Do premises liability laws impact auto repair shops?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2021 | Premises Liability |

A visit to an auto repair shop in Washington often involves people worried about their vehicles. Sometimes, those persons may leave the premises more concerned about their health and well-being. Accidents happen, including slip-and-fall incidents, and there may be other ways someone could get hurt at an auto repair shop. A lawsuit might follow since both auto shop proprietors and employees could be liable for injuries caused by negligence.

Auto shop owners and employees have responsibilities

The owners, managers and employees at an auto body shop have a “duty of care” to keep any negligent harm from befalling others. If someone carries motor oil through a repair shop’s waiting area and the fluid spills, placing warnings and cleaning up the mess without unnecessary delays might reflect responsible actions. Not cleaning the oil and leaving the hazard in place could lead to a negligence suit if someone walks inside and slips.

Premises liability could come in other forms at an auto body shop. Employees who don’t put tools away after use or improperly dispose of harmful fluids could contribute to another person’s injury.

Contributory negligence in Washington state

Contributory and comparative fault may come into play during a Washington state negligence claim. A plaintiff’s monetary award might end up reduced based on their contribution to an accident.

For example, a closed door may present a sign stating the work area is dangerous and restricted to employees only. Suppose that a customer ignores the rules, enters the site and then slips on tools discarded on the floor. Several parties might share negligence here, including the customer, the employees and the owner.

In court, personal injury attorneys might argue over the percentage of negligence apportioned to each party. Doing so could factor into the judgment awarded to the plaintiff, if any.

Premises liability laws may come into play when an auto repair shop proves negligent. People might try to recover losses for injuries and/or property damage. Anyone intending to file suit or defend against one may wish to consult with an attorney.