Can Family Members Be Named as Defendants in Washington D.C. Slip-and-Fall Cases?

Premises liability is a legal concept that imposes a duty on landowners to keep their property safe for guests. These cases are often referred to as slip-and-fall cases. Often, Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall accidents occur at a business or while on government-owned property. However, that is not always the case.

It is not uncommon, however, for someone to be injured while visiting a loved one’s home. Of course, the law does not prevent a person from bringing a claim against a family member. And it is important to remember that homeowner’s insurance will generally cover personal injury claims made against a homeowner. Thus, even if a loved one’s negligence causes a Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall accident in failing to ensure their property is safe, the homeowner will not typically be the one required to pay for any damages suffered by the accident victim.

A recent case illustrates a situation in which an injury victim may choose to pursue a claim against a loved one based on injuries sustained on the loved one’s property.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff went to her daughter’s house to babysit her great-grandchild. Just before the plaintiff arrived, her daughter cleaned the back deck with a soapy substance. When the plaintiff came, she was told by her daughter that her great-grandchild was in the back yard, and that she could go out the back door to see her. The plaintiff exited through the home’s rear door onto the back deck and slipped as she stepped on the wet, soapy deck. The plaintiff sustained a serious injury to her right leg.

The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against her daughter. The plaintiff testified that she could see that the deck was wet, but had no idea that it was slippery. The daughter’s son testified that it was evident from looking at the deck that it was covered in soapy water.

The court denied the daughter’s motion for a direct verdict, and the jury returned a verdict in the plaintiff’s favor. While the daughter successfully appealed the verdict based on an erroneous jury instruction, the appellate issue was irrelevant to this discussion.

Have You Been Injured on Another’s Property?

If you have recently been injured in a Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall accident on another’s property, you may be entitled to monetary compensation, even if the property you were injured on belonged to a friend or loved one. At the Washington, D.C. personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, we represent injury victims in all types of personal injury claims, including slip-and-fall accidents and other premises liability claims. We handle cases across Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, and have conveniently located offices in Baltimore, Rockville, Owings Mills, and Washington, D.C. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation based on the injuries you have sustained, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim against a Negligent Washington, D.C. Employer, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, February 5, 2019

Assumption of the Risk in Washington, D.C. Sports Injury Cases, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, February 19, 2019

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