A premises liability claim is a claim for personal injuries that have been caused by an unsafe condition on any premises. In practice, “premises” includes commercial stores or offices, parking lots, apartment complexes, and construction sites.
Premises liability claims typically arise in two areas. The first are those premises that are heavily trafficked, such as grocery stores. The second, those that are very dangerous, such as construction sites. The injuries that can arise from an unsafe condition are varied and include everything from broken legs to brain damage.
Understanding Premises Liability Claims
The law that applies to premises liability claims is complicated. However, in evaluating a premises liability claim the analysis starts with the experience of the premises liability lawyer. We have handled many premises liability claims and know the issues. When we evaluate a premises liability claim we start with the basics; there must be an unsafe condition and a defendant who is at fault for the dangerous condition.
We must also see how the unsafe condition was the cause of the injury to the potential client. If the events “make sense” to us we can move on to the details. Examples of valid premises liability claims include a rotted out step leading into an apartment that breaks under the weight of the potential client, or a spill of a slippery substance, perhaps a cleaning solution in a grocery store that causes a customer to fall.
What Makes a Premises Liability Claim Valid?
Claims are not valid if an injury was caused by a condition that was not the result of any person’s negligence, for example, we all know that some sidewalks are unsafe, but others are simply uneven in a way that we find acceptable, or at least not unacceptable compared with the cost of fixing the unevenness. The details have to do with the specific legal duties that apply in the particular case.
Grocery store owners are liable to their customers if their failure to exercise ordinary care causes an injury. A grocery store may fail to exercise ordinary care if it allows water to accumulate in an area used by customers. Landlords can be liable to a tenant for rented property if there is a dangerous condition on the leased premises, unbeknownst to the tenant, and the landlord doesn’t notify the tenant.
Landlords can also be liable to the tenant for injuries occurring due to unsafe conditions in the common areas. Owners and general contractors at construction sites have numerous legal duties to persons on the site based upon the common law, and also the duties within Washington’s Administrative Code that apply to construction sites.
For example, WAC 296-155-020 requires that “(4)In areas where workers may pass or perform duties, all debris and accumulations of material shall be removed. Hoses and electrical conductors across aisles or passageways shall be covered or suspended overhead so that there is no tripping hazard.”
Work With An Experienced Premises Liability Attorney
At Russell & Hill, PLLC, we know that many of our prospective clients do not have much experience in the legal system, and need help determining whether they have a valid premises liability claim. We enjoy educating our clients and are happy to schedule a free consultation to discuss your options. Contact our team today to begin your claims process.