No one anticipates suffering a life-changing injury when they visit a friend at their home or shop for groceries at the neighborhood store. These tragic incidents can turn your life and the lives of your loved ones upside down. Despite the harsh reality you may be facing, it’s important to remember that you have the right to recover compensation for your injuries and other losses. Washington law requires property owners and occupiers to ensure that their property is safe from hazards and other dangerous conditions. A Mount Vernon premises liability attorney from Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner can help you navigate through this complex area of law to get the financial support you deserve. Read on to learn more about what premises liability is, and who gets protection under Washington law.

What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability encompasses a wide range of case types within personal injury law. Most premises liability cases relate to injuries that happen due to dangerous conditions on the property of others. The most common examples of premises liability accidents include the following:

  • Slip, trip, and fall accidents;
  • Elevator and escalator accidents;
  • Dog bites; and
  • Construction site accidents.

Premises liability cases may involve one property owner or multiple parties who share responsibility for your injuries. Your Mount Vernon premises liability lawyer analyzes the unique details of your case to determine who may be on the hook for your harm.

How Do I Proceed with a Premises Liability Claim?

The first step in any premises liability case is identifying your status on the property where you suffered your injuries. Washington law classifies individuals involved in premises liability lawsuits as invitees, licensees, or trespassers. An injured person’s classification determines the level of care the owner or occupier owes them.


Those who visit an open commercial establishment such as a grocery store, gas station, or bookstore are invitees. Invitees are invited onto a property to do business. An owner or occupier owes invitees a duty to exercise ordinary care to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition.

Owners and occupiers in these scenarios must regularly inspect their property for dangerous conditions and correct them. For example, suppose a grocery store manager fails to regularly inspect their store and misses a jar of spilled clear liquid, and that spill results in a slip and fall accident. In that scenario, the store would be responsible for the victim’s injuries. This duty to inspect also applies to a duty to protect invitees from criminal conduct the owner knows or should know about.


A licensee is a person on an owner or occupier’s property with implied consent. Examples of licensees are a person visiting a friend’s home, a mailman delivering mail, or a repairman. In these situations, an owner or occupier is responsible if they know or should know about a dangerous condition, and don’t make the property safe or warn the licensee about the condition. For example, suppose you decide to stop by a friend’s home to drop off a gift. The friend does not have a duty to inspect their property when you arrive. However, if they know of any hazards, such as a large crack in a sidewalk or a missing step on the porch, they have a duty to warn you about that condition.


A trespasser is someone who does not have consent to be on an owner’s property. Owners and occupiers do not owe trespassers any duty of care, however, they may not intentionally injure trespassers by creating a dangerous condition.

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Understanding your classification is the first step of your premises liability claim. Once determined, your Mount Vernon premises liability lawyer can define the owner’s duty of care. After that, they can determine the losses you can recover.

What Damages Can I Recover?

When you sit down with your property accident lawyer, they begin to break down the potential damages you may be entitled to recover. Washington law permits victims injured in premises liability cases to recover economic and noneconomic damages from the party responsible for their losses.

Economic Damages

Economic damages represent direct financial losses stemming from your injury. Examples of economic damages include the following:

  • Medical expenses,
  • Lost wages,
  • Loss of future earnings, and
  • Property damage.

Your Mount Vernon premises liability lawyer uses invoices, pay stubs, and receipts to calculate your economic damages.

Noneconomic Damages

Noneconomic damages include less tangible losses resulting from an injury. Due to their subjective nature, these damages are particularly challenging to prove without the help of a qualified attorney. Examples of these damages include the following:

  • Pain and suffering,
  • Emotional distress,
  • Loss of consortium,
  • Loss of enjoyment of life, and
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement.

Calculating noneconomic damages requires your testimony (as the victim), medical professionals, and other experts. Without an attorney, you may miss out on meaningful compensation that will assist you on your road to recovery.

Our Attorneys

The attorneys at Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner understand the legal complexity of premises liability cases. We can help you build a strong case clearly establishing the property owner’s liability and resultant financial obligations.

Paula McCandlis

For over 20 years, Attorney Paula McCandlis has fought hard for her clients at the most difficult time in their lives. Her goal in every case is maximum compensation for pain and suffering. Paula understands how hard it is to describe the pain and suffering you feel as a result of your injuries. Her years of legal experience give her the insight and tools to find the words for what you are experiencing.

David Brown

Attorney David Brown knows what it means to earn money one dollar at a time. When clients come to David seeking help, nothing bothers him more than when insurers use unethical tactics to pay you less than your case is worth. You need that money to get the medical treatment you need and get back on your feet. So David takes the time to talk to each client about the law and explain how the law applies to them. He believes that the more informed you are about the law, the more empowered you are to make the best decisions.

Matt Conner

Attorney Matt Conner has a proven track record of success. Matt’s energy and compassion help victims achieve the best possible outcome for their case. When you hire Matt, he’ll fight tenaciously on your behalf. His focus is on helping you get back on your feet with the financial compensation you deserve. Matt is a personal injury lawyer who cares and is highly skilled at addressing client concerns and building a strong case.

Contact Us

Brett McCandlis Brown & Conner has secured over $100 million for clients in settlements and judgments. With understanding, compassion, and tenacity, our Mount Vernon personal injury lawyers concentrate on your financial recovery while you focus on your physical and emotional recovery. We know how difficult these times can be, and we are here to help you move forward by getting you the compensation you need and deserve. You can depend on us to fight by your side. We have assisted many clients with the legal side of terrible accidents, painful injuries, and tragic wrongful deaths. We want to do the same for you. Contact us today by phone or email to get a free consultation and learn how we can assist you!

Our office in Mount Vernon, WA