What Damages Can I Receive for a Premises Liability Case in Washington?

Categories: Personal Injury

What Damages Can I Receive for a Premises Liability Case in Washington?

After suffering injuries on someone else’s property, many people blame themselves for their own negligence in causing the accident. But victims should not assume they are to blame for their injuries. An owner or operator of property may have owed you a duty to keep their property safe from the dangerous condition that caused your injury.

If your injuries happened on someone else’s property, you may have the right to recover compensation for your losses. A qualified personal injury attorney in Washington can help. Read on to learn more about the types of premises liability damages that are recoverable in these cases and how they could help you. 

What Are Premises Liability Damages? 

In Washington, a premises liability accident victim can receive compensatory damages. Compensatory damages can be economic or noneconomic, but both types compensate the victim for their injuries and damages. 

Economic Damages

Economic damages are actual calculable expenses and costs you incur from your injuries. You can easily add up out-of-pocket expenses, anticipated estimates, and invoices for future costs to reach a reasonably accurate monetary figure. Typical economic damages include:

  • Medical costs. You can seek damages for any present medical bills and anticipated medical costs. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may have medical bills for years to come.
  • Lost wages and ability to work. You can seek compensation for any lost wages from when you could not work due to your injury, including anticipated future lost wages if your injury renders you unable to earn a living even in the future. Lost earnings can also include lost benefits such as retirement and pension earnings. 
  • Lost value of household and childcare services. If you can no longer care for your children or perform housework due to your injury, you can pursue compensation to cover the cost of hiring outside help.

Although less likely in premises liability cases, if property such as a motor vehicle were destroyed or damaged, you could seek reimbursement for repairing or replacing the damaged property. 

While economic damages are relatively straightforward, the actual dollar amount can vary dramatically among plaintiffs. Our team can help you estimate your potential damages.

Noneconomic Damages

In Washington, a plaintiff may also seek noneconomic damages. Just as economic damages, these are meant to compensate the plaintiff for their loss. The difference is that noneconomic damages compensate victims for their subjective or intangible losses. Severe injuries and traumatic accidents can have more than just physical effects on your life; they can cause significant negative consequences.

Examples of noneconomic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering,
  • Emotional distress,
  • Mental anguish,
  • Disfigurement,
  • Loss of consortium, and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

Noneconomic damages can be challenging to quantify because they are unique to the individual. An accident or injury may be devastating, with significant pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life to one person, but to a different individual, similar injuries may be less impactful. 

Although it can be challenging to determine the monetary value of noneconomic damages, you are nevertheless entitled to them. Hiring an experienced and knowledgeable premises liability attorney can be the difference between minimal and significant noneconomic damages for your injuries.

No Punitive Damages 

Washington is one of the few states that does not allow punitive damages in personal injury lawsuits. Even if the victim can show the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious, intentional, or otherwise reckless, they cannot seek punitive damages to punish the defendant for their conduct.

What Is the Statute of Limitations? 

The statute of limitations for any case is the period that a person has to file their case to pursue their rights under the law. A failure to file at this time bars you from doing so at a later time. The statute of limitations for most personal injury actions in Washington is three years from the date of the incident. While some exceptions exist, speak to a lawyer as soon as possible to avoid losing the ability to file your premises liability claim

Factors Influencing the Damages You Can Receive

No two cases are alike, and the specific type and amount of damages you can receive from a premises liability case can vary widely depending on the circumstances. 

A handful of factors will be relevant in determining the outcome of your lawsuit:

  • The type of premises liability accident (i.e., slip and fall, roof collapse, dog bite, etc.);
  • The severity of the accident itself;
  • The severity of your injuries;
  • Your age, overall health, and medical history (i.e., pre-existing health conditions);
  • You present and anticipated medical costs;
  • Any lost wages or impact on your ability to earn a living;
  • Any intangible losses you experience, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish;
  • Applicable insurance policy limits; 
  • Who the defendants are;
  • The number of defendants; and
  • Applicable state law.

Here’s an example of how these factors can influence a claim. Suppose you suffer a slip and fall on untreated ice outside of a large corporate retail store and sustain severe permanent back injuries. In that case, you may be able to receive significant damages. Why? Well, for several reasons. You suffered a severe permanent injury, and the defendant is a large corporate store, likely with hefty insurance policies. In this scenario, there may even be multiple defendants, including a snow and ice removal company that negligently failed to treat the ice.

Meeting with your attorney and having an in-depth discussion of the circumstances surrounding your accident and injury will help you better understand the types and amounts of damages you may be eligible for. 

Whether your case settles outside of court or proceeds to trial, the judge or jury will utilize these factors to render their award.

How Do We Get There?

Just because you might be injured in a premises liability accident doesn’t mean you are automatically entitled to premises liability damages. As the plaintiff, you must prove your case.

To have a successful claim, you must prove the following:

Defendant Owned or Controlled the Property

You must show the defendant owned, leased, operated, lived on, controlled, or managed the property where you were injured. 

Defendant Owed You a Duty of Care

Next, you must prove the defendant owed you a duty of care, and that duty will depend on your visitor classification. Whether you are an invitee, licensee, or trespasser will determine the standard of care the defendant owes you. For example, if you are an invited guest at another individual’s home, you are generally owed the highest duty of care as an invitee. 

Defendant Breached that Duty of Care

If you can establish the defendant owed you a duty of care, you must show that the defendant breached that duty by failing to keep the property safe.

Defendant’s Breach Caused Your Injury

Finally, you must show that the defendant’s breach caused your injuries. For example, if the defendant knew about a spill on their grocery store floor and you were injured when you slipped on it, it is reasonable to conclude the defendant’s failure to clean up the spill caused your injury.

Contact Our Premises Liability Lawyers

At Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner PLLC, our personal injury attorneys have recovered over $100 million for our clients. You may be entitled to significant damages if you or a loved one was injured on someone else’s property. Contact us today for a no-cost consultation to find out. 

Contact Us 

When you hire Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, you can stop worrying about medical bills, lost wages, insurance adjusters, and future expenses. Instead, you can focus on your physical and emotional recovery while our legal team gets to work on getting you the compensation you need. Our compassionate, knowledgeable, and aggressive legal team is ready to fight for your rights and help you and your family get back on their feet.

When you experience an injury due to someone else’s negligence you can depend on Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner to fight by your side. We have assisted many of our clients with the legal side of terrible accidents, painful injuries, and tragic wrongful deaths. We can do the same for you. Contact us today by phone or email to get a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.


Author Photo

Matt Conner

Matt Conner, a distinguished attorney at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner, brings a unique blend of financial and legal expertise to his practice. Graduating with a double major in mathematics and economics from Willamette University, he initially honed his analytical skills as an economist for the State of Oregon. Specializing in personal injury law, Matt is adept at handling a wide array of cases, including multiparty litigation against large entities, and claims involving gun violence, sexual and police misconduct, car accidents, traumatic brain injuries, and wrongful death. Admitted to the Washington State Bar in 2014, he is known for his tenacious advocacy and deep compassion for clients facing life-altering challenges. His approach is not just about legal representation; it’s about restoring lives.