Fighting for Fair Compensation when Injured by a Property Defect
Premises liability is a broad area of law involving accidents that happen on someone’s property due to a hazard or dangerous condition. At Barney Injury Law, we have represented clients who were injured while visiting a store, their neighbor, or government property.
After an accident, you may be confused about your legal right to compensation. Fortunately, most property owners should have insurance which will pay out compensation if the owner was at fault. Nevertheless, bringing a successful claim is often harder than it looks, so please contact our Virginia Beach premises liability lawyer for more information.
Types of Premises Liability Accidents
Any accident caused by a dangerous condition on someone’s property could qualify as a premises liability claim. Some of the more common accidents include:
- Slip and falls
- Trip and falls
- Falling merchandise
- Electrocution accidents
- Falling ceiling tiles or walls
- Property fires
- Assaults due to negligent security
The key is to identify whether the property owner or the person occupying the property was sufficiently careful in how they maintained the premises. When they haven’t been—and our clients are injured—we can often bring a claim for compensation.
Defendants in a Premises Liability Lawsuit
The defendant is whoever is in control of the property. Often, this is the owner. However, in other cases it could be a tenant, sublessee, property management company, or even a person staying on the premises.
Some of the more common defendants have included:
- Grocery stores
- Big box stores
- Shopping malls
- Fast food restaurants
- Bars and taverns
- Day spas
- Hotels and motels
- Private homes
- Apartment buildings
- Parking lots and driveways
- Parking garages
One of the challenges with a premises liability case is identifying the correct person or entity to sue. Sometimes, this requires a little bit of detective work, and injured victims should have someone in their corner who can do this type of digging while they recover.
A Property Owner’s Duty of Care
The fact that you were injured on someone’s property isn’t proof, all by itself, that you have a valid premises liability claim. Instead, we need to better understand how and why you were injured.
Specifically, Virginia law identifies when people can sue. This question typically turns on why you were entering the property in the first place, which determines the amount of care that the property owner owed you:
- Invitee. A business customer is a typical invitee. The premises owner owes the invitee a duty to use “reasonable care,” which means that they should fix any dangerous condition they know about or should know about.
- Licensee. Someone who enters property with permission but for their own benefit is a licensee. A social guest is a good example. A property owner owes lesser duties of care. They cannot injure a guest through negligent action. The owner also must make safe or warn of any condition that poses an unreasonable risk to the licensee, if the licensee cannot discover it.
- Trespasser. Someone who enters or stays on property without permission is a trespasser. The owner does not owe any duty of care to this person. Instead, their only obligation is to avoid intentionally harming them.
The above are general categories. There are some exceptions for children who might be drawn to a property because of an attractive nuisance, like a swimming pool or machinery. In those situations, a property owner must take reasonable action to eliminate the danger if it is not too costly to do so. Any failure to take sensible precautions can make a property owner liable for a child’s injury.
Compensation for a Premises Liability Claim
Falls, trips, and other accidents can lead to serious injuries that warrant immediate medical care. At Barney Injury Law, our premises liability lawyers in Virginia Beach have assisted clients in obtaining all compensation available to them under the law.
In the typical claim, we can seek money to cover the following losses:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages or lost income
- Consequential damages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Every case is different, and it is hard to speak of “average” settlements. Nevertheless, we fight for full compensation for our client’s injuries and will not stop until you obtain justice.
How to Bolster Your Case Premises Liability Case
Many premises liability claims turn on whether a hazard condition actually existed and whether you should have been aware of it. By far, the best way to bolster your case is to take a photograph of the hazard that caused your injury.
For example, if you slipped on a puddle of water, use your smartphone to get a picture. Ask a bystander to use their phone if you don’t have yours. If shelves collapsed or items fell on you, take a picture of the scene immediately following the incident.
Some property owners will defend against claims by alleging that the hazard was obvious and the victim should have avoided it. For example, a giant hole excavated in someone’s yard should be obvious to anyone approaching it. A picture is also helpful here to establish whether a reasonable person would have seen the hazard from a distance.
Another issue involves contributory negligence. In Virginia, any negligence on a victim’s part will bar recovery. This means if you were walking with your nose in your phone, then you might be partially to blame for failing to see something on the ground. And if you stuck a fork in a light socket, then you are definitely to blame for any electrocution injury.
We work closely with our clients to document what happened in the minutes leading up to the accident. For example, witnesses can testify that you were paying sufficient attention to your surroundings when you were injured and are, therefore, not to blame.
Contact Our Virginia Beach Premises Liability Injury Attorney Today
Barney Injury Law is prepared to represent you in whatever type of premises liability claim you have. We understand the law and what you need to prove to be eligible for full compensation for your losses.
Please contact us today. Our team offers a free consultation and primarily serves those located in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk, VA.