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Do Premises Liability Laws Protect Party Guests?

Posted by Russell West | Aug 30, 2023 | 0 Comments

These days, it is easy to feel like everyone is going out of their way to see the worst in other people, and no one gives anyone a chance. You do not have to be an old fogey to remember the days before COVID when people used to socialize and looked forward to social events. If our society can ever return to our pre-pandemic levels of sociability, we must do it one social gathering at a time. What could be more prosocial than inviting people to your house and sharing food and drinks with them just because you enjoy their company? What happens if you get injured in a preventable accident while attending a social gathering at someone's house? There is no PIP insurance for slipping and falling on a friend's pool deck. Even if suing your friend goes against everything you believe in, it still helps to understand your legal rights as a starting point for working things out with your friend. To find out more, contact a Spokane slip and fall accident lawyer.

What is the Difference Between an Invitee and a Licensee?

If you get injured in a preventable accident on someone else's private property, premises liability laws grant you the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner or operator of the property. Washington case law has determined that the way to tell whether an accident was preventable is the “reasonable foreseeability” test. In other words, should the property owner reasonably have known that the danger was present? If yes, then you have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit.

As for how much responsibility the property owner has to protect the visitor from danger, it depends on why the visitor was visiting. Premises liability laws set different rules for invitees and licensees. “Invitee” and “licensee” don't mean what you might expect them to mean. In this context, an invitee is a customer at a business, and a licensee is a guest at a private residence. In general, premises liability laws do not apply to trespassers. You have a legal duty not to injure trespassers intentionally, but you do not have to build or maintain the fence around your property in such a way that someone who tries to climb over it will not get injured.

How Cautious Does the Law Require Social Hosts to Be About the Safety of Their Guests?

If the visitor is an invitee, the property owner must continuously check for hazards and repair them or prevent invitees from accessing them. If the visitor is a licensee, the property owner does not have to repair hazards for the licensee's benefit, but the owner should warn the licensee about the hazard. 

Contact West Law Office About Premises Liability Cases

A premises liability lawyer can help you if you get injured at a place of business or a social gathering. Contact West Law Office in Spokane, Washington, to find out more about your legal options.

About the Author

Russell West

Russell West from West Law Office, located in Spokane, Washington represents clients in areas of criminal traffic, misdemeanors, and personal injury. DUI’s, Reckless Driving, Negligent driving, Hit and Run, and Driving with Suspended license are the majority of criminal traffic violations. Drug Charges, Theft, and Domestic Violence account for most of the other criminal cases Russell handles.


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West Law Office - Russell West Attorney

Spokane Attorney Russell West practice areas include: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Motorcycle Accidents, Slip and Falls, DUIs, DOL Hearings, Criminal Traffic, Expungement/Vacating Records, and Insurance Bad Faith

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