim receives is determined on a case by case basis according to the type and severity of the injuries, the prognosis for recovery, and the overall impact of the accident on the victim’s life.
Economic damages in a slip, trip, or fall claim are monies paid to reimburse a victim for expenses they have incurred or pay for accident-related expenses they will incur in the future. These damages have set or approximate dollar amounts and typically include the following types of losses:
- Medical bills, both present and future;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning potential;
- Rehabilitative care costs; and
- Funeral and burial expenses, if a slip and fall accident is fatal.
Non-economic damages are damages without a set dollar value. These are subjective losses and include, but are not limited to the following:
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Pain and suffering;
- Disfigurement and scarring; and
- Loss of consortium.
Statute of Limitations for Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents
In order to receive damages in a slip, trip, or fall accident claim, a victim must meet Washington, D.C.’s strict statute of limitations for filing an accident claim. This is a three-year deadline for filing a personal injury lawsuit in the District of Columbia. After three years, a victim is barred from any recovery for their accident-related losses; though this may seem like a long time, the sooner a victim explores their legal options after an injury, the better.
There are several reasons behind statutes of limitations in a slip, trip, or fall case. These include:
- Evidence is more readily available right after a slip, trip, and fall accident, before a property owner has time to alter or clean up the scene of the accident;
- Surveillance footage and witness memories are also more likely to be preserved closer to the time of the accident; and
- Consulting an attorney promptly will allow a victim’s legal team to seek out evidence and conduct investigations right away increasing their chances of a successful legal claim.
Contact an Experienced Washington, D.C. Slip and Fall Attorney Today
If you’ve suffered a slip and fall accident contact Lightfoot Law, PLLC, right away. Our slip, trip, and fall attorneys can advocate for your right to compensation. We also represent people who trip and fall in ladder and scaffolding accidents and other construction site accidents.
Located in Washington, D.C., the law firm of Lightfoot Law, PLLC vigorously represents slip, trip, and fall accident victims hurt on premises in the District of Columbia and Maryland. To schedule your free initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys, call our office at (202) 506-3591 or contact us online.