Spokane Lawyers | Spokane Slip and Fall Lawyers

Spokane Slip and Fall Lawyers

Serving Residents in Washington and Idaho

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    Slip and Fall - Paukert & Troppmann

    Spokane Slip and Fall Lawyers

    Serving Residents in Washington and Idaho

    Do you need legal help?

    Contact us for a legal consultation.


      Helping You Through Your Legal Problems

      Our Spokane, WA attorney's are here to guide you. Reach out today if you need legal help.

      Attorney Kathy Paukert is one of the most knowledgeable trial attorneys in Eastern Washington in the a area of personal injury law. She is thoughtful and helpful even when she tells you exactly how the law views your situation and it isn’t what you wanted to hear. Oftentimes, that is what you need. Also, Kathy fights hard for all her clients regardless of the size of the case.
       

      - Christine Weaver

      I have worked with Paukert and Troppmann now for nearly 15 years. This is a professional and successful legal team. I highly recommend this proficient legal group and encourage you to explore how they can support you.
       

      - Herzog Family Center

      Client Testimonials

      Learn what the community has to say about our law firm and the people who are a part of it.

      Read more reviews ➜

      Attorney Kathy Paukert is one of the most knowledgeable trial attorneys in Eastern Washington in the a area of personal injury law. She is thoughtful and helpful even when she tells you exactly how the law views your situation and it isn’t what you wanted to hear. Oftentimes, that is what you need. Also, Kathy fights hard for all her clients regardless of the size of the case.
       

      - Christine Weaver

      I have worked with Paukert and Troppmann now for nearly 15 years. This is a professional and successful legal team. I highly recommend this proficient legal group and encourage you to explore how they can support you.
       

      - Herzog Family Center

      Read more reviews ➜

      Client Testimonials

      Learn what the community has to say about our law firm and the people who are a part of it.

      Attorney Kathy Paukert is one of the most knowledgeable trial attorneys in Eastern Washington in the a area of personal injury law. She is thoughtful and helpful even when she tells you exactly how the law views your situation and it isn’t what you wanted to hear. Oftentimes, that is what you need. Also, Kathy fights hard for all her clients regardless of the size of the case.
       

      - Christine Weaver

      I have worked with Paukert and Troppmann now for nearly 15 years. This is a professional and successful legal team. I highly recommend this proficient legal group and encourage you to explore how they can support you.
       

      - Herzog Family Center

      Client Testimonials

      Learn what the community has to say about our law firm and the people who are a part of it.

      Read more reviews ➜

      Download our free injury guide!

      Learn what you should and shouldn't be doing for your personal injury case. 

      Download our free injury guide!

      Learn what you should and shouldn't be doing for your personal injury case. 

      Spokane Slip and Fall Lawyers

      Slip and fall accidents are a common cause of injury in the United States, with over 8 million emergency room visits annually, according to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI).  The CDC states that of these injuries, 3 million were suffered by older adults.

      If you’re reading this, you may have been injured in a slip and fall. You may still be dealing with pain. You’ve probably missed enough work to cause you concern overpaying the bills. And you are probably wondering who to trust to help you with a slip and fall claim.

      We are here to help with free legal advice. Call our Spokane slip and fall lawyers today.

      Don’t let worry over having money up-front to pay for answers keep you from contacting us. Give us a call any time and schedule a free legal consultation.

      What is Involved in a Slip and Fall Claim

      Establishing a Duty of Care

      The first part of a slip and fall claim involves establishing a duty of care. This term refers to the responsibility on the part of a store owner, employer, or other entity to maintain safe conditions for the people who visit or occupy their property.

      Assigning Fault

      Once it is proven that the defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff in the case, it must be proven that the defendant breached that duty. This means it must be shown that they failed to provide the expected level of safety for the plaintiff. This might happen because of something the defendant did, or something they failed to do. The accident investigation will play a big role in establishing who is at fault in the accident.

      In addition, the State of Washington follows the comparative negligence model. This means that a person who has been injured due to the negligence of another can file a claim for compensation, even if that plaintiff also bears partial responsibility for the accident. Should it be found that the plaintiff is in fact partially at-fault, the amount they qualify to recover in compensation will be lowered by the percentage of fault they bear.

      For instance, if the damages for a slip and fall injury are determined to be $10,000 and the plaintiff is determined to be 25% at-fault, the most they will be eligible to recover is $7,500.

      Assignment of fault is not the end of the story, however. Once responsibility is established for the accident, it must be proven that the accident caused harm to the plaintiff.

      Proof of Harm

      When someone is injured in a slip and fall, proving the harm they suffered can be a complex process and often involves the insurance company’s use of a damages formula. This formula will address compensation for both economic and non-economic damages.

       

      How Can a Spokane Slip and Fall Attorney Help Me?

      Many people make the mistake of thinking they will save money by handling their claim on their own without a lawyer. Statistically, however, this has not been the case. The majority of people who don’t hire a lawyer to handle their slip and fall claim receive many times less than those with experienced personal injury attorneys. Thus, contrary to what you may think, hiring a lawyer is most likely going to bring you a larger award than going it alone.

      There are several ways a lawyer can help you get the largest possible settlement; most of them relate to the ability to preserve the value of your claim.

      Our Spokane Slip and Fall Lawyers Can Protect the Value of Your Claim

      One of the primary ways hiring a Spokane slip and fall lawyer can protect the value of your claim is in communicating with the insurance company on your behalf.

       While insurance companies are not necessarily the “Big Bad Wolf,” they are businesses, and they stay in business by bringing in more in premiums than they pay out in benefits. They accept your premium payments “gambling” that you won’t get injured to a significant degree or frequency, and you pay them premium payments gambling that you will one day get hurt and need their help.

      To protect their profit margin, insurance companies use numerous methods to identify and prevent fraudulent claims. One of these involves calling a claimant after they’ve been injured and requesting permission to record their statement about the accident. It’s important not to agree to this.

      Insurance adjusters are well trained at eliciting responses from the injured person that will enable them to lower the value of the person’s claim. As someone who is likely not in the insurance industry and probably in a vulnerable position, having just been injured, you are at great risk of accidentally saying the wrong thing during such a conversation. Your Spokane slip and fall lawyers, however, will know just what to say to the insurance company, as well as what not to say to preserve the value of your claim

      Another way hiring a lawyer can help you is by providing the insurance company the incentive to settle.

      You may be a brilliant negotiator, and you are no doubt highly intelligent. But when you are still recovering from a slip and fall injury, you’re probably not at your best, and you’re very likely feeling vulnerable not only physically, but emotionally and intellectually. This can interfere with both your confidence and your objectivity.

      You’re probably also in a hurry to get this claim done, so you can stop worrying about paying the bills. This leads to desperation, which can cause you to jump at the first lowball offer that comes your way.

      Add to these factors the most important factor, that unfortunately, the insurance company is not afraid of you, and you may begin to see how hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you.

      When you hire a seasoned Spokane slip and fall lawyer, the insurance company is going to know they can’t wear you down with delays and denials in hopes you’ll just go away. They can’t just toss out a lowball offer, because your lawyer will be there to let you know it’s not worth considering. And they’ll know that if they don’t offer you a fair settlement, they’ll be sued in court.

      Your Spokane slip and fall lawyers will guide you with the experienced professional objectivity to wade through the claims process with confidence. They’ll see insurance company’s attempts to lower your claim for the money-saving tactic that it is and protect the value of your claim.

      Our Spokane Slip and Fall Lawyers Will Take Care of Your Claim So You Can Take Care of Yourself

      Possibly the most important way hiring a slip and fall lawyer helps you is by taking the hassle of handling your own claim off your shoulders so you can focus on rest and recovery. You won’t have to wait to begin your claim until you’re feeling up to it; your attorney will get started right away while you recover. 

      How to Help Maintain the Value of Your Slip and Fall Case

      There are several things you can do to help preserve the value of your claim. Examples of these include getting to the doctor right away, letting your attorney speak to the insurance company on your behalf, hiring your attorney as soon as possible, and making sure that attorney is the right fit for you.

      Get a Medical Exam as Soon as Possible

      People are often embarrassed when they have a slip and fall. While there’s no need to feel embarrassed, this reaction can prevent people from telling anyone they may be more seriously injured than they initially let on.

      Even if you don’t feel seriously injured right away, it’s crucial to get examined to make sure. The flood of stress hormones that comes with a slip and fall can mask pain to a large degree, making it difficult to tell just how hurt you are. According to the CDC, one in five slip and fall accidents causes serious injury, such as a head injury or broken bones. It’s important to make sure you aren’t hurt more than you realize to protect your health.

      When you get a medical exam, you’re also helping to protect the value of your slip and fall claim. The exam will generate an official record of your injuries and when you saw the doctor. The closer the dates of the accident and your exam are to each other, the stronger the proof that the accident caused your injury.

      The last thing you want when you’ve been seriously hurt in a slip and fall is for the insurance company to be able to challenge your claim based on a gap between incident and diagnosis. Make sure you get an exam as quickly as possible after the accident.  

      Don’t give a Recorded Statement to the Insurance Company

      We’ve already emphasized how turning over communications with the insurance agency to your lawyer can preserve the value of your claim, but it’s worth calling out here as its own preventative measure. Delegating communications with the insurance agency to your Spokane slip and fall lawyers will relieve you of stress while assuring you that your claim is being handled properly and maintaining its value.

      Don’t Wait to Retain an Attorney

      It’s true that you must make sure you don’t miss the deadline for filing your claim, but long before you need to worry about the filing deadline, you’ve got to make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to gather evidence.

      Accident scenes get cleared away and witnesses can become impossible to locate long before you reach the filing deadline of your claim. Your slip and fall lawyer will want the chance to gather as much evidence to support your claim as possible, including gathering witness testimony. The longer you wait, the less successful your lawyer is likely to be. Even if witnesses are located after months pass, their recall of important details won’t be what it was right after the accident.

      When you hire an attorney as quickly as possible after the accident, you give them the best chance to build you a strong case. If you don’t feel well enough to do an online search for slip and fall lawyers after your injury, you can ask a loved one or friend to help. They will probably be happy to have this way to help you get through such a difficult time.

      Be Sure Your Lawyer is the Best Fit for Your Claim

      Don’t make the mistake of assuming any lawyer is as good as the next. The attorney who can help you the most is going to be a personal injury trial lawyer who has successful experience handling slip and fall claims.

      Like doctors, there are many professional specializations a lawyer can choose from. An attorney whose main focus is family law is not going to be as helpful to you as one whose main focus is personal injury.

      In addition, be sure to hire a trial lawyer with a successful record in the courtroom. While most claims are resolved via settlement, some need to go before a jury to bring you the compensation you deserve. If your claim turns out to be one of them, you’re going to need a lawyer who can’t wait to fight for you, whether at the negotiating table or in the court room.

      Spokane Slip and Fall Client Story

      We are sharing the client story below to give you an idea of what to expect in a slip and fall claim. Though we’ve changed the names and details to protect the privacy of our client, the story provides a helpful illustration. Please read it through, then give us a call to discuss your specific claim.

      On a chilly evening in Spokane not so long ago, Ray and Irma Barnes set out for their favorite event of the week: Date Night. Irma chuckled as Ray helped her into her coat, and he asked, “Are you that ticklish now?”

      His wife of 52 years was, for the record, on the extreme end of the ticklish scale, if such a scale exists.

      “Just remembering what Cathy said on the phone this morning when she asked if we had plans for our Friday night and I said, “Grocery shopping.”

      “Lemmie guess, she called us ‘old fuddie-duddies,” Ray smiled.

      “No — she said she and Joe have begun doing the same thing. They have an enjoyable but affordable dinner and then they go grocery shopping together! We may be getting on in years, Ray, but so are the kids. I think some of our old-fashioned advice is finally making sense to them!”

      “Hey, by shopping right after our dinner date, we keep ourselves from buying everything in sight out of hunger. Works for me!” said Ray, pulling on his own jacket.

      “Well, it looks like we’ve started a family tradition,” Irma smiled as they got into their old but well-maintained blue Chevy Malibu and backed out of the driveway.

      When they arrived at the store, they put their shopping clipboard on the seat in the front of their cart and began their circuit around the store, starting in the health and beauty section. They progressed through the aisles, following Irma’s shopping “map” — a page of columns according to the layout of the store. It started in health and beauty and finished in produce.

      Ray liked to tease his wife about her fussy list, but he knew having it laid out in the path they always followed helped him locate the aisles each item was in — Irma had included the aisle numbers at the top of each section — fussy, maybe, but brilliant. This was especially useful when he went to the store by himself, though he wasn’t likely to ever admit it. All told, Irma’s clipboard was as efficient as grocery shopping was likely to get, short of ordering online and having “some kid” drop it all off.

      One evening when Ray had grumped about shopping, Irma suggested they try ordering online. That put a stop to the grumping. “I don’t need some kid touching all over my groceries and breaking my eggs,” he’d grumped. They probably pick out all the stuff that’s about to expire.

      Grump, grump, but Irma knew Ray didn’t really mind. The trick was to feed him first, so he wasn’t hungry. They’d been married long enough that dinner and groceries didn’t strike Ray as odd. Two birds, one stone. Like that. She cherished having a marriage in which just being together, whatever they were doing, was enjoyable.

      Ray wasn’t a big talker, but she knew he felt the same way.

      They were in the produce aisle when Irma realized she’d forgotten the peanut butter. Ray was busy doing his “magical melon detection — which sounded a lot more fun than it was — so Irma left him there with the cart. “I’ll be right back,” she promised.

      As Ray waited for his wife, a small crowd of other shoppers gathered at his cart, observing. They asked for him to share the secret to knowing when a melon was ripe, and off he went. He bestowed his sage advice on the telling aspects of ripe watermelons, cantaloupe, and honeydew.

      The crowd was so enthralled someone asked about pineapples, and he decided to treat them to a short bonus lesson (even though a pineapple is not a melon). He was a minute into his pineapple dissertation when he heard his name called over the loudspeaker.

      Ray found his wife lying on the cold concrete floor of the peanut butter, jelly, and coffee aisle, with a grocery “kid” beside her, holding her hand and speaking quietly. She was conscious but distraught. A yard-long smear of grape jelly trailed from her right heel back to the sticky puddle it originated from. A broken jar hunkered in a bigger puddle against the base of the bottom shelf of preserves.

      “I guess I must have slipped,” she told Ray apologetically as tears streamed down her cheeks. Her hands fluttered as if she would try to get up, but the kid gently held her back.

      “You need to lie still, Mrs. Barnes. Help is on the way.” To Ray’s horror, he noticed a small pool of blood at the back of his wife’s head.

      “Don’t you move now, Sweetheart,” Ray said, his cart forgotten in produce beside the pineapples “Everything will be all right.”

      “I guess I must have slipped,” Irma said again as Ray wiped her tears. He kissed her hand and felt his own eyes welling up.

      Emergency medical technicians arrived within minutes and Irma was whisked off to the hospital. The kid in the grocery apron took Ray gently by the arm and guided him out to an ancient Camry. Ray obediently sat in the passenger’s seat as if in a trance. The clerk fastened his seatbelt, hopped behind the wheel, and pulled out of the parking lot.

      As the trees flashed by, so did fleeting pictures of Ray’s life with Irma, and he grew very afraid. They’d been together since high school. He couldn’t imagine his life without her.

      The hospital was not far away. The clerk pulled up to the emergency entrance and came around to help Ray out of the vehicle.

      “How old are you, son?” Ray asked as he got his feet under him.

      “Nineteen, Sir,” said the clerk, turning Ray to the sliding doors. An impressive young man, Ray thought absently as he allowed himself to be guided into the hospital like a child.

      Irma was treated for a scalp wound and assigned a room in acute care. She’d sustained a significant blow to the head and the doctors were talking about a traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

      Thankfully, the couple’s oldest daughter Cathy lived in town and arrived not long after Ray called her. Between all the paperwork the registration nurse was shoving at him and his worry over Irma, Ray could barely comprehend what was going on, but Cathy was there and took care of it.

      Irma was kept in the hospital for three weeks before being transferred to a rehabilitation facility to continue with brain injury rehabilitation. Ray was beyond relieved to still have his wife with him, but also overwhelmed with worry over her recovery. She still knew who he was, thankfully, but was having lapses in her short-term memory, and she’d somehow forgotten how to feed herself, read, and write.

      The doctor explained that Irma’s symptoms were signs of a mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury. He said her recovery would be a “marathon rather than a sprint,” and reminded Ray to “take it one day at a time.” Ray was so tired of aphorisms and analogies, he could spit.

      Personal Injury Attorney Douglass C. McDermott met with Irma, Ray, and Cathy during Irma’s first week in the rehabilitation center after one of Cathy’s coworkers recommended she call the law firm of Paukert and Troppmann. Ray was uncertain about the idea of hiring a lawyer, but Cathy explained that without pursuing a claim, Ray could quickly find their savings dwindling as he struggled to keep up with medical bills.

      How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?

      “I don’t know about this lawyer business,” Ray said, doubtfully after shaking Attorney McDermott’s hand. How much are you going to charge us?”

      Attorney McDermott explained that the firm works on a contingency fee model. “We pay for all the expenses of your claim, Mr. Barnes. This includes the accident investigation, research, administration, whatever comes up as we go. And if your claim should need to go before a jury to bring Irma the compensation she deserves, Paukert and Troppmann will also cover litigation expenses.”

      “Well, when do you get paid?” Ray asked, looking at the lawyer skeptically.

      “We only receive compensation when we resolve Irma’s claim successfully,” said McDermott.

      “Huh…” Ray said, considering it as he held his wife’s hand. She’d been sleeping when McDermott arrived and was just now waking up.

      What is my slip and fall claim worth?

      “Jeremy?” Irma asked, blinking to get her bearings. “Ray, it’s Jeremy!” She said, smiling.

      “This is Mr. McDermott, Irma, come to visit you,” Ray said gently as an aide bustled in to set a lunch tray before her. Thankfully, Irma quickly shifted her attention to Cathy as she helped her mom eat.

      Ray quietly told Attorney McDermott, “Jeremy is her oldest brother. He died in Korea in 1952. Since the accident, she gets confused. The doctor said her short-term memory may improve as her brain heals, but we won’t know how much for a while yet.” He sadly shook his head. “Medical bills piling up. Cathy says filing a claim can help us pay for all the expenses. Is that true? What is a claim like Irma’s worth?”

      “It’s not going to be possible to tell you what your wife’s claim is worth until we have more information, Mr. Barnes,” said McDermott. “First, we’ll need to do an accident investigation to confirm all the details of how your wife was injured and clearly establish the at-fault party. 

      “After that, we’ll need to wait until Irma reaches ‘maximum medical improvement’ to know the value of her claim. The term means recovering back to the highest level she can reach, considering her injuries.

      “Of course, we hope her maximum medical improvement will be all the way back to her level of health before the accident. This is the ideal. If she is not able to get that far however, then your wife’s maximum medical improvement will be reached when she’s recovered as much as she’s capable of recovering. Getting there will also mean she’s through with surgeries and that her doctors have a clear idea of what the future care of her injuries will involve,” said Attorney McDermott.

      “When Irma reaches maximum medical improvement, we’ll know what her damages are. When we know what her damages are, we’ll be able to tell you the value of her claim,” said Attorney McDermott.

      “The beauty of hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer is that you don’t have to deal with all the paperwork and stress of handling her claim on your own. We take care of all of everything involved in her claim. Irma’s only job will be to get better, and your job will be to help her do that.

      “This is the way to a truly reliable case value,” said McDermott. “I advise you to be skeptical of any attorney who pulls a case value out of thin air for you without this information; It’s simply irresponsible.”

      How long does a slip and fall claim take?

      “I do appreciate your honesty,” said Ray.

      Cathy, who’d been listening from her mother’s bedside, asked, “Can you give us an idea how long Mom’s claim will take? With any luck, we’ll be able to bring her home in three weeks to continue rehabilitation as an outpatient, but I don’t suppose that has any bearing on her case timeline.”

      “As with determining the case value, Irma’s case timeline will depend on a couple of factors,” McDermott answered. “The first is how long it takes Irma to reach maximum medical improvement. As the doctors have likely told you with a TBI, it can take months.”

      “It doesn’t help that she’s over 40, said Ray. The doctors, they said she was very lucky. I don’t know what I’d do…” he couldn’t finish.

      Attorney McDermott nodded and patted Ray’s shoulder. “You two are truly blessed to have such a wonderful marriage.”

      “What happens once Irma reaches maximum medical improvement? You said there were a couple of factors, what is the other one?” Asked Ray.

      “When she gets to maximum medical improvement and we know Irma’s damages, we’ll send a demand letter to the insurance company,” said McDermott. “After that, the timeline of her case is going to hinge on whether they see the wisdom in working out a reasonable settlement. If they do, you’re all set. If they refuse to make a fair offer, we’ll sue them in court.

      “This is not something to worry about, though,” said McDermott. “Our firm has a long, successful record of winning personal injury claims involving slips and falls as well as claims involving traumatic brain injury. Our attorneys are extremely competent, both in negotiation and in the courtroom.

      “The insurance company is very likely familiar with our reputation. They may decide to settle to avoid a showdown in the courtroom. But no matter which way your claim goes Mr. Barnes, be assured we’ll be prepared to aggressively pursue the compensation Irma deserves. That’s why whether you retain Paukert and Troppmann or another firm for your wife’s claim, I urge you to hire a personal injury trial lawyer. That way, you’ll be ready for any contingency.”

      “Such a handsome young man. You remind me of my brother Jeremy,” Irma smiled, suddenly getting her bearings. “He died in the Korean War. Ray, doesn’t this handsome young man remind you of Jeremy?”

      “Yes, he does,” Ray smiled, “Yes, he does.”

      Ray, Irma, and Cathy were satisfied with the information they received in their free legal consultation about Irma’s claim. Ray retained Paukert and Troppmann, and Attorney McDermott won Irma’s claim in court, bringing her an award over six times higher than the amount the insurance company initially offered.

      Call Our Spokane Slip and Fall Lawyers Today

      We hope the information above has given you helpful insight into slip and falls claims. Since every case is unique, we urge you to contact our Spokane slip and fall lawyers to schedule your free legal consultation as soon as possible.

      Client Reviews

      Attorney Kathy Paukert is one of the most knowledgeable trial attorneys in Eastern Washington in the a area of personal injury law. She is thoughtful and helpful even when she tells you exactly how the law views your situation and it isn’t what you wanted to hear. Oftentimes, that is what you need. Also, Kathy fights hard for all her clients regardless of the size of the case.

      Christine Weaver

      Read More Reviews