Before determining if person has a Washington State personal injury claim due to unsafe conditions on another’s premise it is imperative that you consider the injured person’s legal status. In Washington State a person status upon another’s property is generally either a “Invitee”, “Licensee”, or a “trespasser.”

Each status category requires a different “duty of care” by the property owner

Invitee – Generally is a person invited onto the property for some kind of business, usually held open to the public and to the benefit of the owner. The owner owes a duty of ordinary care to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition.

Licensee – has permission to enter property but does not enter for any business benefit. An example is a social guest at a private home. The owner/possessor’s duty of care to the licensee is less than the duty to an invitee. For the most part, the owner has a duty not to willfully injure the licensee, as well as a duty to warn of hidden dangers which he has knowledge.

Trespasser – is on the premises without express or implied permission. The trespasser assumes the risks of all hazards that he finds there. If the trespasser is injured on the property, he will probably be barred from receiving compensation due to the injuries. The owner owes no legal duty to take precautions for the safety of a trespasser who is not expected to be on the premises.

Before a personal injury case is started it is necessary to determine what the status is of the person who had been injured on or in the property of another. Once the status is determined, then and only then can it be established what duty of care the owner or possessor owed to the injured party. If you have been injured on the property of another it would be wise to contact a Washington State premise liability attorney as soon as you can.

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