Vancouver Premises Liability Lawyer
A Vancouver premises liability lawyer can help if you or a loved one has been injured on someone else’s property. When you visit a store, someone else’s home, or other location, you expect to be safe. However, dangerous situations occur every day. You cannot be prepared for an incident caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness. When injuries are the result, you deserve compensation for the damages that they caused. Contact a Vancouver premises liability lawyer at Mila Boyd Law Offices today.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability refers to the area of law that imposes liability on owners of land, for injuries that occur on their premises. These “owners and occupiers” are most commonly property owners and landlords. If you have been injured on someone else’s premises, you should immediately contact an experienced Vancouver premises liability lawyer.
Owners and occupiers of land can be liable when they fail to abide by the applicable standard of care for visitors who set foot on their properties. The applicable standard of care is generally determined by a visitor’s status on the premises at the time the accident occurs. A visitor is generally classified as a business invitee (business guest), licensee (social guest), or trespasser.
A Vancouver premises liability lawyer can examine all of the facts and circumstances of your case and can help you to maximize your recovery and damages.
When Does Premises Liability Come Into Play?
Premises liability cases may involve a variety of unsafe conditions on someone else’s property, including but not limited to the following:
- slip and fall accidents on wet floors (such as in grocery store aisles or in public restrooms)
- construction accidents
- amusement park or carnival accidents
- escalator or elevator accidents
- dog bites
- broken stairs
- uneven sidewalks
- dangerous walkways
- negligent or inadequate security
- water leaks and flooding
- swimming pool accidents
You should immediately contact a Vancouver premises liability lawyer if you have sustained injuries on property owned by someone else. If you do not file your claim within the statute of limitations (which in Washington is three years from when you were injured), you will not be able to file a claim later on.
What Will My Vancouver Premises Liability Lawyer Have to Prove?
Your Vancouver premises liability lawyer will assist you with proving the necessary legal elements of your case. You must demonstrate that the property owner or occupier owed a duty of care to you, and that he or she breached this duty and therefore caused your injuries to occur.
Duty of Care
The owner of the property owes a legal duty to those on the premises. The extent of this duty depends on what your status was on the premises when the accident occurred.
- Business Invitee:someone who is on the premises for the benefit of the owner/occupier — and usually for a business purpose. The owner/occupier of the premises owes a duty to keep heavily used areas reasonably safe.
- Licensee (Social Guest): someone who is on the premises for his or her own benefit — and not for the benefit of the land owner/occupier. The owner/occupier of the premises owes a duty to warn of or make safe known hazardous conditions. This includes those that the visitor is not reasonably expected to discover upon reasonable inspection. A common example of a licensee is a social guest who visits someone’s home over the holidays and sustains injuries on the premises while there.
- Trespasser: someone who is not permitted to be on the premises at any time. Consequently, the owner owes a trespasser (particularly an unknown trespasser) the lowest duty of care. A known trespasser, such as child trespasser who frequents a pool on the property, may be owed some minimal duty of care, since the pool would likely qualify as an “attractive nuisance.”
Breach (or Violation) of the Duty of Care
A common example of a breach of duty of care is when a grocery store manager is aware of a spill that occurred on the floor but failed to place warning placards around the spill or take measures to clean it up.
You must show that the owner/occupier’s breach of the standard of care proximately resulted in all of your injuries and damages. Your Vancouver premises liability lawyer can assist you with proving causation in your case.
Damages for premises liability cases in Washington typically consist of economic damages, such as compensation for:
- medical bills
- physical therapy bills
- lost wages
Damages also include non-economic damages, such as:
- compensation for lost earning capacity
- pain and suffering (including past, present, and future pain and suffering)
A Vancouver premises liability lawyer will be able to assist you with successfully proving your damages.
What Determines the Types of Damages That Are Available to Me?
You should know that damages in premises liability cases are very fact-specific. The same amounts and types of damages are not available to every personal injury plaintiff in every case. An experienced Vancouver premises liability lawyer will review the facts and circumstances of your individual case with you. He or she can determine which type(s) of potential damages are applicable to your unique situation.
For example, if you slipped and fell inside a grocery store, your attorney would have to gather the following evidence:
- the grocery store’s maintenance records
- records of any history of similar accidents in the grocery store because of similar circumstances
- how long the unsafe conditions existed on the premises
- whether they posted any warnings on the premises, and how appropriate said warnings were
- if the store employees knew about the hazard that caused the slip and fall injury
- whether the owner or employees made any effort to get rid of the hazard
- if they filed an accident report
Each case is unique, and the type of damages you can receive will depend on several factors. Therefore, you must hire a Vancouver premises liability attorney who can investigate the evidence and assess the value of your particular case.
Dealing With the Insurance Company in Premises Liability Cases
When you file a premises liability claim, you will likely have to deal with an insurance company. The property owner may have homeowner’s insurance, commercial insurance, renter’s insurance, or another type of insurance that covers the premises. It can be difficult to deal with an insurance company that handles legal claims daily. They may try to deny your claim or place blame on you. You should work with a Vancouver premises liability lawyer to navigate the claims process.
Submitting an Official Claim
The first step in the claims process will be to submit an official claim to the insurance company. This may take place via phone or in writing. It’s best to do everything in writing with insurance companies. Your Vancouver premises liability lawyer may submit a demand letter stating your claim to the insurance company.
The insurance company may respond by asking for evidence of your injuries and other losses. You may want to submit medical records and other bills you have incurred due to the accident. The insurance company may ask you to sign a release that authorizes them to obtain all of your medical records without restricted dates. However, you should never sign such a release without first consulting your Vancouver premises liability lawyer. In most situations, you will want to sign a release that restricts the medical records they can obtain to the dates after your accident.
Negotiating a Settlement Offer
Once the insurance company reviews your evidence, they may make you a settlement offer. Insurance companies are interested in getting rid of claims as quickly as possible for as little as possible. Thus, it is likely that this initial offer will be extremely low. It probably won’t consider all of your losses, such as future medical costs. Your Vancouver premises liability lawyer can develop a strategy to communicate with the insurance company. You may want to counter with another amount or simply reject the low-ball settlement offer.
Filing Suit in Court
If the insurance company continues to reject your claim or does not offer an acceptable settlement amount, then your Vancouver premises liability lawyer may have to file a lawsuit in court. This can require extensive legal paperwork and specific evidence that is necessary for a premises liability claim. By filing a lawsuit, you will prove to the insurance company and the other parties that you are serious about your claim. Often, insurance companies will offer a better settlement amount once you file a lawsuit.
There are many strategies you may want to use when negotiating with the insurance company. However, it’s important to remember that the insurance company has powerful attorneys on their side. You should as well. Contact a Vancouver premises liability lawyer to stand by your side throughout the accident claims process.
Contact an Experienced Vancouver Premises Liability Lawyer
If you have sustained injuries as a result of the negligence of someone else, you need a Vancouver premises liability lawyer who can review the facts of your case and help you obtain maximum compensation. The personal injury claims process is complex, so don’t try to navigate it alone. Contact Mila Boyd Law Offices today.