Dangerous Premises

About Dangerous Premises

Property owners are required to comply with applicable safety standards and maintain their premises. They must fix unstable stairway railings, deteriorated steps, unsafe playground equipment, malfunctioning door and window locks, hazardous swimming pool areas, icy walkways, and other dangerous conditions. They must also take steps to deter crimes such as robberies, burglaries, and assaults from being committed on their properties. This includes warning tenants and business invitees of known criminal activity. When property owners are indifferent to the safety and security of tenants and patrons on their premises, they put innocent people at risk. They also put themselves at risk of liability when otherwise preventable injuries occur on their premises.

Experience and Track Record

Washington, D.C. premises liability attorney Douglas Sparks has successfully handled numerous claims involving injuries and deaths at dangerous premises. His clients include a family whose child died after falling from an unscreened apartment building window, a young boy whose hand was sliced open by a loose bathroom fixture, an elderly woman who sustained hip and arm fractures from tripping over a dangerous restaurant step, an elderly man who died after falling into an uncovered manhole, a woman stabbed in the face by an intruder in her apartment building, and many others injured at unsafe office buildings, commercial establishments, and private properties. In virtually every instance, Mr. Sparks identified causal factors such as violations of building codes, municipal housing regulations, industry safety standards, prior crimes, and other hazards neglected by property owners. You can read news coverage about Mr. Sparks’ Dangerous Premises cases here and reviews here.

Representative Cases Handled by Douglas Sparks
  • A property management company removed screens from a family’s sixth floor apartment windows in August while workers cleaned exterior window surfaces. Management said that screens would be replaced the following day. Weeks later, however, the windows were still unscreened. The family had an asthmatic toddler who had difficulty breathing because the apartment’s air conditioner was broken and the temperature exceeded 90 degrees. One of the parent’s cracked open a window. He didn’t notice the toddler climb onto a couch, stick his head through the window opening, and plunge to his death. Mr. Sparks’ investigators discovered that a child had previously fallen from an unscreened window in another building owned by the same company. During litigation, he also established that, given the toddler’s size and weight, a secure window screen would have prevented the fall. The case settled before trial for a very large sum. The family was able to purchase a home, move out of the apartment building, and establish an educational fund for the deceased toddler’s sibling. The case received extensive publicity, which you can read about here.

  • A woman rented an apartment in the District of Columbia. One evening, she returned home from work and boarded a ground floor elevator to her fourth floor apartment. As the doors closed, an unknown man entered behind her. He robbed and then stabbed the woman in her face. The building was located in a high crime area, and investigation revealed that management knew of prior crimes by intruders on the property. A security guard was supposed to be monitoring the building’s entrance, but he was away from his post at the time. The case settled before trial for a substantial and confidential amount.

  • Early one morning, a woman was commuting to her job at Georgetown University Hospital. She exited a Metro bus and was walking on a public sidewalk when she stepped in an uncovered WASA water meter hole. The woman’s knee buckled, causing a complete rupture to her patellar tendon. Both the District of Columbia and WASA denied prior knowledge of the dangerous hole in the sidewalk, so Washington, D.C. premises liability lawyer Douglas Sparks filed suit against both entities. D.C. settled the case right before trial, but WASA insisted on a jury trial. During trial, Mr. Sparks introduced a photograph he’d from the Historical Preservation Society to prove that WASA’s water meter cover had been missing for years. The jury rendered a verdict for plaintiff.

If you’ve been seriously injured by dangerous conditions on another’s property, you should call Douglas Sparks at (202) 797-8200, fill out his online case inquiry form, or email him at dsparks@sparkslaw.net.