Premises liability refers to the area of law that imposes liability on owners of land, for injuries that occur on their premises. These “owners and occupiers” are most commonly property owners and landlords. If you have been injured on someone else’s premises, you should immediately contact an experienced Vancouver premises liability lawyer.
Owners and occupiers of land can be liable when they fail to abide by the applicable standard of care for visitors who set foot on their properties. The applicable standard of care is generally determined by a visitor’s status on the premises at the time the accident occurs. A visitor is generally classified as a business invitee (business guest), licensee (social guest), or trespasser.
A Vancouver premises liability lawyer can examine all of the facts and circumstances of your case and can help you to maximize your recovery and damages.
When Does Premises Liability Come Into Play?
Premises liability cases may involve a variety of unsafe conditions on someone else’s property, including but not limited to the following:
- slip and fall accidents on wet floors (such as in grocery store aisles or in public restrooms)
- construction accidents
- amusement park or carnival accidents
- escalator or elevator accidents
- dog bites
You should immediately contact a Vancouver premises liability lawyer if you have sustained injuries on property owned by someone else. If you do not file your claim within the statute of limitations (which in Washington is three years from when you were injured), you will not be able to file a claim later on.
What Will My Vancouver Premises Liability Lawyer Have to Prove?
Your Vancouver premises liability lawyer will assist you with proving the necessary legal elements of your case. You must demonstrate that the property owner or occupier owed a duty of care to you, and that he or she breached this duty and therefore caused your injuries to occur.
Duty of Care
The owner of the property owes a legal duty to those on the premises. The extent of this duty depends on what your status was on the premises when the accident occurred.
- Business Invitee: someone who is on the premises for the benefit of the owner/occupier — and usually for a business purpose. The owner/occupier of the premises owes a duty to keep heavily used areas reasonably safe.
- Licensee (Social Guest): someone who is on the premises for his or her own benefit — and not for the benefit of the land owner/occupier. The owner/occupier of the premises owes a duty to warn of or make safe known hazardous conditions. This includes those that the visitor is not reasonably expected to discover upon reasonable inspection. A common example of a licensee is a social guest who visits someone’s home over the holidays and sustains injuries on the premises while there.
- Trespasser: someone who is not permitted to be on the premises at any time. Consequently, the owner owes a trespasser (particularly an unknown trespasser) the lowest duty of care. A known trespasser, such as child trespasser who frequents a pool on the property, may be owed some minimal duty of care, since the pool would likely qualify as an “attractive nuisance.”
Breach (or Violation) of the Duty of Care
A common example of a breach of duty of care is when a grocery store manager is aware of a spill that occurred on the floor but failed to place warning placards around the spill or take measures to clean it up.
You must show that the owner/occupier’s breach of the standard of care proximately resulted in all of your injuries and damages. Your Vancouver premises liability lawyer can assist you with proving causation in your case.
Damages for premises liability cases in Washington typically consist of economic damages, such as compensation for:
- medical bills
- physical therapy bills
- lost wages
Damages also include non-economic damages, such as:
- compensation for lost earning capacity
- pain and suffering (including past, present, and future pain and suffering)
- loss of spousal support and companionship
A Vancouver premises liability lawyer will be able to assist you with successfully proving your damages.
What Determines the Types of Damages That Are Available to Me?
You should know that damages in premises liability cases are very fact-specific. The same amounts and types of damages are not available to every personal injury plaintiff in every case. An experienced Vancouver premises liability lawyer will review the facts and circumstances of your individual case with you. He or she can determine which type(s) of potential damages are applicable to your unique situation.
For example, if you slipped and fell inside a grocery store, your attorney would have to gather the following evidence:
- the grocery store’s maintenance records
- records of any history of similar accidents in the grocery store because of similar circumstances
- how long the unsafe conditions existed on the premises
- whether they posted any warningson the premises, and how appropriate said warnings were
- if the store employees knew about the hazard that caused the slip and fall injury
- whether the owner or employees made any effort to get rid of the hazard
- if they filed an accident report
Each case is unique, and the type of damages you can receive will depend on several factors. Therefore, you must hire a Vancouver premises liability lawyer who can investigate the evidence and assess the value of your particular case.
Contact an Experienced Vancouver Premises Liability Lawyer
If you have sustained injuries as a result of the negligence of someone else, you need a Vancouver premises liability lawyer who can review the facts of your case and help you obtain maximum compensation. The personal injury claims process is complex, so don’t try to navigate it alone. Contact Mila Boyd Law Offices today at (360) 433-9361.