Can I File a Claim If I Was Hurt at a Business, Hotel or Other Property?
DC Premises Liability Attorney Explains Property Owners’ Duty of Care
You have a reasonable expectation of safety when you are lawfully at a business, hotel or other property. Therefore, owners must use reasonable care to ensure that conditions on the premises are not dangerous. At a minimum, property owners must warn their guests about unsafe conditions. Depending on the circumstances, owners may owe a different level of care to different visitors, according to premises liability law. Nevertheless, when owners and/or operators neglect this duty, visitors and guests may be at risk for serious injuries. In many cases, the accidents and injuries that result from property owner negligence are entirely preventable. If poor conditions on someone else’s property harmed you or a loved one, then you may be able to collect compensation for your medical bills and other damages through a premises liability claim.
Filing a successful premises liability lawsuit against a business, recreational facility or hotel can be challenging. The property owners may possess valuable evidence, like video surveillance recordings, or they may have already fixed the dangerous condition soon after the incident. However, a premises liability attorney from Regan Zambri Long PLLC can investigate your accident and take steps to preserve valuable evidence. We have experience with premises liability cases in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. For example, in one case, we obtained a verdict of $5 million for a child who sustained a permanent brain injury due to an unsafe diving board at a swimming pool. We have also obtained multi-million dollar settlements for clients who were seriously injured at night clubs, ski areas, snow tubing parks, hotels, and office buildings.
When Can I File a Claim Under Premises Liability Law?
Common reasons for a premises liability claim include:
- Slip and fall accidents. A slip and fall accident is one of the most common results of poorly maintained property. Spills, poor lighting, broken stairs and uneven flooring may all cause a slip and fall injury.
- Dog bites. In many cases, you can hold a pet owner accountable for the injuries and damages caused by an animal attack.
- Construction site accidents. Contractors, management companies and site owners are responsible for maintaining a safe working environment for employees. Neglect of these duties can cause serious falls and other construction worker injuries. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file a claim against a third party in addition to collecting workers’ compensation.
- Swimming pool accidents. Accidental drowning can occur due to negligence in maintaining swimming pools, spas, hot tubs and even bathtubs. In non-fatal cases, brain damage generally results after only four minutes of submersion, causing severe, permanent neurological disability.
- Negligent security. Property owners and/or operators may be liable for assaults and other injuries resulting from criminal acts that occur at unsafe hotels, apartments, colleges, bars or other properties. Since these cases involve crime, the focus is not just on premises liability law but also on criminal activity as well. In the past, our attorneys have successfully handled civil claims when the lack of sufficient security is the cause of the injury.
- Recreational property injuries. Negligence at a recreational facility like a rock climbing wall or gym can result in a serious or fatal accident. Further, our attorneys have particular experience with skiing, snowboarding and tubing accidents. We have successfully handled cases involving catastrophic injuries caused by unsafe trail maintenance and other unsafe practices at ski resorts.
What is a Property Owner’s Duty of Reasonable Care?
Property owners may owe different levels of care to different visitors, according to premises liability law. These laws may vary from state to state, however, in Washington DC, visitors can be:
- Business invitees. These are patrons and customers of a business. The business invitee duty of care is the highest standard, since property owners stand to profit from an invitee’s patronage. Store owners must usually take steps to promptly identify and address all known and unknown hazards on their property. Still, the reasonable steps an owner must take will depend on the type of business and other circumstances.
- Licensees. Social guests and others who may enter private property with an owner’s implicit permission, such as mail carriers, are licensees. The standard of care owed to licensees is lower than that owed to invitees. Generally, property owners are only liable for unaddressed dangers that they knew or should have known about.
- Trespassers. Since trespassers enter a property without the owner’s permission, in most cases, owners owe them no duty of care. The landowner does not have to protect trespassers, other than refraining from willfully harming them. However, an exception exists for child trespassers.
- Child trespassers. An adult should know not to trespass, but a child may not. A child also may not be able to recognize and avoid certain dangers. Therefore, property owners have a duty to address certain conditions that may endanger a child trespasser or even lure a child onto the property. Swimming pools and other dangers are considered attractive nuisances, meaning they are likely to catch a child’s attention, encouraging trespassing and potentially causing serious injuries. The law therefore requires property owners to minimize the risk of an attractive nuisance by putting up fencing or taking other steps to keep children from harm.
Hurt in a Fall or Other Accident? Contact Our Premises Liability Lawyers Today
If you sustained injuries due to a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, then our premises liability lawyers are ready and willing to assist you. With more than 100 years of combined experience, our law firm has the resources and legal knowledge required to protect your rights and guide you through the legal process. You do not have to face this stressful and time-sensitive situation on your own; a premises liability attorney from our law firm can support you every step of the way.
We represent clients in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. Call (202) 463-3030 or contact us online today to schedule a free initial consultation.