Getting hurt while visiting property that is owned and operated by someone else can create a uniquely complex legal situation if you want to pursue civil recovery for your injuries. Property owners in Washington State are not automatically liable for every accident that happens on their land, and injured plaintiffs who do have grounds to file suit must still provide substantial evidence of fault in order to achieve a positive case result.
From start to finish of your civil proceedings, a Kennewick premises liability lawyer’s assistance could be crucial to effectively protecting your best interests. Whether you have been in civil court before or have no experience whatsoever with matters like this, guidance from an experienced personal injury attorney could be all that stands between you and a rejected claim that leaves you without financial compensation.
How State Law Governs Accidents on Private Property
Visitors to private property in Kennewick fall into different categories depending on their specific reason for visiting. Individuals who visit property for the financial benefit and/or business interests of the property owners are called invitees. People visiting private property for their own benefits or for personal reasons are referred to as licensees. Anyone on private property without lawful authority and/or permission from the landowner is considered to be a trespasser.
This distinction plays a central role in property liability litigation, as it is often the main factor determining whether an injured party has grounds to pursue financial compensation. In Washington, property owners owe no specific duty of care to keep trespassers safe from harm, so long as those owners do not intentionally or wantonly hurt those trespassers in any way. If an injured visitor was a licensee, the property owner is only liable if they failed to warn that visitor of a known hazard and that hazard was the direct cause of the visitor’s injuries.
Finally, landowners owe the most substantial duty to invitees, in that they must not only provide warning of known hazards but also exercise ordinary care in inspecting and maintaining their property in a safe condition. A Kennewick premises liability attorney could explain relevant legal terms and how they might impact recovery in a particular situation during a private initial meeting.
Recoverable Damages in Premises Liability Claims
A property owner found liable for an accident on their land may be held financially accountable for all forms of harm stemming directly from their misconduct, including both economic and non-economic losses. This means that a comprehensive premises liability claim could potentially seek recovery for damages like:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Personal property damage
- Lost wages and/or future earning capacity
- Physical pain
- Emotional trauma and suffering
- Lost quality of life
The Revised Code of Washington § 4.22.005 holds that personal injury plaintiffs—including those harmed by property owner negligence—may be subject to a proportional reduction of their damage if they are found to bear a percentage of the total fault for causing or worsening their own injuries. A property liability lawyer in Kennewick could provide irreplaceable assistance with fighting claims of comparative negligence that could result in lost compensation under this law.
Learn More from a Kennewick Premises Liability Attorney
Filing suit over accidents on private land is never a simple task, especially if you have little past experience with civil litigation. Without dedicated legal representation to help preserve your rights and pursue your goals, you may find yourself struggling to get any compensation at all, let alone the amount you deserve for all your injuries and losses. A qualified Kennewick premises liability lawyer could be the dependable ally you need to effectively seek a positive case result. Call today for a consultation.