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Property owners in Washington State have a so-called “duty of care” to take measures to prevent people who enter their properties from becoming injured due to unsafe or dangerous conditions. If they fail to prevent your injury, they can be held liable under premises liability law for the losses you experience as a result.

Premises liability suits oftentimes arise due to slip and fall accidents, but that’s not always the case. The case generally unfolds as a customer entering a store or office and slipping on spilled liquid or tripping over a frayed rug. Some other examples of premises liability claims include:

  • A guest steps into a sinkhole and brakes a leg
  • A shopper falls from an escalator at the mall
  • A deck collapses on a rental property, sending multiple people to the hospital
  • A broken stair step on a rented property gives way, causing a guest to fall and break a hip
  • An ice skater at an outdoor rink falls and sustains a traumatic brain injury
  • A tenant is electrocuted due to faulty wiring
  • A family suffers from smoke inhalation due to a fire in their apartment complex

Burden of Proof in Premises Liability Claims

In Washington State, if you are a lawful visitor on someone else’s property, you have a reasonable expectation that you will be safe when you enter the property and the conditions of the property are not harmful to you. When you file a premises liability claim, the burden of proof is on you and your attorney to ensure that four circumstances are true in order to see a successful outcome in your case. These include:

  • The property owner owed you a duty of care; in other words, you were not trespassing, and you had a legal unspoken right to be there.
  • The property owner was remiss in his duty of care; a hazardous condition that he knew about or should have reasonably known about existed.
  • Due to his breech in care, you became injured.
  • Your injuries are sufficient enough to warrant filing a claim.

Common Premises Liability Issues

Perhaps the most common premises liability claim arises when a store fails to keep its walking surfaces safe for shoppers; falls result, and people are injured. Inadequate property maintenance is another common issue in premises liability law; loose stair railing cause devastating falls, or broken tiles cause tripping and injury. Dog attacks are also a major cause of premises liability claims; guests on private property are attacked and injured, or bystanders in public are bitten at a local park or on the street.

Filing Your Premises Liability Claim

You have just three years in Washington State to file your premises liability claim following your accident. If you wait longer, you may lose your right to sue altogether. Contact Russell and Hill to weigh your legal options and forge a path forward with your claim. Schedule your no-cost case review and consultation with our compassionate, experienced and knowledgeable Kirkland premises liability claim now.

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