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Premises Liability

Premises liability refers to the liability of landowners or landlords or occupiers of land for injuries that occur on their property.  Examples include someone falling through a rotten deck, someone getting electrocuted from faulty wiring/electrical system, someone slipping on a liquid spill at a store that the store failed to clean up, someone falling into a hole that was difficult to see, a child being injured in a fall from a window that was not properly guarded, or someone falling from an elevated platform that did not have proper guardrails.  A property owner can also be liable for inadequate security or lighting, such as an assault occurring in a parking lot that did not have adequate lighting at night.

The legal rules that apply in premises liability cases can vary depending on the injured person’s status on the property.

The owner of the premises is liable for injuries caused when they knew of an unsafe condition, or failed to exercise ordinary care to discover the unsafe condition, and that they should have realized that this unsafe condition involves an unreasonable risk to harm others.

The duty of care may include removing the hazardous condition, safeguarding the hazardous condition, or at least warning of the hazardous condition.  A grocery store, hardware store or other business establishment has a duty to keep its premises reasonably free of physically dangerous conditions, like produce on the floor, falling merchandise, tripping conditions, or even electrical explosions from a faulty machine etc.

Our tort system, which involves bringing civil lawsuits for people injured by the fault of others, has two primary goals.  The first is to change the conduct of people, corporations and government to make our world safer.  By holding parties at fault for the injury and damages they cause, we make people act safer.  By holding people at fault accountable for their action, we seek to change their actions in the future.  By having a system under which people know they will be held liable if they negligently harm another, we all act safer for the betterment of society.  The injured person may also be partially at fault and responsible and the law takes this into account.  The second goal is to compensate the injured person for the harm they have suffered.

Society becomes safer and better for what we do for our clients.  The risk of injuring others and being held liable for that harm assures that we keep our land and premises free of dangers for the safety of all.

Renton Theater Shooting Case

On July 20, 2012, 12 innocent people were killed and 70 injured in a Colorado movie theater during a showing of The Dark Knight Arises. The gunman was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. On July 24, 2015, 2 innocent people were killed and 9 injured in a Louisiana movie theater during a showing… Read More

Stewart v. Nnanabu

$1,500,000 settlement in landlord-tenant case where client shot multiple times by another tenant.

Cooper v. Ralph’s Concrete Pumping & Miles Sand & Gravel

Young Teresa Cooper lost the love of her life, when her 30 year old husband, Allan, lost his life on the job. They were high school sweethearts. Allan Cooper was a skilled 30-year-old carpenter who was highly valued by his employer, Sierra Construction Co. of Woodinville, Washington. Mr. Cooper had been married to his wife Teresa since… Read More

Confidential v. National Grocery Company

(August 2011) a confidential wrongful death settlement of a 45-year-old man leaving a wife and two children, one of whom was a minor.  Plaintiff was struck by a yard truck at night at a distribution yard that had poor lighting and no designated path for pedestrians to cross from the parking area to the office. … Read More

Granberg-Kiddle v. Kithome

(October 2010) $1,000,000 settlement for the drowning death of a 3-year old child being attended by a babysitter. Significant claims of comparative negligence involved.

Dowrey v. Carl’s Jr.

May 2010) $2,000,000 settlement for a head-injured child who crawled through a gap in the children’s play area equipment and fell on his head.

The Lummi Nation v. Golder Associates, Inc.

(March 2004) $4,250,000 settlement for violation of contracts and the Indian Graves Recovery Act by an archeology firm while monitoring an excavation for a construction project.  The claims included damages suffered by the Lummi Indian Nation as well as emotional distress claims on behalf of tribal members.

Tkachev v. Ledcor Industries (USA), Inc.

(April 2003) $2,400,000 settlement for an immigrant laborer who had his right leg amputated below the knee when the general contractor failed to provide guardrails for the 7’6” scaffolding on which he was working.

Bryan v. [Confidential] Hotel

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. ~Dalai Lama XIV Zula Rae Bryan was born in Forest Grove Oregon in 1942. She is a vibrant, active, sharp-as-a-tack, delightful retiree with a full and loving life. Zula has been married since 1984 to… Read More

Petersen v. Finazzo

“If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” ~ Proverbs 24:10 The Finazzos were homeowners, who decided they wanted a pole barn structure built on their property. They wanted to save money, so they built it without getting a building permit or without a design by a structural engineer or other expert. The prior… Read More

Schneider v. Major Car Manufacturer

Following her typical evening routine, Marissa Schneider left home for work, driving her 1991 vehicle southbound on road in Snohomish County. At about 7 pm, a van was driving northbound on the same road. The driver of that van was looking for a specific address, intending to turn left. That driver changed lanes into the… Read More

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