How Long Might It Take to Resolve a Premises Liability Case?
Interviewer: How long could a premises liability case take to resolve?
Cases with Clear Liability That Resulted in Serious Injuries May Take Longer to Resolve
Bill Levinson: Cases with clear liability, which are the ones where there are really bad injuries, tend to take longer to resolve. I will give you a couple examples against big stores, including Home Depot, a warehouse store.
Large Establishments Can Afford to Employ Attorneys to Continually Delay a Resolution
I had a client who had an incident with these stairs employees wheel around to stock merchandise with and they lock them so that customers can’t use them. This one was built in such a way that covering the wheel was a flange and it stuck out about four inches. There was no reason for it to stick out above four inches and my client is looking at the merchandise. He hooks on foot on that flange and injured his knee severely.
The Courts Also Have Heavy Schedules; Cases Filed Today in Washington Would Not Go To Trial for 18 Months
Cases with really serious injuries usually have a defendant that has deep and unlimited pockets. In the state of Washington, if I filed a case today, our trial date would be in the middle of 2015 or towards the end of 2015.
Interviewer: Your clients have to persevere.
Bill Levinson: Yes, sometimes, it’s very, very difficult because they aren’t able to work and they’ve still got bills coming in. The delay in trial can be a hardship.
Are You Unsure If You Have a Premises Liability Case? Examples of Premises Liability Case Histories
Interviewer: What premises liability case or cases would you say have been more unusual than others?
Bill Levinson: I have a couple of interesting cases. I represent a delivery man in one of those step vans and he’d been delivering to this retail outlet for quite a while. On this particular occasion, the mall owner had resurfaced and repaved the parking lot. There was a drain that for whatever reason, the paving crew didn’t raise so there was a hole with a diameter of 10 or 12 inches that was about 12 inches deep.
My client stepped out of the van and put his foot into that hole and tore up his tendon in his foot. It’s interesting because there is national standards about how and what you do with surfaces that are paved.
It’s common sense that they would have raised the drain to the level of the surface. Interestingly enough, and they always do this, after this terrible injury they raised the drain.
I’ll tell you another thing that I found very interesting and required the services of my human factors expert. I use an expert in a case if I think there’s a question. The injuries that were sustained were serious. My client was going to work and she was walking in the parking lot and she fell and was injured.
The interesting aspect was that the parking lot was designed in such a way that the water did not drain off. It was a winter and a water pool then became ice. The standards for paving require the water to run off.
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