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.

Call for a free consultation (206) 340-2008

If I am Hurt in a Fall in Bellevue, Do I Automatically Get a Settlement?

Posted Friday, January 13, 2023 by Chris Thayer

Every fall injury victim needs a settlement. That much is certain. The annual medical costs alone for falls and other personal injuries exceed $325 billion. Other economic losses include property damage and lost work. These victims also deserve compensation for their pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other noneconomic losses. However, not every fall victim is guaranteed a settlement.

Instead, a Bellevue personal injury lawyer must diligently build a strong case from the ground up. But even that is not enough. An attorney must also anticipate some common insurance company defenses and be ready to refute them in court. Only a lawyer who is ready, willing, and able to go the extra mile can obtain maximum compensation for your serious injuries.

*Lack of Evidence*A fall is often a no-witness case. No one, except the victim, can testify about the circumstances of the fall. The victim’s testimony is often biased. Our minds are not video cameras. We remember things selectively. Additionally, many fall victims sustained head injuries. These injuries often impair memory and further undermine credibility.

Additional evidence is usually available in these situations. Chances are, especially if the fall happened in a grocery store or other public place, somebody saw something. Even if the witness did not see the fall, the witness could testify about the hazard that caused the fall.

Furthermore, a Bellevue personal injury lawyer often uses an obscure legal doctrine called res ipsa loquitur (the thing speaks for itself) to reduce the amount of evidence needed to prove negligence. In some cases, jurors may presume that negligence caused a fall or other personal injury.

The burden of proof is already low. A victim/plaintiff must only establish negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not. A little evidence goes a long way.

*Comparative Fault*The most common affirmative defense in fall injury claims comes in several forms. One or more forms may be available, depending on the facts of the case.

Sometimes, the open and obvious doctrine applies. Property owners are not legally responsible for personal injuries if an open and obvious hazard causes an injury.

This rule seems straightforward, but it usually isn’t. What may be an open and obvious hazard to some people is a concealed hazard to other people. Older adult victims are a good example. Many of these individuals do not see well, especially in low-light conditions.

A standard comparative fault defense asserts that the victim didn’t watch where s/he was going. A similar defense often applies in pedestrian accident claims. If there is evidence of joint responsibility, which in this case is a hazard and a failure to mind one’s surroundings, jurors must divide fault on a percentage basis, such as 50-50.

Washington is a pure comparative fault state. Even if the victim was 99% responsible for the injury, the tortfeasor (negligent party) must pay a proportionate share of damages.

A similar scheme generally applies if the owner posted a “Caution Wet Floor” or other warning sign in the area. First, the insurance company must prove the victim saw the sign, could read the sign and could understand its meaning. Second, the jury must divide fault on a percentage basis, as outlined above.

*Speak With a Thorough King County Attorney*Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Bellevue, contact Pivotal Law Group, PLLC. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.