When you get injured on someone else’s property, a legal concept known as premises liability comes into play. Premises liability states that the owner of the property could be held legally and financially liable for your injuries if they are proven negligent.
The cause of injuries must result from hazardous or dangerous conditions that the property owner reasonably knew of but neglected to fix. There are several circumstances to meet before you can hold a property owner legally liable for injuries.
There are many types of accidents that can be under premises liability, including but not limited to:
There are various factors to weigh in evaluating whether to pursue a premises liability case. The property owner may be responsible if they knew of and neglected to fix a dangerous condition. However, the property owner’s duty depends upon your legal status when you enter the land. In Washington, there are three primary classifications of people who enter the land of another:
Invitee: An invitee is someone who is invited onto the property of another for a purpose for which the owner holds the property open to the public. This can be both on public and private property, such as a store or library. A landowner owes an invitee a duty to affirmatively inspect the premises for hazards and to exercise reasonable care to protect the invitee from those hazards.
Licensee: This status indicates someone who enters the property for their own purpose, or such as a social guest. Although they may have an invitation or permission to be on the premises, there is no contractual relationship or direct benefit to the property owner. The landowner owes a duty to exercise reasonable care toward licensees. Especially if there is a dangerous condition on the property that the possessor can reasonably anticipate the licensee will not discover or realize the risks involved. This includes a duty top warn where appropriate.
Trespasser: A trespasser enters without the consent of the property owner. As a result, there is no implied promise that reasonable care has been taken to ensure the safety of the property. An owner or occupier of land owes no duty to a trespasser except to refrain from willfully or wantonly injuring the trespasser.
Under the “attractive nuisance” doctrine, property owners are responsible to take action or warn against any dangerous or hazardous features on their property that may be attract children. Therefore, they could be liable for a child’s injury even if the child trespassed. This is because children may not have the cognitive ability or maturity to understand the potential dangers on a property and the risk of their actions.
In the event you have sustained an injury on someone else’s property, seek medical attention immediately. Even if you feel fine at the moment, some injuries that won’t appear for days, or even weeks. After you have received proper medical care, it’s helpful to gather up as much evidence as you can. This includes medical bills, photographs and witness statements to help establish fault and build your case.
Next, be sure to contact a qualified and trusted Washington law firm. It’s important to consult with an attorney who is familiar with premise liability cases. Only an experienced Tacoma injury attorney can provide the legal knowledge and insight to navigate the complexity of your case.
At Evergreen Personal Injury Counsel, we have helped countless people who have suffered injuries as a result of premises liability. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more about your rights and the next steps that you should take in your quest to seek justice.