Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Seattle Personal Injury Attorney Chris Thayer
Handling Personal Injury Claims in the Seattle Area and Throughout Washington Since 1995

My name is Chris Thayer and I am a personal injury attorney practicing in downtown Seattle. I handle personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death claims throughout the greater Seattle area, including Issaquah, Mercer Island and Kirkland.

I am here to help you.

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How Washington’s Contributory Fault Rule Can Impact Your Slip-and-Fall Claim

Posted Friday, November 5, 2021 by Chris Thayer

Slips-and-falls may often provide laughs in film and on television, but in real life they are no joke. Statistics reflect that slip-and-fall accidents result in more than 8,000,000 hospital visits every year in this country. You may also be shocked to learn that half of all accidental deaths in the home are the result of a fall. That is especially surprising given that most of these fatal falls occur at ground level, as opposed to from a greater height, proving that even a relatively short fall can prove fatal. If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit to recover financially for the harm that you have suffered. However, slip-and-fall cases are not always open and shut. It is important to understand what is required to bring a successful lawsuit and what challenges you may encounter so that you can prepare the best possible legal defense. If you would like to talk to a personal injury attorney about the specifics of your case to get personalized feedback, you are welcome to contact Pivotal Law Group to schedule a consultation.

*Understandi*ng Washington’s Contributory Fault Rule **Every state has a law that decides how liability for negligence will be determined in their state. Washington is one of the only states to apply the contributory fault rule. In practice, this rule means that the actions of all parties involved in an accident will be assessed and liability will be allocated among them based on how much each person contributed to causing the overall accident. In some states, if you are found to be even 1% liable for causing an accident, you cannot collect any damages award at all. In other states, you must be found less than 50% liable for causing the accident in order to recover. However, in Washington, no amount of contributory fault will bar your right to recovery. Instead, your damages award will simply be reduced by whatever percentage of fault you are found to have contributed to causing the harm.

*Applying Contributory Fault to Slip-and-Fall Accidents *Contributory fault comes into play a lot when we look at slip-and-fall accidents. Sometimes, the fault for these accidents lies entirely with one party, but often, we can find that errors made by both parties created a larger accident. For instance, if you are walking while texting on your phone in the grocery store and slip on a spilled beverage, there are a number of factors that will be weighed on both sides by the court in order to determine liability. If the spill was not marked with a “wet floor” sign, or had been left unattended for a significant period of time, the store may be found primarily negligent. However, their negligence may be decreased if the jury finds that you would not have been likely to see a “wet floor” sign anyway because you were not paying attention to where you were walking. The good thing about bringing a slip-and-fall claim in Washington State is that unless you are found 100% responsible for causing your own injury, you will still be able to recover some portion of your damages.

Talk to *the Pivotal Law Group*If you or a loved one have been seriously injured as the result of a slip-and-fall accident in Seattle, Bellevue, Kent, Renton, Burien, Mercer Island, Issaquah, or greater Washington State area, the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Pivotal Law Group are ready to help. Contact the Pivotal Law Group today to schedule a consultation.