LET THE VIRGINIA LAW FIRM PREMISes LIABILITY ATTORNEYS HELP YOU MOVE FORWARD
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When most people visit a private residence or a public space like a business, they expect it to be reasonably safe. This presumption is sometimes taken for granted in Richmond, but is an expectation protected by law. Property owners of private, public, and commercial spaces have a legal obligation to maintain safe premises. Sometimes however, they neglect to do so, and individuals are injured as a result. Often these injuries are minor, but occasionally they can be catastrophic and life-changing.
If you have sustained an injury due to unsafe conditions on public or private property, contact our experienced premises liability attorneys at Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci today for a free consultation of your case. You may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries.
Types Of Premises Liability Claims
If a property owner fails to keep their premises safe or to alert visitors of known hidden dangers, there are countless ways a person might end up with serious injuries. Some of the most common premises liability claims arise from the following types of accidents:
- Slip and fall accidents – This type of accident is easily the most common type of premises liability claim. They frequently happen in parking lots, grocery stores, shopping centers, restaurants and bars, hotels, sporting events, and apartment complexes. Causes range from snow and ice, slick floors, spills, and leaks to faulty handrails or guardrails, tripping hazards, and more.
- Falling object accidents – These accidents are most often the result of merchandise falling from grocery store shelving or shopping stores. They are also common on construction sites.
- Maintenance failure accidents – Property owners have a legal duty to regularly maintain equipment and fixtures, which can become dangerous if not kept up. These include appliances, light and electrical fixtures, drainage systems, swimming pools, elevators, escalators, and more.
- Insufficient security accidents – These accidents generally refer to injuries sustained from criminal activity. Security accidents often happen in parking lots, garages, hotels, shopping centers, clubs, apartment complexes, office buildings, and college campuses.
- Elevator and escalator accidents – These accidents are often the result of maintenance failure or faulty design.
- Recreation area accidents – Places like amusement parks, water parks, ski areas, and water sport equipment rental facilities may be liable for injury claims if they fail to maintain the appropriate safety standard. Accidents in these locations usually arise from improper maintenance or defective design of equipment and rides, unsafe physical premises, or operating in dangerous conditions.
- Drowning and swimming pool accidents – Not properly securing entrances to swimming pools, which are an enticement to children, often leads to drowning accidents. Both public and private property owners can be held liable for drowning deaths and other potential injuries from unsafe pools.
- Dog bites and unrestrained dog attacks – Dog owners are responsible for having their animal restricted adequately to their property or on a physical restraint when in public. Furthermore, if an owner knows his dog is dangerous or aggressive, he must make that clear to visitors.
- Unsafe balconies, porches, decks, platforms, and staircases – Accidents from poor construction or upkeep of these structures lead to many premises liability cases, especially when they collapse.
- Preventable fires, electrocution, and exposure to toxic substances – These accidents can occur for various reasons, in particular, lack of maintenance, improper containment of dangerous chemicals, and failure to provide proper safety equipment.
Types Of Premises Liability Injuries
With such an extensive list of possible premises liability accidents, the list of common injuries they cause is understandably long, and many injuries are tragic. Some of the more frequent kinds of injuries premises liability lawyers see include the following:
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Head injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Strains and sprains
- Abrasions, lacerations, puncture wounds
- Severe bruising and internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Severe burns
- Loss of limbs or body parts
- Respiratory issues
Why You Need Knowledgeable Premises Liability Lawyers
As the incomplete list above suggests, the range of circumstances in which an individual might have a premise liability case is immense. These cases can result in devastating injuries and have far-reaching, adverse effects on a family’s future. When an injured person cannot work, and medical bills pile up, the family cannot afford to wait. They need a brilliant, proactive legal team who can help recover the deserved and needed compensation in a timely manner.
The legal process of holding the responsible parties liable and proving negligence is very complex. It is imperative to seek representation from a qualified premises liability attorney if you or a family member have been injured on someone else’s property.
Work with the premise liability lawyers Richmond, Virginia, residents have turned to for years. Contact Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci today for a free consultation of your case. We proudly work hard to earn our clients’ trust and business. We care about taking care of your premise liability case, so you can focus on healing and moving forward. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we don’t get paid until you do.
Property Owners’ Obligations
Premises liability law is complex. Proving liability in these cases hinges on two primary issues: whether the responsible party violated their duty of care, meaning they were aware or should have been aware of the dangerous conditions that caused the victim’s injury. AND the victim’s relationship to the responsible party, specifically whether the victim was an invited guest, a licensee, or an uninvited trespasser.
Duty Of Care
The responsibility of a property owner to maintain safe conditions is referred to as their duty of care and is meant to ensure visitors are not injured. The standard of care is the degree to which they succeed in maintaining safe conditions; failure to do so is negligence.
Breach Of Duty
If a property owner fails to maintain a reasonably safe environment or if they fail to warn visitors of known dangers, they may be considered in breach of their duty of care. For example, suppose a person is injured in a slip and fall case that resulted from dangerous conditions the property owner was aware of but did nothing to fix, and they neglected to warn visitors. In that case, a competent premise liability lawyer could prove negligence on their part. A negligent party may be held legally responsible for the victim’s injuries, and the victim would be entitled to financial compensation.
Establishing negligence in a premises liability claim requires you to prove the following:
- The property owner had an obligation to maintain safe conditions on their premises (duty of care)
- The property owner failed to meet this obligation (breach of duty)
- The property owner’s failure to maintain safe premises resulted in the victim’s injuries (causation)
Exceptions To Negligence
Of note, property owners are not obligated to warn visitors of apparent dangers, nor can they be held responsible for criminal acts by other, unassociated third parties.
Victim’s Relationship To Property Owner
Under Virginia law, the property owner’s applicable duty of care depends on whether the victim is considered an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. This law applies whether the property is a business, industrial facility, or home.
An invitee is a person who has received an express or implied invitation to enter the property. Typically, invitees are visitors to the property owner’s home or open stores and businesses where the invitation is implied for them to enter and shop. In addition to house guests and retail shoppers, invitees may be hotel guests, apartment complex residents, spectators at sporting events, concert attendees, and visitors to places of worship.
A licensee is a person who has the property owner’s permission or consent to enter the property. Licensees are different from invitees in that they are typically on the property for their benefit or pleasure, not for business.
Social guests are usually considered licensees if they show up unannounced. Other examples of licensees may include postal workers, door-to-door salespeople, religious missionaries, utility workers, or people who have been given permission to hunt on a property.
A trespasser is someone with no permission or legal right to be on the property. Property owners owe no duty of care to trespassers; therefore, people injured on a property while trespassing are not entitled to seek compensation.
However, property owners cannot willfully or intentionally endanger or injure trespassers by doing such things as setting up hazards or traps, rigging up shotguns, and the like. If a property owner is found to have injured a trespasser through willful and wanton conduct, he may be held liable, and the trespasser could collect compensation.
Although a property owner generally owes no duty of care to trespassers, an exception may be made if dangerous instruments, equipment, or other harmful materials are left on a property in a manner that they are easily accessible to children. Furthermore, if a property owner is aware of dangerous conditions on his property and aware of someone trespassing frequently and noticeably, he must inform the trespasser of the unsafe conditions.
Some examples of trespassers are burglars, people hunting property without permission, or people on a secured construction site after hours.
Virginia’s Harsh Contributory Negligence Laws
The state of Virginia is one of only a few states to apply the concept of contributory negligence. Most states follow the doctrine of comparative negligence. The difference can drastically affect a victim’s ability to claim compensation.
This law provides a victim can be barred from recovering any compensation if they were at all to blame for the accident, even if only by 1%. Historically, contributory negligence was the rule in all states, leading to harsh results for victims. As a result, most states adopted comparative negligence laws. Only Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington D.C. still enforce contributory negligence.
Comparative negligence laws mean if the victim is partially responsible for an accident, they can still get compensation, but the amount they receive may be lessened. For instance, if a victim is found to be 25% responsible for the accident, the compensation they receive will be lowered by that amount.
All states have laws on how a victim’s own partial negligence affects their compensation claims, but contributory negligence law complicates premise liability cases tremendously. This is why it is essential that you seek the legal advice of a knowledgeable Richmond premises liability lawyer. A seasoned premises liability attorney can evaluate whether you really share any blame for your injuries and will know what is required to prove the property owner is completely responsible. Our premise liability attorneys are ready to help you today.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free case evaluation.
Damages You Can Claim For Your Premises Liability Accident
At Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci, we understand how much a severe injury can impact your career, family, and future. Our premises liability lawyers work tirelessly to help our clients get the justice and compensation they deserve.
If you have sustained a severe preventable injury due to a dangerous condition or hazard on someone else’s property, we may be able to help you recover:
Ongoing medical expenses
Lost earning potential
Pain and suffering
Loss of quality of life
Loss of consortium
Virginia law provides for punitive damages to be awarded in particularly egregious cases where the property owner’s conduct is considered willful and wanton and where the injuries sustained by the victim are conspicuously traumatic or painful. Although these are less frequently awarded, you may also be eligible to receive punitive damages.
In the tragic event that a premises liability accident resulted in the death of your loved one, you may be able to file a wrongful death suit on their behalf. Our premises liability attorneys can help you sift through these sensitive legal issues.
What is The Statute Of Limitations For Premises Liability Cases?
It is essential to know you only have two years from the date of injury to file a premises liability claim. Although this may seem like ample time, it is crucial for you to seek qualified legal advice and decide whether to move forward with your premises liability claim promptly.
Conducting a proper investigation of these complex cases takes time. It involves gathering all the circumstances and details of the accident, carefully analyzing the evidence, and presenting a solid case. Many players can be involved, especially if the defendant is a large business or corporation. They will try to muddy and confuse things whenever possible to avoid paying the compensation you deserve.
Waiting too long can also hurt your claim because memory fades, making it more challenging to track witnesses and evidence. It is always best to seek sound legal advice as soon as possible if you’re considering filing a claim so you have the best chances of a favorable outcome.
How much does it cost to hire a lawyer?
If you have been injured on another person’s property and need legal practice with trustworthy, experienced premises liability lawyers, contact us at our Richmond office today. We handle cases not only in Richmond but across Virginia.
Our skilled and determined lawyers have decades of experience fighting defendants big and small, from large corporations with their aggressive insurance companies and fleets of lawyers to private individuals whose recklessness caused lasting harm to their victims.
We always remember the importance of the attorney-client relationship, and as much as we fight for our clients, we are just as compassionate and concerned about them individually. We are experts in premise liability law, and we would be honored to provide you with a free consultation immediately, at no obligation. You can count on honest, reliable feedback and attorneys who genuinely care.