Articles Posted in Premises Liability

Washington residents should always be aware that accidents can happen at any time, even when they are enjoying the outdoors at parties or gatherings. If an injury does happen, the injured person may suffer medical-related damages while the property owners may also suffer losses if the owners allowed hazardous activities to take place.

In New Jersey, for example, a person suffered an injury in a bungee-trampoline device at a company picnic. As the rider came down from a high jump, the operator lifted the man again before his feet touched the trampoline. This caused the rider to rupture a tendon that required surgery to heal. In total, he incurred more than $8,000 in medical bills. He also reportedly experienced a reduced range of motion in that arm, scars and weakness.

The injured rider and his wife filed lawsuits against multiple companies. They filed lawsuits against the manufacturer of the bungee-trampoline device, the company that owned the venue and the company that rented the device. The lawsuit alleged that the device did not have adequate warnings and that the property allowed a hazardous activity to take place. They also named the company that rented out the device, claiming that they did not properly train the operator. The injured rider ultimately settled for more than $300,000.

Many Washington residents may be unfamiliar with issues of premises liability, particularly as they relate to attractive nuisance laws. In general, landowners and others are required to recognize features of their properties that may attract children and, in the process, place them in danger. Even cases where a child was trespassing may result in liability being imposed.

Some of the things that come into play in determining whether attractive nuisance laws are applicable concern the condition of the property itself. For example, in the case of playground accidents, the playground’s condition is such that failing to resolve a dangerous aspect of it presents a minimal risk compared to the potential risk of harming a child.

Following along those lines, landowners are expected to take reasonable care with respect to their properties. Areas that have the potential to be dangerous should be subject to some form of action that mitigates the risk of children trespassing upon them. Landowners are expected to understand that children may be too inexperienced to understand such dangers themselves and act preemptively to minimize the risks themselves. This is especially true if the dangerous area in question may cause serious injury or death.

People in Washington may have heard about the tragic accident that recently happened in Berkeley. According to authorities, a total of 13 people fell four stories when the apartment balcony on which they were standing suddenly gave way, killing six of them.

Sources indicate the students were at the apartment to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Five of the students who died were from Ireland, while the sixth was from California. All were either 21 or 22 years old. Besides the six who died, seven more were transported to area hospitals for treatment of serious injuries.

Authorities were uncertain about what caused the balcony to fall. The structure had a concrete floor and it appeared to have torn free from the building. Reportedly, people had called earlier in the evening to complain about the noise from the party, but police were attending to other calls in the area. Upon receiving 911 calls following the collapse, police were apparently on-scene within two minutes.

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.

In a Washington premises liability personal injury lawsuit, plaintiffs will sometimes need to rely on circumstantial evidence in order to demonstrate the that the owner or manager of the property where the injury took place was negligent in maintaining the facility. The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is a common law principle that allows plaintiffs to establish their burden of demonstrating negligence through other than direct proof.

There are several elements necessary to establish negligence through res ipsa loquitur. The plaintiff will need to demonstrate that what happened normally would not have if the owner or property manager had not been acting negligently. It will also have to be shown that the injury was not caused by the plaintiff or a third party. Finally, the plaintiff will be required to prove that the negligent action is within the scope of a duty of care owed to the plaintiff.

Res ipsa loquitur establishes a rebuttable presumption of negligence. The defendant will have a chance to overcome it, such as by showing that the duty of care that was owed did not extend to the plaintiff or that the plaintiff or another party was responsible for the injury, rather than the conditions on the property.

Slipping on an icy sidewalk in Washington could result in a variety of injuries. A common injury is a muscle strain or sprain that is generally the result of an individual trying to catch him or herself. In most cases, these injuries can be treated by rest or by putting heat on the injured muscle. However, those experiencing severe pain are advised to see a doctor.

Those who feel tingling or weakness in their legs could be suffering from a herniated disc, an injury that commonly results from years of wear. Those who fall sufficiently hard enough on the ice could also sustain in such an injury. The good news is that this type of injury can be treated without the need for surgery. Painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxers may be enough to help overcome a herniated disc.

Tailbone and spinal cord injuries are also not out of the question after making hard contact with an icy surface. While tailbone injuries are painful, they rarely require anything other than rest to recover from. Those who experience tingling, loss of movement or numbness should not move. Instead, it is important to get medical help as soon as possible to lower the chances of paralysis resulting from a serious injury to the spinal cord itself.

Memorial Day Weekend signals the unofficial beginning of summer in the U.S. You and your loved ones may be planning a party this weekend or you may be choosing to wait until later in the summer to host a fun gathering. In either event, it is important to keep a few tips in mind anytime you have guests over during the summer. Failure to do so could result in harm to you or your guests. And depending on the circumstance, your guests could potentially hold you liable for their harm under the theory of premises liability.

If you have a pool or will be setting up any sort of water-related fun for kids and kids at heart, it is important to take special care. Children all over America experience injuries even when they are being supervised at residential and public pools.

It is generally not idea to make your own slide or diving board, nor is it a good idea to “improvise” these devices as anyone harmed on your homemade slide or board could sue you for damages related to that harm. Instead, purchase a slide or board and make sure that it has not been recalled.

In Washington, property owners have a duty to keep their property safe and can be sued based on the theory of premises liability if injuries do occur due to unsafe conditions.  This is not to say that such cases are simple. Premises liability laws vary from state-to-state.  In the State of Washington, determining liability can be partially based on the reasons for why an individual is on the property to begin with.

Many property owners are not aware that they could be sued in the event a contractor is injured on the property while performing work on the premises.  Liability is dependent on a number of factors, but it would be best in any circumstances to warn any contractors coming on the property of potential hazards.

A property owner’s exposure to liability can be dependent upon:

Four people fell when an escalator inside Bellevue Square shopping center malfunctioned Thursday evening, according to the Bellevue Fire Department.

A 30-year-old man, a woman and two 3-year-olds were taken to Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue after the 7:21 p.m. malfunction on the ground floor of Macy’s.

A witness reported she heard a loud sound followed by chaos near the escalator. When she went toward the noise, she saw that chunks of the escalator had fallen off.

A seventeen-year-old boy and his mother recently filed suit against Sky High Sports’ Bellevue location arising out of injuries the boy received in the trampoline park at his sister’s 16th birthday party. The boy’s mother describes a “free for all” of children and adults bouncing all over when she and her children visited Sky High on April 28. Less than 15 minutes into the visit, her son hit his head and neck on the frame of the trampoline as he was attempting a flip into a foam pit.

He suffered spinal cord injuries that have left him spending his days relearning to walk, shower and eat without his mother’s help. He hopes to regain his fine motor skills so he can hold a pen and write in time for school in September when he will begin his senior year of high school. He missed the last two months of school while spending almost three weeks in the hospital, followed by doctor’s appointments and rounds of occupational and physical therapy for damage to his central nervous system resulting from spinal cord injuries. His mother says she’s just happy he’s alive, but “[i]t’s devastating to see your child go from being a vibrant athlete — laughing, playing, running and jumping — to sitting on a sofa feeling down and gloomy because he can’t do the things he should be doing”.

The lawsuit filed alleges that the “trampoline fun center” is inherently dangerous in the way it was designed and the facility was negligent in its failure to maintain and supervise. Specifically, the suit alleges the facility failed to properly cover and pad the metal bars and pipes near the foam pit where her son was jumping. It also alleges that Sky High failed to provide adequate supervision and safeguards. When it comes to equipment design and maintenance, Sky High advertises the padding on the trampolines as “cushier than a corner office in a marshmallow factory,” but this boy and at least two others claim they suffered injuries from colliding with the frame. There are at least 18 families with negligence claims against Sky High Sports’ Bellevue location arising since the facility opened in 2009.

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