Gas Stations don’t always focus on the fuel these days. Big service stations around Spokane are serving up burgers, burritos, ice cream, lattes, and some even have a section for aspirin and allergy medicine.
Giant stations around Spokane like Maverik are trying to meet every need by becoming restaurants and grocery stores all in one. Convenience stores are truly convenient nowadays. But as they grow in size, the duty of any business to keep its customers safe is more important than ever.
Gas Station Accidents in Spokane
When you’re filling up or ordering a sandwich at Maverik, you may not pay attention to each step you take. From the pumps to the floors inside and even the bathrooms, there are constant hazards that can send you to the ground. Other customers can be careless and drop anything on the floor and vehicles can leak all over the parking lot.
These slip and fall hazards can be harmless until you don’t spot them and your foot hits them just right. You can hit the pavement or the hard floor in a flash. The injuries can land you in the hospital and even rob you of your mobility.
It’s important to remember the gas station owners and operators are required by state law to provide a clean and safe environment for anyone on their property. These mandates fall under Premises Liability laws. They’ve invited you to their store and it’s their responsibility to remove any hazards.
Common Gas Station Accident Hazards
As gas stations transform into restaurants and mini Walmarts the possibilities of an accident only increase. More customers zipping in and out can always leave more debris and drinks spilled. The more aisles a store has the more stuff that can wind up on the floor.
Here are just a few of the hazards these new mega-gas stations can throw in front of you:
- Spills – Gas stations, like any restaurant, can leave 48oz drinks or ketchup spilled on the floors. The area around the gas pumps is especially dangerous. One of the most slippery substances on earth is motor oil. These deposits build up with each new car that pulls up.
- The parking lot – Broken pavement, unsafe steps, ice and snow can trip you up before you even reach the front doors.
- Floor Hazards – Broken Tiles, uneven surfaces, or even a misplaced floor mat can send you sprawling.
- Merchandise In The Aisles – Careless stockers leave items on the floor. Just small enough for your eyes to miss. You walk right into a box or other item and take a tumble.
- Criminal Activity – Beyond falls, if you are the victim of a crime at a Maverik location the owners can be held liable. Perhaps the store operators didn’t have proper lighting that led to you getting robbed or assaulted. Operators can even be liable if they don’t warn you about a high incidence of crime in the area.
What to Do if You Are An Accident Victim at a Gas Station
If you are injured during a visit to a Maverik location, it’s important to remember that you have up to three years to file a claim over the incident. It’s not recommended to wait this long to file because the longer you wait the harder it will be to round up evidence, locate witnesses, and gather important documents.
You will need to build a strong case to get compensation for your injuries, recovery, and financial losses from missing work. Building your case begins right after an accident. You will need to prove one of two things. Either that the owner and operators of the store created the hazard that sent you into a painful fall or that the owner knew or should have known about the hazard but didn’t correct it in a reasonable amount of time.
If possible, take these steps to build your case after an accident or incident:
- Report the incident. Immediately report the accident to the manager and owner or the nearest person of authority, and complete an accident report if one is available. After this report, don’t talk to the store owners or their insurance companies again. They only want to get statements from you to weaken your case.
- Talk to witnesses. Get their contact information.
- Take pictures. Take a picture of where the slip and fall accident happened because the factors that caused your accident can easily be cleaned up or repaired, erasing the evidence.
- Seek medical attention. If injuries are severe, you may need to be transported by ambulance to a trauma center. Schedule an appointment with your doctor and have every symptom documented.
Comparative Negligence in Washington State
You may be embarrassed by your fall and you may even feel you were partly to blame. But did you know, you can still file a claim if you are partially at fault? The State of Washington allows for comparative negligence. This means you take a percentage of the blame for your injuries and a gas station owner and/or parent company is responsible for personal damages equal to their percentage of fault. You can still get compensation to help with your losses and bills it just may be reduced by your percentage of responsibility.
Contact a Spokane Premises Liability Attorney
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident at a gas station you will need to ensure your recovery is provided for by those responsible for your fall. If a gas station is part of a national chain you might be forced to face a nationwide corporation and their team of lawyers. It’s important to have an experienced Spokane attorney on your side to level the playing field.
Established in Spokane in 1948, Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S. is committed to providing our clients with the absolute highest quality legal representation. If our Premises Liability Lawyers represent you for your accident case, you have our assurance that we will use our absolute best efforts to win your case. Contact us after any accident resulting in a serious injury for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation. We will only offer you advice which is in your best interest.