Business and property owners have a legal duty to take reasonable measures to ensure that people who visit their premises are safe from injury or death. If you have sustained an injury while visiting someone else’s property and you suspect that the owner acted negligently, you may have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit. Speak to a highly knowledgeable DC personal injury lawyer with the law firm of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP to find out your legal options for obtaining compensation. Contact our office today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.
Why Choose Our Firm For DC Premises Liability Claims
- We have been successfully holding property owners liable for their negligence for over 38 years.
- We have obtained over $1 billion in compensation for our clients.
- We care about your recovery, if we don’t win your case, you won’t owe us a penny.
Common Types of Premises Liability Cases in Washington, D.C.
There are many types of accidents that fall under the umbrella of premises liability, including:
- Slip and fall cases
- Improper grounds maintenance (poor lighting, holes in the ground, etc.)
- Defective property conditions (loose or broken stairs, uneven flooring)
- Negligent security
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Dog bites
- Swimming pool accidents
- Amusement park accidents
- Water leaks or flooding
- Toxic fumes or chemicals
Many types of injury cases can be brought to court under the legal theory of premises liability. Any unsafe conditions, in which injuries were foreseeable, can establish the owner as liable for damages.
Property Owner Duties of Care in Washington, D.C.
Most premises liability lawsuits center on the legal doctrine of negligence. Negligence in a premises liability claim refers to a property owner’s failure to meet his or her legal obligations to property visitors. A property owner may owe several duties of care to his or her guests depending on the type of property and the situation. Breaching any of these duties, resulting in an accident and injuries, could point to property owner liability.
- Search a property for new, hidden or unknown defects. A landowner has a responsibility to regularly check his or her premises for hazards or defects that could risk the safety of guests, such as snow in a parking lot or a pipe leak in a bathroom.
- Warn people of unsafe conditions that are not blatantly obvious. If a property contains any defects the owner cannot fix, the owner must adequately warn visitors of the risk. If an elevator is down for maintenance, for example, the owner should post a sign.
- Make repairs to known or discovered property defects. Property owners must take reasonable steps to remedy defects he or she knew or reasonably should have known about in D.C. It is an owner’s legal duty to take reasonable action to make a property safe.
- Implement necessary and reasonable security measures. Part of a property owner’s responsibilities in Washington, D.C. is to provide adequate security. This may include hiring guards, installing cameras and increasing lighting.
These are the basic duties of care a property owner in Washington, D.C. owes. The exact duties of care a defendant owed a plaintiff during a premises-related accident will depend on the situation. A lawyer from Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP can explain the duties of care owed to you before a specific accident. If we can find evidence of a breach of one of these duties in connection to your injuries, you may be eligible for compensation.
Burden of Proof in a D.C. Premises Liability Case
A breach of duty of care is just one of four main elements of proof necessary for a successful premises liability lawsuit in Washington, D.C. It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to fulfill this burden of proof. In general, it is necessary for a plaintiff (or his or her lawyer) to establish that the defendant did not act in a way that a reasonable and prudent property owner would have under the same or similar circumstances. A plaintiff’s attorney can help prove a defendant’s fault with evidence to support each element.
- Duty of care owed. The defendant must be the party legally responsible for the property’s safety, care and maintenance at the time of the accident. This would give the defendant certain duties of care to the plaintiff.
- Duty of care breached. The defendant must have failed to fulfill one or more of his or her duties of care to the plaintiff. Ignoring a known property defect, for example, would constitute a breach of duty.
- Causation for damages. Your lawyer must be able to establish a connection between the defendant’s negligence and your accident and injuries. The defendant’s breach of duty of care must be the proximate cause of your injury.
- Damages suffered. Finally, you will need proof of the damages you suffered due to the defendant’s breach of duty of care. Damages can refer to personal injuries, medical bills, wages lost, property destruction, legal fees, and pain and suffering.
At Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP, our D.C. premises liability attorneys may be able to help you gather evidence of a property owner’s fault for your accident. Evidence could include an accident report, eyewitness testimony, expert opinions, accident reconstruction, maintenance logs, photographs and surveillance footage. We can handle all the aspects and elements of your claim while you focus on healing.
Damages in a Washington, D.C. Premises Liability Claim
After sustaining a serious injury because of a property owner’s negligence, there are several types of financial damages that you may seek in a premises liability lawsuit:
- Medical bills and any future medical expenses
- Lost wages and future wages and benefits
- Diminished earning capacity because of the injury
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Other additional losses from the accident (property damage, e.g., watch was broken in fall)
In Washington, D.C., an injured person has three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit to pursue compensation from the responsible party. After three years, the court can refuse to hear your case.
Why You Should Hire a Washington, D.C. Premises Liability Lawyer
Most premises liability claims will be filed with an insurance company, either through a homeowners’ insurance policy or a business insurance policy that covers bodily injuries. A premises liability lawyer will guide you through the insurance claim process and help you provide a statement to the adjuster as well as the documentation they need. If the insurer denies your claim, an attorney can appeal the decision and also pursue a personal injury lawsuit if need be. If your claim is approved, a lawyer will be vital in negotiating the highest possible settlement.
Call the Law Firm of Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP
Our team of premises liability lawyers is uniquely qualified to pursue justice on your behalf. We will fight to get you the compensation that you deserve for your injuries. We offer free, no-obligation consultations to review your case and discuss your legal rights. Call today or fill out our online contact form.