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If You Were Injured On Another's Property, You May Have A Premises Liability Claim

There are many ways a person may be injured on another’s property. Some of the most common types of premises liability claims include:

  • Slip & fall on a wet floor 
  • Slip & fall on icy sidewalk or roadway 
  • Trip on sidewalk 
  • Hit by a falling object 
  • Dog Bites 
  • Swimming pool accidents 
  • Structural collapse such as of a deck

Premises liability laws hold property owners and in some instances renters/leasers, liable for injuries caused to another person on their property. This is because property owners have a legal duty to maintain their property in a safe condition so that people who come onto their property do not suffer an injury. Therefore, if the property owner is aware of, or should reasonably be aware of, an unsafe condition, they have a legal duty to either repair the unsafe condition or warn people of the danger.

Status of Injured Victim

A person’s legal status in premises liability cases defines the right the person has to be present on the property of another. The legal status of the injured person plays a significant role in determining to what extent the property owner is liable for injuries. There are three generally accepted legal statuses in Washington state:

  1. Invitee – a person who is invited onto the property for a business purpose of the property owner. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to protect invitees onto their property. They must exercise ordinary care to protect invitees from hazards and dangers on the property. 
  2. Licensee – enters the property for his own purposes and is present with the implied consent of the owner. The duty owed by property owners to a licensee is a lower standard than the duty owed to invitees on the property. 
  3. Trespasser – enters the property without any right whatsoever and without the consent of the owner. Property owners only have a duty to refrain from willfully or wantonly injuring trespassers on their property.

One common exception to the general rule that no duty of care is owed to trespassers on the property is called the attractive nuisance exception. Property owners should anticipate that children may be attracted to a feature of or on the property (ex: swimming pool, trampoline, play structure, etc.) even if they do not have permission to be on the property and thus owe a higher duty of care when a child is injured by an attractive nuisance.

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42,114 Slip, Trip & Fall Related Deaths Occurred in 2020
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More Than 6.8 Million People were Treated in Hospitals for Falls in 2019
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Falls are the Most Common Cause of Traumatic Brain Injury
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What is The Statute of Limitations?

There is a time limit to bring legal action for personal injury claims in Washington State. In most cases, the personal injury statute of limitations in Washington is three (3) years from the date of the injury. However, the statute of limitations may differ depending on the specific facts and type of the case.

If an injured victim fails to either settle their case or file a lawsuit against the correct defendant before the statute of limitations lapses, they will be barred from receiving compensation for their injuries.  This is why it is important to consult with an experienced premises liability lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you do not miss any important deadlines that will affect your case or prevent you from recovering. 

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What Damages Are Available?

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Economic Damages

Economic damages compensate the injured victim for actual monetary loss. Examples include:

  • Medical Expenses (including cost of medical treatment and/or equipment)
  • Prescriptions
  • Lost Wages/Lost Opportunity
  • Domestic Service Expenses
  • Funeral & Burial Expenses
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Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are subjective, non-monetary losses. Examples include:

  • Pain & Suffering
  • Inconvenience
  • Emotional Distress
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life
  • Loss of Society & Companionship
  • Loss of Consortium
  • Pre-Death Terror & Fright
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Other Damages

Other types of damages injured victims may be entitled to include:

  • Damage to personal property such as phones or ruined clothing
  • Transportation Expenses