Slips, trips, falls, and other types of accidents happen every day, and they often happen while on someone else’s property. This area of law is called premises liability, and such accidents can cause serious, life-changing injuries. If you hurt yourself while on someone else’s property, reaching out to a lawyer can help you learn about legal options for getting compensated for your losses. Getting the compensation you need is crucial to your physical and financial health. Today, the lawyers of Brett McCandlis Brown & Connor will discuss these claims and how a Bellingham premises liability lawyer can help you. Let’s begin with a discussion of the elements of a negligence claim, and how your status as a visitor impacts your claim.

When Is a Property Owner Liable for My Injuries?

A property owner’s liability depends on your classification at the time of the accident and whether or not the owner was negligent. To prove negligence, you must show that the owner or operator:

  • Owed you a duty of care,
  • Breached that duty,
  • Caused you harm when they breached their duty of care, and
  • You suffered losses from that breach.

An owner also has a duty to inspect for dangerous conditions and correct them so people are not harmed when on their property legally. If they breach this duty, they may be liable to certain individuals, but not all. Let’s look at the different visitor statuses and the duty an owner owes to each classification.


An invitee is a person invited onto a property for business purposes. An example of an invitee would be a patron at a grocery store. Therefore, if you suffered injuries as a business invitee, you may be entitled to compensation from the owner or operator if they failed to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition.


A licensee is on an owner’s property with implied consent—such as when a friend visits the owner for a social reason. A property owner in this scenario is responsible for injuries if they knew or should have known of a dangerous condition. Their failure to take reasonable care to keep the property safe or warn the licensee of the danger makes them liable for any resultant injuries.


A trespasser has no right to be on an owner or operator’s property. If someone sneaks onto a property as a trespasser, the owner owes them no duty of care. The only limitation is that a property owner can never intentionally or willfully injure a trespasser. But if a trespasser suffers injuries where the harm was not intentional, the property owner is likely not liable.

Now let’s look at how an attorney can help you get financial compensation if you are hurt on someone else’s property.

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How Does an Attorney Help Me Proceed on a Premises Liability Claim?

A premises liability lawyer assists clients in many ways to build a strong foundation for their case and secure their path to financial relief. Your lawyer will investigate, determine liability, talk to witnesses, calculate damages, provide or find experts, lead negotiations, and take your case to trial if that becomes necessary.

Investigate Your Claim

Your Bellingham premises liability attorney begins working immediately on investigating your claim and building a strong case. There are numerous ways to support your claim for damages, including getting the following pieces of evidence:

  • The accident report,
  • Medical records,
  • Photographs of the scene,
  • Photographs of your injuries, and
  • Surveillance footage.

It’s helpful to get evidence at the scene. However, if your injuries prevent you from gathering proof at the scene, your attorney undertakes efforts to collect evidence on your behalf.

Determine the At-Fault Party

A Bellingham premises liability lawyer is knowledgeable of the relevant law and can assist in proving a property owner’s liability for causing your injuries. It’s vital to properly determine who is at fault to get the compensation you need.

Talk to Witnesses

Witness testimony can be a valuable tool that helps prove the property owner’s negligence. It’s likely that another person witnessed your accident, and your attorney will work to track down these witnesses and get their full statements.

Calculate Damages

Knowing the value of your claim is vital to successful negotiation discussions. Through a review of your medical records, lost wages, and other evidence, your Bellingham premises liability attorney calculates the value of your case.

Provide Expert Witnesses

Expert testimony may be required to support your claim. A seasoned premises liability attorney has doctors, flooring experts, and other professionals at their disposal to help strengthen your case.


Trials are expensive and time-consuming. Luckily, most premises liability cases settle out of court and never go to trial. However, during the negotiation stage, insurers will use tactics to pressure an unrepresented person into accepting an offer that is far below the value of their case.

But when you have a seasoned attorney by your side, the insurer knows those tactics won’t work. Your lawyer will build and present a strong case, thereby getting you a settlement offer that will meet your needs.


If negotiations fail to progress in your favor, your attorney prepares your case for trial. Trial preparation is complex—and without an attorney, there’s a high likelihood that you’ll experience substantial delays or even a denial of your claim.

Our firm has attorneys with extensive experience in this field—who care deeply about protecting your best interests.

Attorneys Who Care

At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, our attorneys are skilled in personal injury law and provide exceptional legal representation when you need it most.

Paula McCandlis

For over 20 years, Attorney Paula McCandlis has provided exceptional legal services. When she first meets you as a potential client, Paula seeks to understand who you are, what happened to you, and how your injuries altered your life. With years of experience, Paula possesses incomparable insight and knows how to articulate and prove the value of your losses.

David Brown

A dedicated problem solver, Attorney David Brown works tirelessly to help you understand your situation and how the law applies to your case. David believes that clients who understand their options are empowered to make the right decisions for themselves. He will work to help you achieve great results.

Matt Conner

Attorney Matt Conner has a proven track record of success assisting clients on a wide variety of cases, including premises liability. Matt routinely fights against personal insurance companies, corporations, municipalities, or other individuals—and will stop at nothing to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Matt understands that you come to him during what is likely one of the most difficult times in your life, and he prides himself in working hard to make you whole again.

Contact Us

With over $100 million recovered for clients, the legal team at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner is ready to help you achieve justice. From the moment you hire us, you can stop worrying about your case and focus on healing. As we focus on your financial recovery, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands. It costs nothing to hire us, as we only get paid when you get a settlement or judgment in your favor. Contact us by phone or email to learn more about how we can assist you.

Our office in Bellingham, WA