When you go to the store, eat at a restaurant, or visit any other establishment, you don’t usually anticipate getting injured as you presume the appropriate parties take the necessary precautions to maintain a safe environment and prevent serious accidents and injuries. Property owners in the District of Columbia owe guests a legal duty of care, meaning they must ensure the property is safe from any dangers. Property owners can be held accountable for any injuries resulting from their carelessness if they fail to uphold their legal obligation towards their guests. However, there are some exceptions to the level of care a property owner owes a guest that could hinder your ability to file a premises liability claim and recover compensation for your damages. If you have been injured due to a business owner’s negligence, please continue reading and contact a skilled Washington D.C. Slip & Fall Lawyer to discover what classifications of guests can pursue legal action against a business for injuries sustained on their premises.
Can I file a premises liability claim against a business if I was injured on their property in D.C.?
In the District of Columbia, property owners must exercise reasonable care to keep those who are lawfully on their property safe. Therefore, if you are injured while on a business’s property, depending on the specific circumstances, you may be entitled to file a premises liability claim to seek monetary compensation for your losses. However, you must fulfill the burden of proof before collecting compensation for your damages. In a premises liability claim, to satisfy the burden of proof, you must prove that the business owner owed you a standard duty of care; they breached that duty of care, directly causing you to suffer injuries and damages.
Does it matter why you were on the property?
As mentioned above, despite, in most cases being able to take legal action against a business owner for injuries sustained on their property, the reasoning you were on the property in the first place matters as different classifications of guests are owed different levels of care from property owners. Individuals on a property are broken down into the following categories:
- An invitee: an individual who has received an expressed or implied invitation from the property owner to enter the premises. For a business, invitees are consumers who come onto the property to purchase their products or services.
- A licensee: an individual who has received an expressed or implied invitation to enter a property but is not on the property for a business transaction. Licensees enter a property for social reasons.
- A trespasser: an individual who has not received consent to enter a property.
As trespassers are not permitted to enter the premises, property owners do not owe them a duty of care. Therefore they are not liable for trespassers’ injuries. However, property owners can be held accountable if they intentionally harm a trespasser. Invitees are owed the highest level of care due to the potential financial profit property owners will make from these guests entering the premises.
If you want to file a premises liability claim against a business for negligence, contact a determined lawyer from Trombly & Singer, PLLC, who can help you fight for the just compensation you deserve.