Slip and Fall
The Seattle-Tacoma region has had a lot of snow and ice in the past few months. If you have slipped and fallen on snow or ice and injured yourself, you may have a claim against the property owner. This is because the owner has a duty to make sure their property is free of hazards that can cause you to be injured. In other words, they have a duty to clear the area of snow and ice.
Slip and fall cases can be difficult to prove because an important element of proving the landowner’s fault is proving that the owner had notice that there was likely going to be a dangerous condition. Obviously, it is likely and foreseeable that there will be snow and ice in winter in Western Washington.
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Still, the more evidence that you can find to support your position that the landowner either knew or should have known that you were could be hurt by snow or ice, the better your case will be. Producing weather reports that shows snow or ice was in the forecast is important. In some instances, the landowner will contract out with a third party company to do the snow removal or ice removal for them. It’s important to get the contract between the landowner or building owner and the third party company responsible for clearing the snow or ice so you know what the company was supposed to do.
Here are the most common places people slip and fall on snow or ice:
· Apartment complexes
· Grocery store parking lots
· Walmart parking lots
· Target parking lots
· Office building parking lots
If you have slipped and fallen on snow or ice at one of these places, it’s important that you do two things. First, takes pictures of the conditions and save them on your phone. It’s also a good idea to upload them to the cloud so you don’t lose them. Second, it’s important to see a doctor or chiropractor immediately to let them know you are there because of your slip and fall.
While these cases are difficult to prove, you can win them. It is also important to understand that you need to be aware of your legal status when you were on the property since the business owner will owe you different duties. The different statuses are:
An invitee is someone who is invited onto the property. This is a guest or someone who lives on the property. If you are at a shopping mall or Walmart when you slip and fall, you are an invitee since businesses have invited you onto the property. If you are working on the property when you slip and fall, then you are considered a licensee since you are licensed to work on the property by the property owner. In both of those cases, the owner of the building or parking lot has a duty to make sure that the area is free of snow or ice so you don’t slip and fall.
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However, if you are on the property as a trespasser, then the property owner has no duty to make the property safe for you and clear the snow and ice. What is an example of a trespasser? This is someone who is not legally supposed to be on the property. For example, if someone hopped a fence and got onto a property that is clearly closed off from the public and then the person slipped on black ice and got injured, that person would not have a claim against the owner of the building because they were not considered an invitee or licensee. They were trespassing.
If you have questions or concerns about your case, feel free to give us a call so we can explain whether you have a valid claim.