Articles Tagged with property owner

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.

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: