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If you were hurt on someone else's property, you may have a premises liability claim based on their negligence. Premises liability law protects people harmed at businesses and on other properties, and a personal injury attorney can help you prove that the property owner was liable and should cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
What Is Premises Liability Law?
Liability that arises from not maintaining a building and its premises is referred to as premises liability. Premises liability falls under the umbrella of personal injury law and covers proper maintenance of the areas in and around buildings and property. It allows people hurt on someone else's property to file lawsuits for damages when the owner, manager, or other party fails to keep them safe.
The question, "Who is responsible if someone gets hurt on your property? " is often depends on why the injured person was there. Virginia law recognizes three types of property visitors, and the type plays a role in whether they can file suit with the help of a premises liability lawyer.
Invitees are on the property for a mutual business interest, such as a customer shopping in a store. A licensee is on the property for their own purposes, such as visiting a store employee.
Someone without permission to be on the property is considered a trespasser and generally cannot file suit under what would otherwise be premises liability. There are some exceptions for children in cases of attractive nuisances, such as swimming pools, but usually not adult trespassers.
Burden of Proof for Premises Liability Cases
Property owners owe a duty of care to visitors, and if they are negligent in meeting that duty and you are hurt, you can file a premises liability lawsuit. You must prove that your injuries happened due to unsafe conditions caused by their negligence and that you suffered damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, or other harm.
To win your case, your premises liability lawyer must show that your harm was foreseeable and that the property owner or manager did not take the reasonable care other people would to warn of or correct hazards.
Under Virginia's contributory negligence standard, an injured person cannot collect even if they are found only 1% at fault for their accident. The standard makes it very difficult for plaintiffs to win damages following premises liability accidents or to make other personal injury claims without solid legal representation.
The property owner's attorney and the insurance company providing premises liability coverage will pull out all stops to show that you contributed to your injury. A law firm with experience in premises liability law knows how to prove that only the owner was at fault for failing to maintain safe premises and that you deserve maximum damages.
Common Types of Premises Liability Claims
You can be hurt on someone else's property in several ways. A personal injury lawyer with experience in premises liability can help you hold the owner, property manager, or other party responsible for your injuries.
Slips and Falls
Poor property care can lead to a cause of action for premises liability. People hurt themselves due to slip-and-fall hazards, including uneven pavement, slippery floors, loose flooring, obstructions, and generally poor maintenance.
Part of the duty of care that property owners owe visitors is to warn them of hazards. Lack of "wet floor" signs or no warning about a step up or down on an otherwise even floor are examples of premises liability slip and fall negligence.
Elevators and Stairways Accidents
Elevator and stairway construction and maintenance are covered under the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code. Failure to live up to these codes can lead to penalties against property owners and open them to personal injury lawsuits based on premises liability negligence.
You may be hurt due to faulty railing, steps in bad repair, or the sudden stop of a poorly maintained elevator. These are all instances in which an experienced premises liability lawyer can help you make a strong case for damages.
Negligent Security and Building Code Violations
Pursuing negligent security cases in Virginia is difficult because the harm often comes from a third party's hands, and your harm may not have been foreseeable. However, if you can show the property owner knew of a specific danger and took no steps to protect you, such as installing lighting in parking lots, an experienced negligent security attorney can help you make a case.
Building code violations also lead to dangerous conditions and injuries, and your attorney can make a strong case that you were harmed because the property owner or manager neglected to follow a specific regulation. A knowledgeable premises liability attorney can help you collect evidence of past violations and of state or local actions regarding the violation that led to your injuries.
Swimming Pool Accidents
Lack of fencing and warning signs are examples of property negligence, but there are other ways pool owners are responsible for safety. For example, Virginia law requires lifeguards and lifesaving equipment at hotels. Pool owners must also properly maintain decks and ensure that chairs, tables, and other furniture are safe.
Amusement Park Accidents
Operators of fixed and traveling amusement parks must follow strict standards set out by Virginia Amusement Park Regulations. These regulations cover the design, construction, maintenance, and inspection of rides and other attractions in amusement parks. If you are hurt in an amusement park because someone negligently ignored these standards, you can file a premises liability personal injury lawsuit.
Animal owners must follow all state and local regulations, such as leash and enclosure laws, to protect others. Failure to follow these laws can lead to personal injury lawsuits.
You may have a strong legal case if you were injured on someone's property by an animal that made a previous attack, you did nothing to provoke the animal, and there weren't other exceptions in the Dangerous Dogs or other sections of the Code of Virginia.
Pursue Your Case With Experienced Premises Liability Lawyers
Our attorneys at the Commonwealth Law Group have the resources and experience to help you make a successful premises liability claim. We will help you collect evidence and make strong arguments in settlement negotiations or in court to help you get the maximum compensation you deserve.
We also help people wondering, "If someone gets hurt on my property, am I liable?" sort out the answer and protect themselves against bad claims.
Learn more about how we can help you with your case by contacting the Commonwealth Law Group today.
If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at (804) 999-9999 or or use the form below to connect with our legal team. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.