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Western Washington Personal Injury Law Blog

Understanding a landowner's duty of care to a social guest

When residents of Seattle visit their friends, legal liability is probably not in the forefront of the guest's or homeowner's mind. Nevertheless, serious injuries often occur in the context of a social visit, and an overview of the law of homeowner liability may provide either comfort or a warning to the homeowner.

Like most rules of tort liability in the common law, a homeowner's duty to social guests is based upon the concept of due care. The law of negligence requires each person to use due care in dealing with others. But what is "due care"? In Washington, an owner or occupier of real estate has a legal duty to inform visitors to the premises of any dangerous conditions of which the owner has actual knowledge or about which the owner can reasonably be expected to have knowledge. In other words, the owner must notify all guests of a dangerous condition, such as a loose handrail on a stairway or a missing step. The law charges the owner or possessor of the premises with knowledge of such defects. The occupier of the premises is also charged with a duty to notify any guest of such defects and the danger they pose.

What is an "affirmative defense"?

It is not uncommon for Washington residents to deny accusations of wrongdoing, and this strategy is often employed in criminal cases in which people are wrongly accused of committing crimes. If the facts do not prove that a person engaged in criminal conduct, they should not be convicted of the accusations that have been brought against them.

However, from time to time an individual may have actually committed what is technically a crime, but may still have defense strategy options. Affirmative defenses are available when certain facts surrounding an alleged crime release an individual from culpability. For example, if a person is charged with assaulting another person, they may admit to inflicting harm on the other person, but may be able to claim that the other person consented to the allegedly criminal conduct.

Truck accidents can have many different causes

An accident between a large truck and a passenger vehicle can be a deadly event. When an Edmonds resident is involved in a collision with a semi or other large commercial vehicle they may suffer serious injuries that impact the long-term quality of their life. Recovering from a truck accident can be a time consuming and expensive process and victims can decide to sue for their damages to aid them in their recovery pursuits.

Knowing how to plead a truck accident case can depend greatly on why the accident happened in the first place. There are a number of different causes of truck accidents and not all possible causes will be discussed in this post. Readers should always speak with their own personal injury attorneys to determine how best to address their pending legal claims.

Are fewer drivers driving while distracted in 2019?

Warnings against distracted driving are everywhere—on the news, on social media, in national campaigns and more. With such a vocal, constant presence warning against the dangers of distracted driving, are fewer drivers driving while distracted in 2019?

Unfortunately, recent studies point to a national increase in distracted driving. From just 2018 to 2019, a study from Zendrive reports that drivers are 10% more distracted this year. In a list of the most distracted cities in the country, Seattle just makes the list with drivers indicating they spend about 7.13% of their time in the car using their phones.

What is an "attractive nuisance"?

Parents with small children may be amazed by their kids' capacities to find fun in basic household items. A child may have a room full of new toys but may derive more entertainment from the box they arrived in than from the actual products their parents purchased from them. Because children can be capricious and inquisitive in their actions, they can get themselves into tricky and sometimes dangerous situations when they are not fully supervised by responsible adults.

This is especially true when children are free outdoors. While expected threats like roadway traffic and dangerous strangers are always issues that can place children in harm's way, children can suffer serious and even fatal injuries when they are hurt on the properties of other people. This is particularly the case when those properties contain dangerous but interesting hazards within their boundaries.

Burns are a serious threat to personal injury victims' health

Most Washington residents have made the careless mistake of grabbing something hot when they were distracted. More than a few people have taken hold of pot handles only to remember that the dishes were just over heat. Those individuals may suffer pain on their palms and blisters that bother them for a few days, but, in general, those minor singes of their skin will heal and allow them to fully live their lives.

Not all burns are minor. In fact, burns can be catastrophic injuries that can disable individuals for the rest of their lives. It is important to understand how burns are classified and the problems that may develop as a result of burn occurrences.

Advocacy for victims of truck accidents

Vehicle accidents are common, but each one is unique. The individual set of circumstances that gave rise to the collision between two or more vehicles, as well as the injuries and losses suffered by the victims, may give it its own facts on which to proceed. When one of the vehicles involved in the crash was a large truck or other commercial vehicle, even more distinctive considerations may need to be made.

That is because large trucks and vehicles are often subject to different rules and regulations than other automobiles when they travel on Washington roads. Their drivers may be required to hold special licenses to drive them, and they may be subject to different speed limits and maneuvering limitations on the roads. There are regulations regarding how large trucks should be loaded and their cargos secured, and special safety steps that their drivers should take to ensure that they are not a danger to anyone with whom they share the roads.

What is "peripheral neuropathy"?

The human body is a complex set of systems that perform unique and life-sustaining functions. When one system is affected by illness or injury, Washington residents may feel its impact throughout their body. This fact is never truer than when individuals sustain damage to their system of nerves.

Nerves carry impulses throughout individuals' bodies. When the brain sends a message out for the body to move, breathe or engage in any other type of function, that signal is carried to its intended location by nerves. The spinal cord is a long set of nerves that connect the brain to the rest of the body and, when it is damaged through an injury-causing event, widespread problems can result.

Assault charges can carry different penalties and sanctions

Assault charges are very serious and can result in criminal convictions for Edmonds residents. A person who is charged with assault should understand that different penalties can occur in their case, depending upon the degree of the charge. There are significant differences between first, second and third degree assault charges.

First degree assault is the most serious charge that a person may face in this category of offenses. It is charged when a person intends to inflict great bodily harm on their alleged victim through the use of a firearm or deadly weapon, or when they expose them to a dangerous poison or substance. First degree assault may also be charged when a person is alleged to have actually inflicted great bodily harm on another person.

What are bike lanes and buffer zones?

Washington bicyclists have some of the most amazing scenery to witness and routes to ride when they are traveling along the roads of the state. They also, however, face many perils from vehicle drivers when those individuals fail to recognize bikes near them and put them in danger. In some locations, bicyclists may be able to seek refuge in bike lanes or may even see buffer zones. This post will briefly discuss these road features and how they may help to keep bike riders' safe.

Bike lanes are marked paths on existing roads where bicyclists should be able to ride without the encroachment of motor vehicles. This means that drivers should not operate their cars, trucks, and vans in bike lanes, nor should they cross the lines that divide riders from vehicles unless such action is legal and appropriate to do.

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