Accidents and premises liability in Washington

When people lawfully enter onto the property of another, the property owner may be liable if they are injured due to a hazard that the owner knew about or should have known about. Business owners owe a duty of care to people to keep their premises safe and hazard-free.

The responsibility exists whether the business owns or rents the property. Business owners should buy a commercial general liability insurance policy in order to be prepared in the event an accident occurs. Owners and employees should regularly inspect the premises and immediately correct any discovered hazard or unsafe condition. It is a good idea for employers to have clear policies and procedures in place, and employees should not ignore a hazard believing someone else will take care of it.

If a hazard is not immediately correctable, the business should prominently display warning signs around it to help people avoid injury. Examples of such warnings include wet floor signs. When it is snowy or icy outside, businesses should make certain they keep their exterior walkways clear.

When business owners fail to take steps to correct safety hazards, they run the risk of being named as defendants in a premises liability lawsuit. People who are injured while on the premises of a business may want to seek a consultation with a personal injury attorney who has experience with this type of litigation. An attorney might review the relevant facts of the case in order to determine whether liability is likely to stand and then identify all defendants and legal claims. Damages that are typically sought in such a lawsuit include the costs of required medical care and treatment as well as compensation for any wages that were lost during the victim’s recovery period.