Property owners in the state of Washington have a legal responsibility to ensure that their premises are safe for visitors. If a visitor is injured on a property, the property owner may be liable for the injuries if a court finds that they did not act reasonably to prevent the accident.
Can the visitor be at fault?
In many cases, the property owner will try to argue that the visitor was at fault for the accident. The property owner may contend the visitor was not invited onto the property or that the visitor acted inappropriately for the conditions of the property. Some arguments that the property owner may use include:
- The visitor was a trespasser.
- The visitor ignored signage on the property.
- The visitor did not exercise reasonable care to protect their own safety.
Even if a court finds that the visitor was indeed a trespasser on the property, the property owner could still be liable for an accident. A court may decide that the owner should have known that there was a high likelihood that trespassers would enter their property. If an artificially dangerous condition existed on the property, the property owner would have been obligated to place signage warning any visitors about that danger.
What happens if the injured party was at fault?
If the injured party is found to be 100% at fault, then the property owner has no liability. However, if the visitor was only partially at fault, the property owner will have partial premises liability. In that case, the property owner will likely have to pay the percentage of the damages that is equal to their liability. For example, if the damages are $20,000 and the property owner is 50% liable, the property owner may owe the injured party $10,000.
If you were injured on someone else’s property, you may need help paying for the medical bills that resulted from your injury. An attorney with experience in premises liability may explain your legal options for pursuing compensation.