Fighting for victims injured on dangerous property in Virginia
When property owners in Virginia create unsafe conditions and cause injuries to innocent people, those victims deserve justice and compensation. The area of the law that holds property owners accountable for the harm they cause is called premises liability law.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident due to unsafe conditions on someone else’s property, you have rights. The Richmond personal injury attorneys at Phelan Petty will explain your rights as an injury victim and find out who is responsible. Then we fight to secure the compensation you need to recover from your injuries, both physically and financially. Contact us today.
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What is a premises liability accident?
We’re all familiar with the most common type of premises liability accident – the slip and fall. A slip and fall, or trip and fall, can happen almost anywhere. Floors in a supermarket, office or restaurant can quickly become dangerous due to snow, rain or spilled beverages. People can also easily trip and fall over uneven tiles or ripped carpeting.
In addition to slip and falls, other accidents and premises liability hazards include:
Common injuries from premises liability accidents
Injuries from a premises liability accident, depending on the circumstances, can range from a concussion or broken bone to severe trauma or even wrongful death. Even a small fall that feels minor in the moment can result in chronic back pain that may not show up for several days. After any kind of accident, especially on another person’s property, you should document your injuries and seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Victims of premises liability accidents experience a wide variety of injuries, including:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Burns and scarring
- Chronic pain
- Head and neck injuries
- Sprains and soft tissue injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Wrongful death
Our Richmond premises liability attorneys take into account the extent of your injuries, your current and future medical expenses, and your future ability to work – and we fight to ensure you’re compensated for your accident.
The relationship between negligence and premises liability
For a successful premises liability claim, you must prove negligence. Suffering an injury on someone else’s property is not enough to show that a property owner was careless or negligent. You and your attorney also have to show that the property’s conditions were unsafe, and that the owner was aware (or should have been aware) of the condition and failed to address or repair the hazard.
Business and property owners are required to keep their premises safe for visitors and residents. When they fail to do so, they create a risk to the public and increase their own liability. Following are a few specific examples of product liability and negligence.
- If someone spills a carton of juice at the supermarket, staff fails to clean it up and you slip and fall, the store could be held liable for your injuries.
- If you stay in a hotel and are assaulted due to faulty locks or negligent security, the hotel may be held liable for your injuries and losses. A hotel can also be held negligent for toxic cleaning fume injury, bedbugs or other matters.
- Construction sites near pedestrian areas can be hazardous and should be clearly marked. If a pedestrian trips and falls, is his by a falling object, is truck by a construction vehicle, or sustains an injury in some other way, the construction company may be held liable.
Owners of swimming pools must take extra caution to ensure their pools are safe and they warn visitors of any dangers. The state of Virginia follows the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine, which means that pool owners can be liable for injuries to children who trespass on their property.
What is “duty of care” and premises liability?
Another thing to note about premises liability is that your status as a visitor on another person’s property can affect the outcome of your case. Our Richmond attorneys can consult with you about the details of your particular case, but here is a quick overview. In Virginia, there are three kinds of visitors to a property, and the property owner or manager owes them all a slightly different duty of care.
An invitee is someone who enters a property for business purposes. This means going to the supermarket, out to dinner or to the movies. You’re an invitee as soon as you step into the building. Property owners owe invitees the highest duty of care, and if their premises are unsafe, they must repair the hazard or warn invitees of any dangers. However, if a visitor happened to go into an “employee only” stockroom and suffered an injury, they may be considered trespassing, and the store would have no liability.
A licensee is slightly different than an invitee. As a licensee, you enter a property as a guest with permission or implied permission as the owner, but without a business purpose. Maybe you’re a guest at a party or meeting a friend at their office for lunch. Property owners have a slightly less duty of care, but are still required to repair or warn visitors of any unsafe property conditions of which they’re aware.
A property owner has the least duty of care to trespassers, but still has a duty of care nonetheless. Although trespassers enter a property without the owner’s permission or knowledge, the owner still has the responsibility to repair or warn of known hazards and dangers. And, due to the attractive nuisance doctrine we mentioned earlier, property owners have a higher duty of care to trespassing children.
If you experience an accident on another person or entity’s property, you should not make any statements (verbal or written) taking blame or fault, even if the property owner is a friend or colleague. Minimizing the incident or your injuries can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case, or whether or not you may be even eligible for compensation. Our Richmond attorneys will protect your rights.
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries or gotten sick because of a property owner’s negligence or a company’s callous behavior, you need an experienced attorney who can investigate the causes, find out who is responsible, and fight to hold them accountable.
Reliable Richmond premises liability attorneys
At Phelan Petty, we use our experience, our investigative skills, and our network of world-class experts to stand up for victims in Virginia who suffer when property owners create hazardous conditions. We focus on handling only a small number of the most complex cases so we can give our clients personalized attention and complete commitment. When you work with Phelan Petty, you will have an experienced injury lawyer on your side who will not stop fighting until your case reaches a satisfactory resolution.