How Might Intoxication Factor into the Viability of a Premises Liability Case?
Interviewer: What if someone slips and falls inside or outside of a bar or recreational area and they’re intoxicated. Does the bar have liability?
Bill Levinson: There are two distinctions and there are two different areas. A different law is applied to a recreational area. I have handled a bar case where a person who’s had several drinks goes out to have a cigarette on a balcony. In the window there’s a sign that says, or actually it was supposed to have been hung on the door but it was a sign that says, “The deck is slippery.”
In the northwest, in winter, it rains a lot and this deck happened to be wood and it was soaked. My client went out to have a cigarette and she landed on her head and we did very well.
Is There Liability If You Are Injured at a State Park?
Interviewer: At a public park or a public area, if someone gets attacked by an animal, snakes or dog, how is that handled?
The State of Washington Affords Immunity to the State Regarding Liability, with the Exception of Hazardous or Hidden Conditions
Bill Levinson: There is more than one scenario. First of all, if a person is attacked by a dog, the owner of the attacking dog is liable. With regards to a state park, if a person is injured using the park as it was intended, there’s a body of law in the State of Washington that gives immunity to the state.
That doesn’t mean that the state is not liable for hazardous conditions or hidden hazardous conditions.
Interviewer: What are some examples of those?
Bill Levinson: Let’s say you have a swimming area and a diving area and there is some type of a hidden hazard or an obstruction in the diving area. If a person enters the water and they make contact with the obstruction, the state would be liable for that hidden hazard.
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