LET THE VIRGINIA LAW FIRM PREMIS 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 is a presumption we sometimes take for granted in Richmond, but it is actually 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 sometimes they can be catastrophic and life-changing.
If you’ve 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.
Richmond, VA 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 that they were aware or should have been aware of the dangerous conditions that caused the victim’s injury.
- The relationship of the victim 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 that visitors are not injured. Their 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, if 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, a competent premises 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 obvious 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 on the property. This applies whether the property is a business, industrial facility, or home.
An invitee is considered to be a person who has received an express or implied invitation to enter the property. Typically invitees would be visitors to the property owner’s home, or visitors to open stores or 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, among others.
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 own benefit or pleasure, not a business purpose.
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’ve 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, and therefore people who are 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, people on a secured construction site after hours, etc…
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 that a victim can be barred from recovering any compensation if he or she were at all to blame for the accident, even if only by 1%. Historically, contributory negligence was the rule in all states, which led to very 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 provide that the victim is able to recover compensation even if he or she is partially to blame, but said compensation may be reduced by the percentage of his or her fault. So, if a victim is determined to be 25% to blame for the accident, his or her financial compensation would be reduced accordingly.
All states have laws on how a victim’s own partial negligence affects their compensation claims, but contributory negligence law complicates premises 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 personal injury experts are ready to help you today. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free case evaluation.
Types of Premises Liability Claims
If a property owner fails to keep his 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 – These are easily the most common type of premises liability claim. They frequently happen in parkings 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 so forth.
- Falling object accidents – These 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 so forth.
- Insufficient security accidents -These generally refer to injuries sustained from criminal activity, usually in parking lots, garages, hotels, shopping centers, clubs, apartment complexes, office buildings, and on college campuses.
- Elevator and escalator accidents – These 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 standard of safety. Accidents in these locations usually arise from improper maintenance or defective design of equipment and rides, unsafe physical premises, or operating in unsafe 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 appropriately restricted to their own property, or on a physical restraint when in public. Furthermore, if an owner knows his dog to be dangerous or aggressive, he is required to make that clear to visitors.
- Unsafe balconies, porches, decks, platforms and staircases – Accidents from poor construction or upkeep of these structures lead to many personal injury cases, especially when they collapse.
- Preventable fires, electrocution, and exposure to toxic substances – These accidents can occur for a variety of reasons. In particular, lack of maintenance, improper containment of dangerous chemicals, and failure to provide proper safety equipment.
Why You Need Knowledgeable Premises Liability Lawyers
As the incomplete list above suggests, the range of circumstances in which an individual might have a premises liability case is immense. These cases can result in devastating injuries and have far-reaching deleterious effects on a family’s future. When an injured person is unable to work and medical bills are piling up, the family cannot afford to wait– they need a smart, 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. This is why it is imperative to seek representation from a qualified Richmond premises liability attorney if you or a family member have been injured on someone else’s property.
Work with the premise liability lawyers Richmond VA 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 premises liability case, so you can focus on the process of healing and moving forward. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we don’t get paid until you do.
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 of the 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
Damages You Can Claim for Your Premises Liability Accident in Richmond, VA
At Cantor, Grana, Buckner, & Bucci, we understand how much a serious injury can impact your career, family, and future. That’s why our premises liability lawyers work tirelessly to help our clients get the justice and compensation they deserve.
If you’ve sustained a preventable serious injury due to a dangerous condition or hazard on someone else’s property, we may be able to help you recover the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Rehabilitation costs
- Ongoing medical expenses
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- 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, it is possible 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.
Statute of Limitations for Richmond, Virginia Premises Liability Cases
It is important to know that you only have two years from the date of injury to file a Premises Liability Case in Richmond, VA. Although this may seem like ample time, it is crucial that you don’t delay seeking qualified legal advice and deciding whether to move forward with your personal injury claim.
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 strong case. There can be many players involved, especially if the defendant is a large business or corporation. They will try to muddy and confuse things whenever possible, to try to avoid paying the compensation you deserve.
Waiting too long can also hurt your claim because memory fades, and it can become more difficult to track down 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.
The Richmond Premises Liability Lawyers Dedicated to Your Best Interest
If you’ve been injured on another person’s property and are in need of legal practice with trustworthy, experienced premises liability lawyers, contact Cantor, Grana, Buckner, & Bucci at our Richmond office today.
The skilled, determined premises liability lawyers at Cantor, Grana, Buckner, & Bucci 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 never forget the importance of the attorney-client relationship, and as tough as we are fighting for our clients, we are just as compassionate and concerned about them individually. We are experts in premises liability cases, and we would be honored to provide you with a free consultation right away, at no obligation to you. You can count on honest, reliable feedback, and attorneys who genuinely care.