Do I Have a Premises Liability Claim?
Premises liability is a legal concept in personal injury law that holds an owner responsible for hazardous conditions on their property. These types of accidents can happen on residential, public, or government property due to a wide range of circumstances. Critically, every property owner has a duty to ensure their premises are kept in reasonably safe condition — if they fail to do so, they may be held liable by a personal injury claim brought on by the victim for any injuries that occur as a result.
When Does Premises Liability Arise?
Premises liability can arise when a property owner’s failure to maintain their property causes injury to a guest or invitee. To hold an owner accountable for an injury that occurred on their property, a victim must prove that the accident happened because of the owner’s negligence. In other words, they must establish that the owner knew or should have known about a hazard on the property and failed to remedy or warn about it.
In addition, a victim must show that they incurred damages as a result of the property owner’s negligence in order to pursue a legal claim. The harm suffered must be a direct result of the owner’s failure to maintain premises free from dangerous conditions.
Common Reasons for Premises Liability Claims
From snow and ice slip and falls to trip and falls on uneven sidewalks, there are many different types of personal injury cases that can be based on premises liability. For instance, a premises liability claim can occur due to a slip and fall at a supermarket or a trip and fall on the sidewalk. They may arise at a restaurant, retail store, amusement park, office building, apartment complex, hotel, swimming pool, and various other locations.
Some common reasons a premises liability claim can arise may include the following:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Trip and fall hazards
- Dog attacks
- Lack of security
- Poor maintenance
- Inadequate lighting
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Stairwell accidents
- Balcony or ceiling collapses
A premises liability claim can be filed for a broad scope of scenarios. In addition, the reasonable actions a property owner is required to take to keep their property safe will depend upon the specific defect or hazard that is present. For example, a store owner might need to place a wet floor sign after a floor has been mopped to warn customers that the surface is slippery. The owner of a parking lot may have to use ice melt or shovel to prevent slip and falls from occurring.
While an owner cannot be held responsible for every accident that might occur on their property, they can be held liable if they failed to take reasonable safety measures under the specific circumstances of the case. Notably, there can be several different parties who may also be held liable in a premises liability lawsuit. If the accident happened on government property, a municipality may be named in the action. Other potentially liable parties can include a property management company or any other party who was responsible for maintaining the premises.
Compensation for Premises Liability Claims
An accident on someone else’s property can result in severe injury to a victim. Depending upon the facts of the case, injuries on the premises of another can include broken bones, fractures, nerve damage, paralysis, traumatic brain injury, and soft tissue injuries. Often, these injuries require a victim to undergo extensive medical treatment, including physical therapy and sometimes surgery. A victim may also be unable to work as their injuries heal, engage in their daily activities, or spend time doing the things they once enjoyed.
If a victim can show that the property owner’s negligence was to blame for their injuries, they may be entitled to compensation for their economic and non-economic damages. Under Washington law, a premises liability victim might be eligible to recover their accident-related monetary losses in connection with their medical expenses, lost wages, future lost earnings, out-of-pocket costs, and property damage. They may also be able to recover monetary compensation for the pain and suffering they experienced as a result of the accident.
It's crucial to understand that there is a strict three-year statute of limitations in Washington to pursue a premises liability claim. Generally, a victim only has three years from the date the accident occurred to commence a lawsuit against the property owner. In some cases, the statute of limitations may be tolled or paused, such as if the victim was under 18 at the time of the accident or the defendant was out of the state for a period of time.
Contact an Experienced Washington Premises Liability Attorney
Facing a premises liability claim can be stressful and emotionally overwhelming. It’s essential to have an experienced legal advocate by your side who can take the burden off your shoulders and work to recover the maximum compensation you deserve. With locations in Burien and Bellevue, Herron Law Office, PLLC is dedicated to providing reliable representation to premises liability accident victims throughout the state of Washington. We welcome you to contact us for a consultation by calling (425) 600-2580.