Articles Posted in Premises Liability

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued an opinion in a wrongful death case that illustrates an important issue that often arises in Washington, D.C. personal injury cases. Specifically, the case discussed the doctrine of “assumption of the risk” and how it can prevent a plaintiff from recovering compensation for their injuries.

TractorThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the surviving loved one of a farm worker who died after a tractor tire fell on top of him as he was attempting to remove the tire on his own. Prior to the accident that claimed the worker’s life, he was asked to remove the tire by his employer, the farmer. The farmer specifically told the worker, however, not to remove the tire on his own.

After the accident, the worker’s family filed a wrongful death case against the farmer, claiming that the farmer did not provide the worker with the proper tools and created an unreasonably dangerous situation. The farmer argued that the worker assumed the risks involved in changing the tire by proceeding to do it by himself. The court agreed, dismissing the plaintiff’s case.

Continue Reading

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Florida issued a written opinion in a premises liability case that presented an issue that often comes up in Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall cases. The issue the court needed to decide was whether the defendant landowner could be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries when there was no evidence suggesting the landowner knew of the hazard that caused the plaintiff’s fall. The court determined that the landowner could not be held liable under the facts presented, and it dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

Concrete StainThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was visiting a BBQ stand that was located on the property of a sports club. After she had finished eating, the plaintiff was leaving when she slipped and fell on a patch of grease that had spilled onto the sidewalk.

The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against both the sports club that owned the property as well as the county that was responsible for maintaining the public sidewalk. The plaintiff’s theory was that the sports club was negligent for failing to empty the grease trap, which resulted in the grease spilling onto the sidewalk, and the county was negligent in failing to clean up the grease.

Continue Reading

Earlier this month, an appellate court in New Hampshire issued a written opinion in a premises liability lawsuit that presents interesting issues for Washington, D.C. accident victims considering filing a premises liability lawsuit. The case required the court to determine if the owner and operator of a carnival assumed a duty of care to a customer who had wandered off carnival grounds looking for a restroom when she was hit by a car. Ultimately, the court concluded that the defendant did not voluntarily assume a duty of care and dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

CrosswalkThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the mother of a young woman who was killed when she was struck by a car as she crossed the street after leaving a carnival put on by the defendant. The plaintiff’s daughter left the carnival in search of a restroom to wash her hands. The carnival had portable toilets with hand sanitizer in them, but the facility lacked running water.

As the plaintiff left the carnival grounds, she saw a fast-food restaurant that she thought would have a restroom she could use. The girl tried to press the button to indicate to passing motorists that a pedestrian was about to cross, but the signal was inoperative. The girl crossed the street nonetheless but was struck by a car. She died as a result of the injuries she sustained.

Continue Reading

Landowners in Washington, D.C. have a duty to those whom they invite onto their land to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. When someone is injured on another party’s property in Washington, D.C., they may be able to seek compensation for their injuries through a Washington, D.C. premises liability lawsuit.

RiverIn order to prove a premises liability case, a plaintiff will need to establish certain elements. For example, a plaintiff must establish that they were not aware of the hazard on the defendant’s property that caused their injuries. Similarly, the plaintiff must also establish that the harm the plaintiff suffered was foreseeable to the defendant. A recent appellate opinion filed in a premises liability case illustrates the type of analysis courts conduct in these lawsuits.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the parent of a child who wandered away from a party that was held on the defendant’s property and tragically drowned in the nearby Mississippi River. According to the court’s recitation of the facts, the plaintiff and her son were at a family member’s home for a party. It was a hot day, and the plaintiff’s son went swimming in the river with several adults and several children.

Continue Reading

Earlier this week, an appellate court in New Hampshire issued a written opinion in a personal injury lawsuit alleging that a town was liable for injuries sustained by the plaintiff while playing near a lake that was owned by the town. The case presents relevant issues for Washington, D.C. personal injury victims insofar as it discusses the state’s recreational use statute, which bears a close resemblance to other recreational use statutes in states like neighboring Maryland and Virginia.

Rope SwingThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff’s son was playing with a group of friends in a lake that was owned and maintained by the town where the lake was located. The plaintiff’s son was waiting near the water while his friend used a rope swing to fling himself into the water. The plaintiff’s son was attempting to slap the feet of his friend before he reached the water, when the two boys collided, causing the plaintiff’s son to sustain serious injuries.

The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the town, claiming that it was negligent in allowing the presence of the rope swing and in failing to place warning signs. The town responded by asserting recreational use immunity. Recreational use statutes apply to landowners who open up their property for the general enjoyment of others, and they confer immunity from some personal injury lawsuits that occur as a result of the use of the property.

Continue Reading

After any Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall accident, the injured party is entitled to pursue a claim for compensation against the party they believe to be responsible for their injuries. These Washington, D.C. premises liability claims must be brought within the timeframe set forth in D.C. Code § 12-301(8), which is three years from the date of the injury. If an accident victim fails to file their complaint on time, the court will dismiss the claim without reviewing it on the merits. This almost always results in the victim being completely prevented from recovering compensation for their injuries.

Old GarageWhile it may seem simple to determine what the applicable statute of limitations is, that is not always the case. In some situations, a plaintiff believes that their claims are subject to a longer statute of limitations, only to find out that a shorter time period applies. This was the case in a recent Georgia appellate court opinion.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were the parents of a young boy who was injured while the family was living in a rental property owned by the defendant. One day, the plaintiffs’ son leaned up against a brick wall and the wall collapsed, resulting in the boy sustaining serious injuries. He was hospitalized as a result and incurred significant medical expenses.

Continue Reading

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Rhode Island issued a written opinion in a premises liability case brought by a woman who fell through the wooden stairs leading up to the home in which she lived with the defendant. The case presented the court with the opportunity to discuss the doctrine of “res ipsa loquitur” as it applies to slip-and-fall cases when there is little to no evidence that the defendant knew that the dangerous condition causing the plaintiff’s fall existed. Ultimately, the court concluded that, without more, res ipsa loquitur does not apply.

Wooden StairsThe Ancient Doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur

The doctrine of res ipsa loquitur is an old common-law doctrine that, in Latin, translates to “the thing speaks for itself.” Courts have allowed plaintiffs to apply the doctrine when there was an accident that would not likely have occurred unless the defendant was negligent. In order for the doctrine to apply, several elements must be met:

  • The injury must be the type that would not normally occur without a negligent act;
  • The injury was caused by something that was in the exclusive control of the defendant; and
  • The plaintiff took no part in causing the accident.

Continue Reading

Earlier this month, a settlement was reached between a woman who was seriously injured while attending a track-and-field meet and the school where the injury occurred. According to a national news source covering the case, the accident occurred back in 2014 at a track meet for a local high school.

Discus in HandEvidently, the 85-year-old plaintiff was struck by a discus that had been thrown by a student athlete while she was standing in an area that was designated for spectators. The woman and her husband filed a personal injury lawsuit against the school under a premises liability theory. The couple alleged that the area designated for spectators was negligently placed in a dangerous location. Specifically, the couple claimed that since the spectator area was too close to where the student athletes were competing, spectators were at an unreasonable risk of being injured.

After the incident, the school decided to push back the spectator area and install signage, warning spectators about the potential dangers. Ultimately, the plaintiff was offered $350,000 for her injuries by the school, and she accepted.

Continue Reading

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Rhode Island issued a written opinion in a premises liability lawsuit brought by a man who fell down a spiral staircase as he was helping a friend move furniture out of the apartment that his friend rented from the defendant landlord. The court ultimately affirmed the trial judge’s ruling to overturn the jury’s verdict in favor of the plaintiff because insufficient evidence was presented to hold the defendant liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

Spiral StaircaseThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was helping his friend, who rented an apartment from the defendant, move some furniture. The only way to the apartment was up a spiral staircase. There was a small landing outside the apartment door, where residents would be able to stand as they unlocked the door.

As the plaintiff and his friend attempted to move a large piece of furniture out of the apartment, they first placed it on the landing. The plaintiff then repositioned himself a few steps below the landing, and he leaned against the handrail to keep his balance. As he leaned on the hand rail, he heard a crack, and the rail gave way. The plaintiff fell over the railing and through the center of the spiral staircase. The plaintiff then filed a premises liability lawsuit against the landlord, alleging that the landlord failed to keep the common areas of the apartment complex in a reasonably safe condition.

Continue Reading

Earlier this month, a Georgia appellate court issued a written opinion in a premises liability lawsuit brought by several tenants and their guests against the landlord that owned the home where the injuries occurred. Ultimately, the court determined that although the injuries occurred on the landlord’s property, the plaintiffs failed to meet the heightened burden required to establish liability against an out-of-possession landlord.

Back PorchThe Facts of the Case

The landlord purchased the home back in 1987. Shortly after the purchase, the landlord hired an independent contractor to replace the rear deck. The home was rented without incident until 2010.

Around the time when the plaintiffs moved into the home, the landlord went to the property to replace a few of the boards on the rear deck. Evidently, some of the boards were stained, and others had been charred by previous tenants. The landlord conducted a visual check of the deck and testified that everything seemed fine.

Continue Reading

Contact Information