Many people seem to have a basic understanding of the fact that a property owner can be held liable for damages or injuries suffered by someone else if an accident occurs on the owner's property. However, many people do not understand the full potential extent of premises liability. In reality, premises liability refers to much more than simple slip-and-fall accidents or other accidents that occur due to dangerous property conditions or poor maintenance of the property.
A person can sue a property owner under premises liability law when he or she is injured on the property due to the property owner's negligence in maintaining a reasonably safe environment. Many people who are injured on someone else's property initiate premises liability lawsuits because they need compensation for their injuries or losses. A plaintiff is only awarded compensation or damages if he or she is able to successfully prove that the property owner was legally liable for the injuries suffered. Once liability is proven, the determination of damages is a separate analysis.
Virginia accidents that cause physical injury often result in medical bills. Serious accidents and injuries can result in a range of expenses, including not only medical treatment and care, but also rehabilitation, lost income, etc. If you had an accident, such as a fall, in a public place or on someone else's property, you may be unsure about whether the accident was solely your fault or whether the property owner may have some kind of liability for the accident. In such cases, you should not hesitate to investigate but should instead call us to discuss your story and see if there are any legal options available to you.
The laws relating to premises liability require property owners or residents to maintain their property in safe condition in order to avoid liability if a person who enters the property is injured. In many cases, the imposition of liability depends to a large degree on the status of the person injured: whether he or she was an invitee, a licensee or a trespasser. However, when a child is involved and is the person injured on the property, the rules relating to premises liability differ a bit.
Property owners must maintain their properties in good condition, especially if the properties are frequented by consumers or the general public. Should property owners fail to comply with this responsibility and someone suffers an injury from a dangerous property condition, the property owner may be held liable in a premises liability lawsuit.
Owners and even residents, in some cases, owe a duty of reasonable care to people who come onto the property with the owner's consent and at the owner's invitation. This category of people generally consists of customers or patrons-people whose presence on the property benefits both the property owner and the visitor. Because store owners or the owners of other public places are specifically intending for members of the general public to frequent their premises, they are responsible for ensuring that the premises are safe and do not pose unreasonable hazards to those who come onto the premises. If they not comply with this duty and provide safe premises or adequate warnings, owners and residents can be held liable for an injury suffered.
Most Virginia property owners want to be the ones to decide who can come onto their property and when. However, many property owners must also deal with the possibility or risk of trespassers. When a trespasser enters a person's property and is injured by a dangerous condition, it's possible for the property owner to be held liable for damages under the legal theory of premises liability. These cases are relatively rare, however. The key questions in determining whether the property owner will be held liable concern the likelihood or frequency of trespassing.
Even though Virginia consumers probably believe that shopping is a relatively safe experience, the reality is that there are many risks in public stores and facilities. Property owners do not always take adequate care to keep the premises in good repair or warn customers of temporary risks, like wet floors. As a result of this oversight, customers sometimes suffer injuries that are the fault of the property owner. One of the most common types of these occurrence is a slip and fall accident.
Restaurants and stores provide services and products to consumers. They also have a responsibility to maintain safe premises and ensure that the store or restaurant, including some exterior areas like parking lots and sidewalks, are free from unnecessary risks and safety hazards. When a Virginia property owner fails to fulfill this duty, he or she can be held responsible for a consumer's injury in a premises liability lawsuit. Premises liability lawsuits can result from slip-and-fall accidents, collapsing or dangerous stairwells, unlit or unsafe parking lots, defective sidewalks, and other problems.
Although many Virginia residents likely think of severe injuries and permanent disability in connection with major accidents, many minor accidents can have catastrophic effects on a person's physical condition and health as well. A slip and fall accident, for example, may seem minor to most people but frequently results in injury, severe pain and even permanent problems, especially if the person who fell is elderly or otherwise in a more vulnerable physical condition.