Personal Injury Laws: What is Premises Liability?
If a property owner fails to maintain safe conditions or warn about known hazards on their property, and an injury occurs, the injured person might have a right to sue for premises liability. This legal term can apply to a wide range of personal injury laws and situations, from a fallen branch to an icy sidewalk.
Common premises liability lawsuits include:
- Slip and fall cases
- Snow and ice accidents
- Inadequate property maintenance
- Inadequate building security
- Dog bites
- Toxic fumes or chemicals
Injury on commercial property
A common premises liability case is when a store is negligent of the cleanliness of their floors. This occurred recently in a Portland Walmart when a man slipped on water in the men’s restroom. He filed a $999,000 lawsuit. His chances of winning the case rest on whether or not the company can provide adequate proof that they inspected their floors within reasonable time constraints.
If the bathroom had just been inspected for safety, then it wouldn’t be reasonable to pin responsibility on the company. If Walmart was negligent about the safety of the premises, then that man might have a major payout coming his way.
Dog bite laws
Dog bite laws fall under premises liability since a dog is considered someone’s property. There was such a case filed in Portland last year when a Whole Foods shopper leaving the store was bitten by a leashed dog in the “tie-up” station.
Oregon and Washington have different laws about the specifics of dog bites. Oregon follows the one-bite rule, meaning that once a dog bites a human, it is considered a “dangerous dog” and the owner can be sued for negligence for any bites that occur afterwards.
Washington dog-bite statutes state that the owner can be responsible for injury regardless of whether or not they knew their dog was dangerous. If you live in the Pacific Northwest and you’ve suffered a dog bite, there’s a good chance that dog’s owner will need to compensate you.
Injury on private property
The degree to which an owner must keep their property safe depends on the visitor and the state’s personal injury laws. Property owners owe a good deal of responsibility to invitees – people who have explicit permission to be on the property. This is less so for licensees – people like salesmen. Property owners will not be at fault if they knew of the hazard but the licensee was unlikely to discover it, or it was so obvious that the licensee should have noticed and avoided it.
Premises liability for trespassers usually only applies when the trespasser is a child. Personal injury laws can target the property owner when not having a security fence around a pool. In this kind of liability situation, the owner of that property might be at fault for a trespasser’s injury or death.
Personal injury lawyer Vancouver WA
As a victim you must be able to prove that A) you were allowed to be there in the first place and B) the owner knew about the hazard and did not take the necessary precautions to remedy it. If you’ve been injured on someone’s property due to negligence, contact Philbrook Law Office and our personal injury lawyers will determine if you qualify for a premises liability case.