If you receive an injury when you slip and fall or trip and fall on someone else’s property, you may be able to get compensation under Virginia premises liability law. Slip-and-fall accidents are a common type of premises liability claim, but other types of accidents also can give rise to a claim. Whatever the cause of your injury, you can count on our Virginia premises liability lawyer team at Renfro & Renfro to make certain that you receive the full financial recovery you deserve. From our Richmond office, we serve clients throughout the metro area and Commonwealth of Virginia.
We understand how an injury adversely impacts your personal life and work. Our lawyers and staff work as a team to provide the guidance and support you need. We shoulder the burden of doing all the work necessary to get your compensation, which allows you to concentrate on recovering.
Our Richmond injury attorneys build a close working relationship with each client. Our highly responsive approach puts clients at ease and makes them confident that their legal interests are fully protected. Our results-driven litigation strategy ensures diligent and vigorous representation at every stage of the process.
Virginia recognizes a general negligence duty of property owners or occupants, which is the duty to use ordinary care to prevent injury to others on your property. In addition, property owners and occupants owe specific duties to people who are on the property with their express or implied permission. The level of duty differs, depending on why the person visits the property. Breach of the duty may give rise to legal liability for financial compensation. General rules apply in premises liability cases, but determining the level of duty in a specific case requires advice of a knowledgeable attorney, like our injury lawyers at Renfro & Renfro.
When premises are open to the public — such as stores, restaurants, museums, medical facilities, and recreational spaces — the visitor is an invitee of the person operating the establishment. The owner or occupant must maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition, remove hazardous conditions within a reasonable amount of time, and warn visitors of unsafe conditions. To be responsible, the property owner must actually know of an unsafe condition or should have known about the danger.
Virginia law recognizes a second category of property visitors, called licensees, to whom a property owner or occupant owes a slightly lower level of duty. A licensee is someone on the property for their own benefit with knowledge of the owner or occupant. A property owner must use reasonable care to eliminate known hazards on the property and warn about unsafe conditions that will not be obvious to the licensee. Permission from the owner can be implied, as well as actual. Examples of licensees are friends and family, other social guests, delivery people, repair technicians, and utility workers.
The third category of a property visitor is a trespasser who unlawfully enters the premises of another person. The owner or occupant owes no duty to a trespasser, except that the property owner cannot intentionally create a condition to cause injury to a trespasser.
Under a Virginia law, recreational use of property with a landowner’s permission does not create a duty of the owner to maintain the property in safe condition. This statutory exception applies if you have an accident on someone else’s property when you hunt, boat, hike, fish, or engage in another recreational activity with the property owner’s permission. Of course, if you trespass for recreational purposes, the landowner owes you no duty at all, except to refrain from intentionally injuring you.
Special rules apply to premises liability claims for injuries in or outside of a government building. If your accident happened in a local, state, or federal building, your attorney will explain the process and rules that apply.
Slip-and-fall accidents and trip-and-fall accidents are the most common types of premises liability cases. Other kinds of premises liability accidents also occur, such as injuries from falling objects, defective stairs, inadequate security, structural failure of the premises or of a device on the premises, or dangerous structures.
A premises liability accident can occur inside a building or on the outside areas of a property. Accidents in parking lots and on stairs and walkways happen with some frequency. The injury also may be caused by another person in some situations, such as an assault resulting from inadequate security.
Premises liability cases often can be complex. One important reason is that several parties may be responsible for your accident. If the accident happened in a store, the store owner likely will be responsible for your damages. However, if your accident happened in a parking lot, either the store owner or the property owner could be responsible for your damages. Third-party maintenance companies could also be liable, if their actions contributed to your injuries. It is very important to hire an experienced premises liability attorney to ensure that all responsible parties are joined in your case.
Securing recovery in a premises liability claim requires showing that the property owner breached a legally-owed duty to the injured person and that the breach of duty caused the accident and injury. Causation can be challenging to prove in some cases.
The principle of contributory negligence applies in premises liability cases, just as it applies in other personal injury cases. If the injured person was negligent even in the slightest degree, and that negligence contributed to the accident, Virginia law does not allow any recovery at all. The pure contributory negligence rule is strict and harsh — but it is the law in Virginia.
For example, if you have a slip-and-fall accident or trip-and-fall accident when you’re wearing flip flops or slippery sole shoes, it may be difficult to prove the required elements for compensation. Similarly, if you were texting or talking on your phone while you were walking along, and you didn’t see the hazard that caused the accident because you were distracted, contributory negligence may be an issue in the case.
To determine whether you have a premises liability claim under state law, it is essential to talk with an experienced Virginia premises liability attorney. Your lawyer will analyze the circumstances of your accident and the nature of your injuries to ascertain whether the required elements of a claim exist.
If you think you might have a premises liability claim, you should never talk to the property owner’s liability insurance company before you talk with a lawyer. Doing so could impair your ability to recover on a premises liability claim. Our injury attorneys at Renfro & Renfro do not charge for your first consultation, so you can talk with us without cost or obligation.
If you suffered injuries on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation under Virginia premises liability law. Our experienced Richmond injury attorneys at Renfro & Renfro provide a free consultation and case evaluation for accident victims.
We serve clients in the Greater Richmond Region, including in Petersburg and Dinwiddie, and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. We welcome you to schedule a consultation by using our online form.