Going onto someone else’s property always carries some element of risk, even if you pay close attention to your surroundings and act responsibly at all times. Unfortunately, there are many ways subpar property maintenance and management could create unreasonably dangerous conditions—and if one of those conditions causes harm to a visitor, the deficient property owner or manager could be liable for civil restitution.
Proving someone else at fault for an injury on another person’s land can be complicated in practice, though, which is why contacting an Auburn premises liability lawyer should be a priority for anyone hurt in such circumstances. A capable personal injury attorney could lend their experience and legal expertise towards getting the best possible result from your claim, whether that entails a private settlement or a public verdict in civil court.
Holding a Landowner Liable for Damages
Landowners owe different “duties” to different people who visit their property depending on each visitor’s personal reason for being there in the first place. For example, property owners generally have no obligation to protect trespassers from accidental harm, although there are exceptions in some situations involving children lured into trespassing by an unsecured “attractive nuisance,” such as a swimming pool.
Conversely, when it comes to people visiting for their own benefit, or “licensees,” landowners are obligated to provide advance warning of all hazards they know about and cordon off any hazards they cannot fix prior to the visitor’s arrival. For “invitees” like shoppers in a retail store who are there for the owner’s benefit, property owners must also conduct regular inspections of their property to identify new hazards in addition to providing warning about known dangers.
Any landowner who fails to fulfill their applicable duty and allows their property to become unreasonably dangerous may be held financially accountable for every form of harm caused by any ensuing accident, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost working capacity and/or income
- Personal property damage
- Psychological trauma and physical pain
- Lost consortium
- Lost enjoyment of life
A knowledgeable Auburn premises liability attorney could go over what damages may be compensable in a specific case during a private initial consultation.
Can Injured People Bear Fault for Their Own Accidents?
Importantly, even if a landowner in the state of Washington is proven negligent by a visitor injured on their property, that visitor may miss out on much-needed compensation if a court finds them partially responsible for causing or worsening their injuries through their own negligence. Specifically, Revised Code of Washington §4.22.005 allows courts to assign percentages of total fault to injured plaintiffs and then reduce their final damage award’s value in proportion to that percentage.
“Comparative fault” can be anything from wearing inappropriate footwear to texting while walking, to simply not seeing what a landowner considers to be an open and obvious hazard. Support from a seasoned property liability lawyer in Auburn could be vital to contesting accusations of this nature and maximizing available compensation.
Seek Help from an Auburn Premises Liability Attorney
Premises liability law works similarly to standard personal injury law in some ways, and differently in others. Understanding how state law applies to your circumstances can be crucial to achieving a good case result, and guidance from legal counsel can be equally critical to both.
A conversation with an Auburn premises liability lawyer could be an important first step towards comprehensive recovery. Call today to set up a meeting.