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Virginia Beach Slip and Fall Lawyer

In Virginia Beach, 40 people died from falls in 2012 according to the Virginia Department of Health. The Department of Health also reports that in that same year 794 people suffered serious injuries that necessitated hospitalization after a fall. Many injuries occur as a result of the failure of property owners or renters to take appropriate care of their land or structures.  If a fall injury happens due to negligence of a landowner or occupier, a Virginia Beach slip and fall lawyer can help you make a claim for compensation.

Virginia Laws on Slip and Fall Injuries

In the state of Virginia, premises liability laws establish requirements for landowners and renters to maintain their property to keep visitors safe. Under these laws:

  • Invitees are people who are extended an express or implied invitation to enter a location, usually for the purpose of doing business with the owner or renter of that location. Customers coming into a store or restaurant are examples of invitees. They are owed a higher duty of care than are licensees and trespassers. The landowner or renter must use ordinary care to keep its premises in a reasonably safe condition for an invitees use consistent with the purpose of the invitation, and must provide warnings of unsafe or hazardous conditions on the property about which the occupant knows or should know, or must correct dangerous conditions that could harm customers.
  • Licensees are people who are invited onto someone’s property for his own convenience or benefit, rather than to do business with the landowner. A casual friend coming over for dinner is an example of a licensee. Licensees are owed an intermediate duty of care by the property owner or renter. An occupant of a premises owes a duty to a licensee to exercise reasonable care to make an unsafe condition safe or to warn of the unsafe condition where the occupier: (1) knows or should know of an unsafe condition; (2) knows or should know that the condition involves an unreasonable risk of harm to a guest; (3) knows or should know that the social guest will not discover the unsafe condition; and (4) the social guest does not know or have reason to know of the unsafe condition or risk.
  • Trespassers are owed a very limited duty of care.  A property occupant has a responsibility not to willfully injure a trespasser. A property occupant otherwise has a duty to  act to protect trespassers only if she knows or should know of the trespasser’s danger and the danger would have been avoided by exercising ordinary care.

A property owner is responsible for a slip and fall only if he or she failed to fulfill the obligation owed to visitors and the fall happened because of this failure. There are different types of property hazards that could lead to a slip and fall that an owner or renter could potentially be held liable for including:

  • Debris in aisles of stores.
  • Slippery floors in store entryways with no warning sign.
  • Broken stair railings or stair treads in homes, restaurants, or shops.
  • Broken or cracked tiles that result in a clear tripping risk.
  • Uneven flooring surfaces or sidewalks that create a tripping hazard.
  • Sudden changes to flooring surfaces that create a fall risk.

Renters are typically responsible for injuries only if their lease makes them responsible for maintenance or if the injury happens within their unit rather than in a common area.

Government agencies responsible for maintaining public property can also sometimes be held responsible for falls in public spaces due to things like cracked sidewalks. However, there are added complications in suing the government because of limited immunity protections and specific statutory provisions requiring that an injured person provide notice of their potential claim to the agency, locality, or government body responsible for the dangerous condition.  In these instances, a Virginia Beach slip and fall lawyer can help you to determine the necessary steps to take in pursuing your injury claim.

Compensation for Virginia Beach Slip and Falls

If a victim of a slip and fall accident is hurt due to the negligence of another, she may be able to recover compensation through a negotiated settlement or a personal injury lawsuit. The compensation should include:

  • Payments for medical care to treat fall injuries.
  • Compensation for any work days missed due to fall injuries, or for any reduction in earning potential due to permanent fall injuries.
  • Pain and suffering losses resulting from the fall and from fall injuries.

If the slip and fall leads to fatal injuries, surviving family members of the person who was killed may be able to obtain wrongful death damages. Wrongful death lawsuits must be brought by the personal representative of the deceased. Va. Code Section 8.01-50.

How a Virginia Beach Slip and Fall Lawyer Can Help

A Virginia Beach personal injury lawyer can help you establish the duty of care in your slip and fall case based on your relationship with the owner or occupier of the property. Your attorney can also help put build a case to show that the owner or occupier should be held liable for your injuries and that you are entitled to damages.  To learn more, contact a Virginia Beach slip and fall lawyer today.