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.

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Supermarket Falls in Bellevue: A Closer Look

Posted Friday, November 18, 2022 by Chris Thayer

Grocery store falls usually cause broken bones, mostly broken ankle, hip, and wrist bones. A missed step or a bad hip often causes a fall, Then, when victims fall, they naturally extend their arms to break their falls. Head injuries are an even more serious problem. Once again, these injuries are even more severe if the victim had a pre-existing condition, such as an illness that requires blood thinning medication.

Even if a pre-existing condition contributed to the risk and/or severity of a fall injury, a Bellevue personal injury attorney can usually obtain maximum compensation for these injuries in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. These cases are usually complex. An out-of-state holding company usually owns the supermarket and is therefore financially responsible for these damages.

*Responsibility Issues* During initial case reviews, attorneys often emphasize the precise fall location. Depending on the location, as well as the terms of the lease and other legal documents, the supermarket, a sublessee, or the landlord could be legally responsible for damages.

Usually, this responsibility applies if the victim was a business invitee who had express or implied permission to be at the market. Additionally, the grocery store or other defendant must have received an economic benefit. Even if shoppers do not buy anything, there is an economic benefit. Foot traffic economically benefits grocery stores and other retailers.

Additionally, the tortfeasor (negligent party) must have actual or constructive knowledge (should have known) about the hazard which caused the fall or other injury.

The supermarket is generally responsible for any injuries that occur inside the market, on the sidewalk immediately in front of the store, the drive-thru (if any) on the side, or the loading area in the back.

Frequently, smaller retailers, like fast-food restaurants and nail salons, set up shop inside supermarkets. Mostly depending on the lease terms, these sub-lessors may be legally responsible for falls and other injuries which happen on or near the premises they rent.

In almost all cases, landlords are responsible for falls and other injuries which happen in parking lots, access areas, or other general common outdoor areas.

*Possible Defenses* Assumption of the risk and comparative fault are the two most common negligence defenses in grocery store fall claims.

Many people think if store workers erected a “Caution Wet Floor” or other warning sign, they’re ineligible for compensation. A Bellevue personal injury attorney can still obtain compensation in these situations. Warning signs just make it easier for an insurance company lawyer to prove the assumption of the risk defense. This defense applies if the victim voluntarily assumed a known risk. In the sign context, an insurance company lawyer must prove the victim saw the sign, could read the sign, and could understand what the sign meant.

Repeating a familiar theme, people with poor eyesight, cognitive skills, or English proficiency often have issues in one or more of these areas.

If it applies, assumption of the risk is an absolute defense. If it applies, comparative fault typically reduces the amount of compensation, but that is it. Washington is a pure comparative fault state. If a victim was 99%t responsible for a fall, perhaps because s/he did not watch where s/he was going, the tortfeasor is still responsible for a proportionate share of damages.

*Contact a Hard-Working 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. We routinely handle matters throughout Washington state.