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.
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.
When a person goes onto another person's land as a guest of some kind, the visitor can generally expect that the owner will provide them with a reasonably safe environment. Washington law provides that the owner has a duty of care to visitors. If the owner's carelessness leads to unsafe conditions, and the unsafe conditions lead to the visitor being injured, the owner can be held liable for the injured visitor's damages.
After living in a home for a period of time, a Washington resident may come to understand the unique quirks and characteristics of their residence. They may know which steps squeak when they are stepped on, or they may know where the floor bows and is not level. They may learn how to safely walk through hallways that are dark or not to use particular faucets that only produce hot water.
A dog bite or attack can inflict serious physical injuries on a Washington victim. Immediately after the attack, a victim should seek medical attention to make sure their health is not threatened and they are not at risk of contracting a serious illness. Once a victim has taken the appropriate precautions regarding their health and welfare, they may start the process of understanding their options for seeking justice.
Clean floors, wet floor signs and level sidewalks are all things we may take for granted as we run errands and visit local establishments. Going about our daily lives comes with an expectation of feeling safe and avoiding injury from a slippery floor or a hole in the sidewalk.