Have You Been Injured on Someone Else’s Property?
In the nation’s capital, what should you do if you’re injured slipping, or tripping, and falling at a supermarket, a hotel, or a restaurant? What if you’re injured this way on public property? First, seek or summon medical attention. Then, contact a Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall attorney.
To succeed with an injury claim and recover compensation for your medical expenses and related losses, what steps will you have to take after you sustain a slip-and-fall injury? What are your rights? When should you contact the offices of a Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall lawyer?
If you will keep reading this brief discussion of slip-and-fall accidents and the law in the District of Columbia, you’ll learn the answers to these questions, and you will also learn more about your rights as the injured victim of another party’s negligence.
How Serious Are Slip-and-Fall Injuries?
Thousands are injured each year, sometimes catastrophically, in trip- or slip-and-fall accidents. These accidents are responsible for a significant percentage of the spinal cord injuries in the U.S. Slips and falls also cause back, brain, and neck injuries, broken limbs, and other serious injuries.
If you are injured in a slip-and-fall incident in the District of Columbia because a property owner was negligent, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, personal pain and suffering, and related damages and losses.
However, you will not receive that compensation automatically. You may have to prove that you were injured and that a property owner was negligent and responsible for your injury. That will require the legal advice and services that a premises liability lawyer provides.
Even if you have been seriously injured, prevailing with a premises liability claim is not easy. Property owners are not necessarily liable for every injury that occurs on their property. If your at fault, even slightly, you may not be able to prevail with a legal action.
How Do You Win a Premises Liability Case?
In the District of Columbia, you must prove that the accident and injury would not have happened if the property owner had maintained the premises in a safe condition.
Property owners in the District are obligated to take reasonable measures to keep their premises safe and hazard-free. The law seeks to balance a property owner’s duty with a visitor’s own reasonable obligation to be alert and aware of his or her surroundings.
Most premises liability claims based on slip-and-fall injuries are settled out-of-court, but if liability for a slip-and-fall accident is disputed, or if no reasonable settlement offer is forthcoming from the property owner, a Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall attorney can take your case to trial.
If Your Slip-and-Fall Case Goes to Trial
At a premises liability trial, your slip-and-fall attorney will explain to the jury how the property owner was liable, how you were injured, and the extent of your injuries. Your attorney will tell jurors why they should find in your favor and order the payment of your compensation.
Specifically, you and your attorney must show:
The owner of the property knew, or through a reasonable inspection should have known, about the hazard that injured you and neglected having it repaired or failed to adequately warn you of the hazard;
The owner of the property created, caused or was directly responsible for the hazard that injured you.
What if You’re Injured on Public Property?
The District of Columbia is obligated by law to take reasonable measures to keep its sidewalks and streets reasonably safe and hazard-free. For example, the D.C. government is required to take reasonable measures to clear hazardous ice and snow from public locations.
However, the District is not liable for ice and snow-related slip-and-fall injuries sustained during or immediately after snow falls or ice forms because the government must have a reasonable amount of time to remove snow and ice.
To prevail with a premises liability claim against the District of Columbia government, you and your lawyer will have to prove the government breached its duty by knowing about the hazard that injured you, having the time to repair it, and failing to repair it, or failing to warn of the hazard, thus causing your injury.
How is a Claim Against the Government Handled?
You can’t take the D.C. government directly to court as if it were a private individual or business. First, within six months of the date of your injury, you must notify the D.C. government – in writing – of your injury and their negligence. Have your lawyer help you prepare that written notification.
Within thirty days of receiving your notification, an investigator will be assigned to your case. If the D.C. government ultimately rejects your injury claim, or if it fails to offer you a reasonable settlement amount, your Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall lawyer may then take your case to trial.
What Else Should You Know About Slip-and-Fall Injuries?
If you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident because a property owner was negligent – whether you were injured on private or public property – reach out immediately to a Washington, D.C. premises liability lawyer as soon as you’ve been examined and treated for your injury or injuries.
If you’re taking action against a private individual or business, you have three years to file a claim based on a slip-and-fall injury, but you should not wait three years – or even three weeks – to discuss your right to compensation with a D.C. slip-and-fall attorney. Your attorney should:
- examine any evidence before it deteriorates or disappears
- speak to any witnesses before their recollections fade
- have enough time to prepare a strong, effective case on your behalf
How Can You Select the Right Attorney?
How can you select an attorney who has the experience and legal skills to win justice on your behalf? The award-winning legal team at Goldberg Finnegan has decades of experience fighting – and winning – on behalf of those who have been injured by another party’s negligence.
While no amount of money can change what has happened to our clients, they are entitled by law to monetary compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, suffering, and other losses.
If you are injured because someone else was negligent – or if you’re injured by someone else’s negligence in the future – reach out to the attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan right away by calling 301-589-2999 and scheduling a no-cost, no-obligation case review and evaluation.
If you proceed with legal action, you will owe no attorney’s fee to Goldberg Finnegan until and unless we recover compensation on your behalf.