Those who slip and fall or are otherwise injured on someone else’s property may seek financial compensation from the property owner under premises liability law. Whether, and how much, a plaintiff will be able to recover largely depends on state law. In Virginia, property owners may be held liable for injuries caused by the condition of their premises only under certain conditions. Our Virginia Beach slip and fall lawyers offer experienced legal representation on all personal injury matters, including cases involving premises liability.
Injured on Someone Else’s Property
Virginia property owners have a duty to maintain a reasonably safe premises. When someone is injured on their property due to the negligent maintenance of the premises, property owners may be held liable in personal injury lawsuits under the legal theory of premises liability. However, the extent of property owner liability depends on the type of visitor who was injured as certain types of visitors are owed a higher duty of care. Visitors are considered one of the following:
- Invitees: Those who visit a property by the owner’s invitation, such as customers in a store, are considered invitees. Property owners must reasonably maintain the safety of the premises for invitees. This includes taking reasonable steps to fix any known hazards, search for and fix any unknown hazards, and warn invitees of any remaining hidden dangers.
- Licensees: Social guests and others who enter a property with the consent of the property owner are considered licensees. Property owners owe licensees a lower level of care than invitees. They must only take reasonable care to protect licensees from known dangers on the property and are not required to search for and fix unknown dangers.
- Trespassers: Property owners do not owe trespassers a duty of care to keep the premises in a safe condition. Unlike invitees and licensees, trespassers are those who enter the property illegally or without permission. With few exceptions, property owners cannot be held responsible for the injuries of those who are unlawfully on the property.
The law regarding premises liability varies by state. Therefore, it is imperative for those who were injured on someone else’s property to contact a qualified attorney in their local area as soon as possible. In Virginia, the statute of limitations for a personal injury case, such as a slip and fall, is two years. Our lawyers ensure that all legal deadlines are met and leave no stone unturned in pursuing recovery for our clients.
Virginia’s Contributory Negligence
To prevail in a premises liability case, plaintiffs must first establish that they were injured because the property owner failed to uphold their legal duty of care. To do so, a plaintiff must show that they were either an invitee or a licensee and that the property owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition and failed to fix it in within a reasonable time.
Once the legal duty has been established, plaintiffs must prove that the property owner was at fault for their injury. Virginia follows a strict approach of contributory negligence, where plaintiffs may not recover any damages from negligent property owners unless they were entirely without fault for the underlying accident. Under Virginia law, plaintiffs who are even one percent at fault will be unable to obtain compensation for their injuries, therefore, it is important to consult with a lawyer who can provide a case evaluation and legal advice for premises liability claims.
Our Virginia Beach Slip and Fall Lawyers Will Handle Your Premises Liability Case
If you were injured on someone else’s property, contact the Virginia Beach slip and fall lawyers today. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we know what it takes to prevail under the state’s strict premises liability laws. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we represent clients in Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at 757-352-2237.