Government Liability for Washington, D.C. Accidents

Property owners have a duty to maintain a safe location for those whom they invite onto their land. When a private landowner or business fails to safely maintain their property, and a visitor is injured as a result, the injured visitor may be able to pursue compensation for their injuries through a Washington, D.C. premises liability lawsuit.

Government entities also have a similar duty to maintain safe premises. However, recovering compensation for injuries that occur on government-owned land can be more difficult, since issues of immunity may prevent a case from proceeding as it would against a private party.

A recent case illustrates how an accident victim may be prevented from bringing a case against a government entity. While the case is a good example of a situation in which liability was found not to be appropriate, accident victims should not be discouraged and should individually consult with a dedicated personal injury attorney to discuss their case and any potential claims.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured when he ran into a pothole while rollerblading in the street. The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the city where the street was located, arguing that the city’s failure to safely maintain the road resulted in his fall and subsequent injuries.

The city sought the dismissal of the case, based on a type of recreational-use statute. A recreational-use statute confers immunity to property owners (in this case the government) who open up their land for the general use of the public. The idea behind these statutes is that lawmakers want to encourage property owners to allow the use of their land without fear of a lawsuit should someone injure themselves.

The pertinent statute in this case had two relevant sections. The first section stated that rollerblading is only permitted in designated areas. The second part of the statute stated that a landowner cannot be held liable for any injury to someone who is rollerblading in an area where they are permitted to do so.

The plaintiff’s argument was that he was not rollerblading in a place where he was permitted to be, so the statute did not apply. However, the court rejected the plaintiff’s argument, stating that it would lead to an absurd result in that a property owner could only be held liable for a rollerblader’s injuries if that person was rollerblading in an area where he was not permitted to do so.

Have You Been Injured in a Washington, D.C. Slip-and-Fall Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured while visiting the nation’s capital, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Washington, D.C. premises liability lawsuit. The federal government has a duty to maintain Washington, D.C.’s parks and monuments in safe condition, and if you have been injured, you may have a case for compensation. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated Washington, D.C. personal injury attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

Plaintiffs’ Claim to Recover Medical Expenses Dismissed Because It Was Filed After the Applicable Statute of Limitations, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, October 3, 2017

Plaintiff’s Improper Service of Defendant Results in Dismissal of Wrongful Death Case, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, September 19, 2017

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