Premises Liability Attorney in Washington DC
If you visit someone’s home, business or property, you have the right to assume that there are no hidden dangers or unreasonable risks awaiting you there. Property owners, or those who are renting and in charge of a property, must make sure that they maintain a reasonably safe space. If they fail to do so and their lapse causes an injury, the property owner could be sued by the injured victim.
At The Abelson Law Firm, we represent people who have suffered a personal injury on someone else’s property. Our goal is to help injured victims to recover compensation for medical costs and lost wages, for pain and suffering and for any emotional damage or diminished quality of life that they experience.
Understanding Washington DC Premises Liability Claims
When a person owns or rents a property, that person has certain responsibilities to make sure the property is safe. This is especially true if the property owner invites guests onto the property or caters to customers. The specifics of the duty that a property owner (or occupier) owes to guests will depend upon why the guests come to the property.
For example, a property owner who invites paying customers on to the property must go the extra mile to make sure those customers are safe. This means not only fixing any known problems on the property that could be dangerous but also conducting regular inspections of the property to make sure it is safe.
Someone who invites a friend over or opens the door to a casual guest doesn’t have quite the same obligation as a business owner. The property owner who invites a friend over has to either warn the friend of any hazards or has to fix the hazard if they know (or reasonably should know) about it, but doesn’t have to inspect for problems.
In order to make a premises liability claim, the first thing the victim must do is establish what their relationship was with the property owner. The victim then has to show the property owner was negligent or unreasonably careless in keeping up the property (this is where the relationship between property owner and visitor matters). Finally, the victim has to show that the injury was the direct cause of the failure on the part of the property owner.
Whether the property owner or the person occupying the property can be held responsible is determined based on the specifics of the case. For example, if you are at a store and you ignore a “wet floor” sign and slip on a wet floor, you are probably not going to be able to obtain compensation. If another customer drops a jar and you immediately slip and fall on the spill, then the property owner also probably isn’t going to be responsible since they didn’t have time to clean up the spill. However, if there is a slippery floor that the store employees ignore or a broken shelf that causes the jar to fall and that is not fixed by the store employees, then you could have a case. An experienced premises liability lawyer can help you to determine if you have a case and can help you get the evidence needed to prove it.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
There are many different situations where an injury could occur and the property owner or occupier could be held liable. For example, common cases involve swimming pool injuries or young children who drown in pools; slips and falls due to spills; and unsafe equipment or buildings that cause falls.
The common causes of these injuries include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Slippery floors
- Debris left on floors, such as objects out of place
- Overcrowded shelves with merchandise piled high
- Store displays that fall over or that are unsafe
- Dangerous staircases with broken railings or uneven treads
- Rotting wood on porches or stairs
- Inadequate lighting in entrances or parking lots
- Inadequate security in parking lots, businesses, apartments or other locations where there is potential danger to patrons.
In these and other situations, the property owner or person responsible for the property could potentially be held accountable and made to pay damages for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other losses. Serious injuries such as brain damage or spinal cord injuries often result from slips and falls and other premises liability accidents.
If you have been hurt due to the negligent conduct of a property owner or occupier, The Abelson Law Firm, attorneys can help you obtain compensation in a personal injury case. We represent injury victims in the greater Washington DC, Maryland and Pennsylvania areas. Contact us online for a free consultation.