How Are Slip And Fall Laws Different In The U.S. Capitol?

Washington DC is known for having some of the most liberal, progressive laws in the entire nation — so much so, in fact, that about 90 percent of the city’s residents tend to vote Democrat, and most are also in favor of DC statehood. What do those laws say about work, construction, or curbside slip and fall accidents in the city? There are a few statutes to keep in mind, and you’ll want to get moving fast if you want to build a lawsuit.

Generally, it’s important to determine where the slip and fall occurred — not location-wise, but ownership-wise. Obviously, there’s nothing you can do if you have an accident at home when you own the building. But let’s say you’re leasing a unit from a landlord, and that landlord didn’t make necessary repairs to prevent your accident and injury. The landlord might be liable.

Similarly, if you take a tumble on a DC street or sidewalk, the municipality or even business owner might be financially responsible depending on where the accident occurred. Any question on who might be responsible? Find yourself a personal injury lawyer for help.

After you’ve determined who might be responsible for your slip and fall, it’s time to take a look at the laws. DC employs a “contributory negligence” statute that might reduce or eliminate your case’s merit if you were even partially responsible for the accident. For example, if you get into a fight on the street and trip over a pothole, then you’re out of luck — because the accident was partly on you. Your negligence contributed to the injury.

You might not have contributed to the accident, but the defendant of the lawsuit is almost certain to counter your case by arguing you did. That’s why it’s so important to keep impeccable documentation, including police statements, witness testimony, pictures, a written statement of what happened in your own words (and perhaps a journal), and medical bills. Washington DC doesn’t allow “comparative negligence” in personal injury cases, which means your award won’t be reduced by a percentage of the blame assigned to you.

But that’s not good news. DC’s contributory negligence means you get nothing if you have any amount of blame. It’s one of the less liberal-friendly DC statutes.

Then there is that phrase everyone hates to hear: “statute of limitations.” This puts a cap on the amount of time you have to build a case, starting from the time of the accident. DC’s personal injury or property damage statute of limitations is set at three years. You might have more or less time depending on circumstances, so discuss the details with your lawyer. 

How do you win a slip and fall case? Like any personal injury case, you need to prove that another party’s negligence resulted in your accident. For example, if the city knew about a pothole you tripped over but failed to fill it in a timely fashion, then you have a good case. The trick is actually proving that the city knew about the pothole. 

What Do I Do If I Slip And Fall At A Friend’s House? Can I Sue Them?

If you happen to be at a friend’s house, and you slip and fall at their home, you might wonder if you can actually sue them for damages that have been done. Although this is something that people would not typically do, it is possible that the damages that you have experience can prevent you from going to work, and will cause you to go to a doctor which can be very expensive. There is also the possibility that you may not be able to recover for many weeks or months. You will not be able to generate any income during this time. As a result of this, you may find yourself in a situation where you have no other choice but to consider the possibility of suing your friend if you slipped and fell at their home.

Is This Something That Is Easy To Do?

If you decide to do this, and you hire a lawyer to help you, they will likely sue your friend by going after the insurance company that provides them with homeowners insurance. It is also possible that they may consider legal action against your friend, and the assets that they have, in order to help you receive some type of compensation. If it can be proven that it is their fault that the slip and fall occurred, they will be liable for the damages that are done. Under the premises liability law, it is possible to look at any hazardous conditions at a home which led to the injury, allowing them to pursue legal action and file an insurance claim area

How The Premises Liability Law Works

This law will actually look at the relationship between the injured victim and the owner of the home. Lawyers will try to determine if there was negligence on the part of the homeowner. In most cases, the person that was injured was given permission to be in the home by the homeowner. If that is the case, it is their responsibility to warn you of any potential dangers that could lead to an accident. Of course, this would only pertain to conditions that they would reasonably know about, not random occurrences that could not be predicted. Your lawyer will be able to assess what has happened, and if they can, they will prove that the homeowner was negligent. At the very least, you can pursue reimbursement for the doctor or hospital bills that you will accrue as a result of your injuries. This is something that a friend would likely help you with, but if not, you may have to pursue legal action.