What Type of Accident Comprises a Premises Liability Case?
Bill Levinson: My name is Bill Levinson, I’m a lawyer in Kent, Washington and the subject we’re going to be talking about this morning is called premises liability.
Interviewer: How long have you worked with these cases?
Bill Levinson: Forty two years.
Interviewer: How many cases do you think you’ve handled so far?
Bill Levinson: I have worked with hundreds of cases.
Interviewer: Does premises liability only pertain to slips and falls? If not, what are some other examples?
Bill Levinson: Slips and falls, trips over merchandize just left in a store are attributed to premises liability cases, as well as stairs that are defective. In a house for example, items or furniture left outside with inadequate lighting can also be attributed to these cases.
I find they occur pretty much anywhere you’re walking and you fall and you’re hurt—that is caused by something other than you tripping over your own feet.
Premises Liability Cases Can Occur in Almost Any Business Establishment
Interviewer: What are the most common locations that premises liability injuries occur?
Bill Levinson: They literally can occur everywhere. They occur in parking lots, homes, sidewalks, department stores, and fast food stores. Home Depot and the other big box stores are the common culprits of many premises liability cases. I can’t think of a location where I haven’t handled some type of a premises liability case.
Landlords Have an Obligation to Ensure the Safety of Their Tenants
Interviewer: For tenant-landlord cases, what are some of the hazards that would cause injury there?
Landlords Should Keep Areas Free from Ice
Bill Levinson: I’m handling a case right now in which freezing fog came in at night. My client came out early in the morning to walk his dog. He took one step on ice, black ice that he wasn’t aware of and really injured himself badly because he fell down concrete stairs.
Interviewer: The question was for landlord cases, what are the hazards that someone may experience as far as an injury goes?
Landlords Must Keep Common Areas, Including Lawns and Roadways, Well Lit and Free from Obstacles
Bill Levinson: I’m handling another case right now with a tenant in an apartment complex. The complex had inadequate lighting in the common area and there was a shopping cart that was left in the common area. This was something that the landlord had a habit of seeing and not removing them and my client fell over it and injured himself badly.
In another case, a landlord had excavated a pipe in the backyard of my client’s home. Over the course of a few seasons, the lawn needed to be mowed and she was riding a mower. She went close to where the hole was located and she stepped off the lawnmower. The grate was a foot down below the level and she fell and injured herself pretty badly.
I’m doing another case in an apartment complex that had speed bumps, and again, inadequate lighting. That speed bump was the same color as the surrounding pavement and my expert says that that is a hazard. My client was injured badly when he tripped over the bump.
Were You Injured Last Year in Business or Residential Property? Washington State Has a 3-Year Statute of Limitations; Oregon Has a 2-Year Statute of Limitations to Pursue a Claim
Interviewer: If an injury happened several years ago, do you think it’s still worth pursuing a case?
Bill Levinson: If it’s within the statute of limitations and liability is good, those two things have to occur. The next question and the question on any personal injury case is the severity of the injury. As long as you are within the statute of limitations, if after that period of time there was substantial treatment and possibly symptoms that have persisted, then yes, it would be worth pursuing.
Interviewer: What is the statute of limitations?
Bill Levinson: In the state of Washington, it’s three years. The state of Oregon has a two year statute of limitations.