Washington Premises Liability Defendant Bound by Agreement to Accept Responsibility

Washington personal injury cases generally hinge on proving the defendant’s negligence.  A recent case, however, turned on contract law.  In this unusual case, the court had to determine if a defendant was bound by its agreement to accept responsibility for the condition of a parking lot after learning the accident did not occur on its property. According to the appeal court’s opinion, the plaintiff was injured when he hit a pothole while riding his bicycle in a parking lot.  He notified the realty company that owned the shopping complex property and Wal-Mart, which had a store in the shopping center. The realty company sent a letter to Wal-Mart stating Wal-Mart was responsible for maintaining the parking lot.  The plaintiff subsequently filed a claim with Wal-Mart.  Wal-Mart denied the claim, stating its investigation found no negligence on Wal-Mart’s part. The plaintiff then sued both the realty company and Wal-Mart, alleging one or…

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