Property owners are generally required to keep their premises safe, within certain legal limitations. State law requires the general upkeep of property to keep it in a safe condition as well as the existence of warnings to entrants of certain dangers on a property. If a property owner fails to follow their obligations to you, and you are injured, you may be eligible to file a premises liability claim to seek monetary damages.
Every claim should get the care and attention of a Seattle premises liability lawyer, including yours. Work with well-practiced civil attorney to determine your rights and seek compensation.
Duty of Care Owed by Property Owners
A property owner is not liable automatically liable simply because an injury, or even a death, occurs on their property. Revised Code of Washington § 4.24.210 even operates to protect property owners in certain areas used for recreational purposes. A property owner must have created or permitted to exist some type of condition that made the land unsafe. If the property owner is the reason the hazard existed, they may be liable to cover a plaintiff’s damages.
The same may be true in situations where a defendant knew about a condition, and did not rectify it in time. Failure to remedy a dangerous situation is one of the most common reasons people are hurt while on another’s property.
Many cases are based on a legal doctrine known as constructive knowledge. If the defendant did not actually know about the hazard, but the hazard was there long enough that they should have known about it, a defendant may be held to know it existed constructively. This permits liability on a defendant even when they had no actual knowledge of the hazard. Working with a seasoned Seattle attorney could help someone injured on a dangerous property determine if constructive knowledge applies.
Types of Visitors in Seattle
The legal status of a plaintiff when they enter a person’s property is a crucial part of determining their rights. These legal statuses are determined through a factual analysis of the claim. Visitors are generally separated into the following categories:
- Business invitee — individuals with an expressed or implied invitation onto the property, typically for a business purpose
- Licensee — these individuals are typically social guests, friends, and family
- Trespassers — person with no right to be on the property
The visitor status of the plaintiff involves its own unique protections by a property owner. The property owner must exercise ordinary care and keep the property in a reasonably safe condition for an invitee. Reasonable inspections are also required to avoid potential problems and to correct them. On the other hand, a property owner is required to warn of known dangers and report them, but there is no obligation to inspect for possible hazards for licensees.
A trespasser is not entitled to protections of any kind against hazards, known or unknown. However, a property owner cannot intentionally cause harm to a trespasser simply for trespassing. Utilization of these different standards is a key part of a Seattle attorney’s approach to a premises liability lawsuit.
Fight for Compensation with a Seattle Premises Liability Attorney
Premises liability claims may occur any time you are hurt while on the property of another. This can be public or private property. Even if you are not sure of your rights, it can help to speak with a licensed attorney to determine the extent of your rights.
Let a skilled Seattle premises liability lawyer consult on your case and provide you personalized advice. Contact our office today.