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Virginia Premises Liability Lawyer

Lawsuits arising out of negligent construction or property maintenance are usually referred to as premises liability cases. Some of the most common premises liability cases occur when someone slips or trips due to improper maintenance of a certain location, and are commonly referred to as a “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” accidents or incidents. These types of incidents can occur in shops or restaurants, on public property and in private homes. If you have been injured on another person’s or entity’s premises in Virginia and you want to know if you have a viable claim for the harms and losses you have suffered, you should speak with a premises liability lawyer. Statutes of limitations apply to all personal injury matters in Virginia, so time is definitely a factor.

In the meantime, you can refer to the following information as a general outline of typical premises liability claims in the Commonwealth. As previously noted, slip and fall injuries make up a sizable portion of premises liability claims in Virginia. Slips and falls can be caused by situations as simple as a property owner neglecting to clean a spill on a floor, or forgetting to post a caution sign warning of the danger or adverse conditions. Neck, back, and head injuries, sprains, strains, tears, concussions, and broken bones are some of the most common injuries that occur due to slip and fall accidents. If you or your loved ones have been injured in a slip and fall accident, we can help you determine the at-fault parties and seek fair compensation for your injuries.

Causes of Slips and Falls in Va.

Generally speaking a slip happens when there is not enough traction on a walking surface, while a “trip” usually involves an obstacle in the path of the victim, causing them to lose balance due to contact with the obstacle. Conditions that can lead to a slip or trip may include:

  • Wet or oily floors
  • Poorly maintained walkways
  • Unsafe or broken stairways
  • Uneven steps
  • Loose handrails
  • Uneven flooring
  • Unsafe construction site conditions
  • Poor lighting
  • Obstructed views
  • Clutter
  • Hidden defects or dangerous conditions

Determining Liability in a Slip-and Fall Accident

Business owners have a duty to customers and others visiting their premises to ensure that their property is safe for visitors. If a property owner fails to use reasonable care to make their property safe, they may be liable if someone is injured on their property due to their negligence.  In some circumstances, homeowners and private property owners may also be legally responsible for personal injuries that occur on their property.

Property owners aren’t universally liable every time a person falls on their premises, and determining whether or not they are legally liable can make premises liability claims quite complex. Generally, for a property owner to be liable for a slip and fall injury, there must be evidence that a defect or a dangerous condition on the property posed an unacceptable risk of harm to those who are legally present upon the premises. Typically, liability can be shown by proving that either the property owner had notice or was aware of the unsafe condition and failed to correct the problem in a timely fashion or provide adequate warning.

Testimony from an engineer or safety expert is often necessary for the injured plaintiff to prove how the environment was dangerous, how long the hazard existed, and whether any reasonable steps were taken by the owner or legal occupant.

Contributory Negligence and Premises Liability

If you are able to establish that a property owner or occupant may have been liable for the conditions that caused you to slip and fall, the next step is to prove the defendant’s negligence or failure to use reasonable care were the cause of your injuries. Expert medical opinion is generally necessary to show the mechanism of the injury, or how the fall resulted in the injuries claimed, and that the injuries were not caused by some other source.

Common defenses in premises liability cases include claims that the condition that caused the injury was open and obvious, or that the injured person contributed to their injury through their own inattentiveness or negligence. Under Virginia law, if a judge or a jury finds that your conduct contributed to the accident by as little as one percent, you may be barred from any recovery. Contributory negligence implies that you yourself had a certain level of responsibility in causing your injury. While this doctrine only applies in a small minority of U.S. jurisdictions, it is applicable in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Areas Served

Talk to an Experienced Injury Lawyer

Because an accident scene can change dramatically within minutes, hours, or days following the injury, it is important that you report the incident immediately. After reporting the incident, contact an experienced premises liability lawyer as soon as possible so that they may begin a thorough investigation. A skilled attorney will work to identify the true cause of your injury. They have the resources to devote to taking photographs of the accident scene and its surroundings and have the knowledge and experience to request the preservation of evidence before the property owner repairs, loses, or destroys important evidence. They can also interview the property owner or manager and all witnesses to establish fault in your case. An investigator might ask questions related to unsafe conditions, the policies and procedures governing reporting and responding to dangerous conditions, whether the property owner knew of the unsafe conditions, and whether other people have previously been injured in similar ways. Your attorney can also obtain pertinent documents that can help to prove your case, and may consult with safety engineers, medical staff, ergonomics experts, and other specialists to determine how your accident happened and whether negligence was involved.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident or due to the conditions of a poorly maintained piece of property in Virginia, contact an Accident Attorney immediately. A lawyer understands that time can be your enemy and that once you’ve been hurt, many owners will fix the problem with lightning speed in the hope of avoiding a lawsuit. Don’t let the the responsible party or parties leave you with the cost of your medical expenses and other losses.