In the Washington State, the court follows the “pure comparative fault” policy in slip and fall claims in which the injured individual has been found to be at fault to some degree for their injury. This would decrease the damages an injured individual could recover, according to the percentage of fault the court assigns to the claimant.
How The Pure Comparative Fault Rule Works
Let’s say that you’re in a café waiting in line to order a cup of coffee. You were busy perusing the menu and failed to see a puddle of coffee that was spilt by another customer somewhere in front of the line. You then slip and fall in the coffee puddle and sustain injuries. When you file a lawsuit against the café or an insurance claim, the jury or insurance adjuster would evaluate your claim to determine how much to award you. Let’s say that they decide to award you damages amounting to $20,000 for your hospital bills, missed wages, and related damages. They likewise decide that the slip and fall accident was 10% your fault.
Under the pure comparative fault policy, your award would be 10% less, which is the percentage of fault assigned to you by the jury. In the example above, this means that you could only obtain $18,000 — that’s $20,000 minus $2,000, which is the 10% fault assigned to you. In a personal injury lawsuit, the court would definitely observe the pure comparative fault policy.
Do note that because of this rule, the calculation would still be the same regardless of the percentage of fault the court assigns to you, explains an experienced personal injury and criminal defense attorney in Marysville. For instance, if you were found to be 90% at fault for your slip and fall accident, you might still be able to receive $2,000 from another party that’s at fault.
Time is of the Essence
Timing is crucial when filing a slip and fall claim. Immediately after your accident, you need to gather sufficient information about the hazard that caused the accident and if you could, find witnesses to the accident. If the owner of the property where you were injured knew about the slip and fall hazard or should’ve reasonably known of potential hazards, they must be held responsible for your accident.
Speak to an experienced attorney as soon as you can, following your accident to help secure the damage award you’re legally entitled to.