Premises Liability Statute of Limitations in Washington State

premises liability

Property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a safe condition and are required to warn people of unsafe conditions on the property. If someone is injured, the property owner may be liable for damages. This is called premises liability and is a crucial part of owning a property.

The underlying idea behind holding property owners liable for injuries that occur on their premises is that a property owner has better knowledge of unsafe conditions on their property than a visitor, and that the property owner has a duty to keep their property in a safe condition for people who enter onto their property.

When a property owner fails to maintain their property in a safe condition, innocent people can suffer personal injuries and even death. If you or someone you care about was injured on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to monetary compensation.

What is a Premises Liability Case?

Premises liability is a broad category of personal injury claims that refer to instances in which a property owner, landlord, or property manager is negligent and their negligence causes injury or death to someone else.

Premises liability claims can occur on both residential and commercial property. They often arise due to injuries that were caused by poor maintenance, lack of security, slipping or tripping hazards, and even dog bites.

Common types of premises liability cases include injuries due to:

  • Slippery surfaces
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Sidewalk defects
  • Electrocution
  • Inadequate security
  • Falling objects
  • Poor fire safety
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Accidents at the grocery store or supermarket

Just like other personal injury cases, premises liability claims are subject to a statute of limitations. The statute of limitations requires that a claim for personal injuries be filed within a certain period of time. If a person is injured and does not file a lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, the claim will almost surely be dismissed.

What is the Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations refers to the length of time you have to bring a legal claim against someone else for harm you believe they caused. This amount of time is set by state law and will be different depending on a number of factors, including the state where you live, how old you were when the claim occurred, and the nature of the claim you are considering bringing.

States enact statutes of limitations to require parties who have been wronged to present their claims within a reasonable period of time. The statute of limitations provides a sense of predictability so people do not bring claims that have been dormant for a long period of time. If too long a time is allowed to pass, memories can fade, evidence may become lost, and results can be unfair.

But determining a reasonable amount of time for a statute of limitations depends on the type of claim and the age of the claimant.

In Washington, most personal injury claims, and specifically premises liability claims, are subject to a three-year statute of limitations. This means that an injured person must file a lawsuit against the people or businesses they believe caused their injuries within three years after the incident occurred. If an injured person waits more than three years, the defendant can seek to have the lawsuit dismissed on the basis that the statute of limitations expired.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

There are some notable to the three-year statute of limitations in premises liability claims.

In some situations, the three-year time period does not start to run until you discover that you were injured. However, this situation is more common in cases where the victim does not realize they were injured until a number of years have passed.

Other times, the statute of limitations is paused, or tolled. This may occur if the defendant was out of the state for any period of time.

Proving that the statute of limitations was tolled is often very difficult. If you believe the statute of limitations on your premises liability claim has been tolled, you should speak to an experienced personal injury attorney immediately to determine whether there is still a way to bring your claim.

Finally, a premises liability claim may be tolled if the victim was under the age of 18 at the time the injury occurred. The three-year clock does not start to run until the victim turns 18.

The Campbell Law Firm: Justice for Injury Victims in Northwest Washington

If you or someone love suffered an injury on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation. A Washington premises liability attorney can help.

The Campbell Law Firm can pursue a claim for personal injuries, and help and your family recover compensation for:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Psychological trauma

The Campbell Law Firm proudly represents people throughout Northwest Washington, in Oak Harbor, Coupeville, Friday Harbor, and throughout Skagit County including Anacortes, Mount Vernon, Burlington, or Sedro-Woolley.

We invite you to learn more about The Campbell Law Firm and Washington personal injury attorney Justin Campbell, and to contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

Categories: Personal Injury