I was Hurt on Someone Else’s Property, What are My Options?
What is Premises Liability?
Unfortunately it is not uncommon for someone to be injured on property that is not their own. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls account for more than 8 million emergency room visits a year while slip and falls account for more than one million.
Half of the elderly Americans who fall and fracture their hip can no longer live independently.
If you hit your head on the sidewalk or cement, you can end up with traumatic brain injury (TBI). A plunge down an open, unmarked shaft can be fatal.
These are called Premises Liability cases, (among the most common being Slip & Fall accidents) and the repercussions can be serious.
Maybe it happens in a parking lot, or a big box store, a commercial or residential property. Maybe you are bitten by a dog. You might slip and fall in a driveway, be trapped in an elevator, fall down a flight of stairs, be crushed by falling items from a high shelf, or fall after a handrail comes loose.
You may initially be embarrassed. But falling in a public place may be more than just a humiliation. It may not be your fault and you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you sustained.
Please contact our law offices soon after the incident. The statute of limitation clock in Virginia is only two years in most cases.
The Duty of the Owner
The owner of a premises has a duty to maintain the property in a safe condition for invitees.
It becomes the job of our firm to prove the owner knew (or should have known) of the dangerous condition of the property but failed to make the property safe.
As a result, they may have breached their duty to the public, which makes them negligent.
When you were shopping, did you see a slippery substance on the floor? Probably not, you were looking at store shelves, not down at your shoes.
Outside, there are broken sidewalks to contend with, slippery ice, or perhaps there is a dark corner of a parking lot that is accessible to criminals in a known high-crime area.
We must also take into consideration the degree to which you may have contributed to the accident. Virginia applies the contributory negligence legal standard, which means if you have a degree of responsibility, you may not have a case.
Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz can inform you of your right to be reimbursed. We will make sure that both the owner and occupier of the property is noticed of our intent to file a claim.
How We Can Help
One of the first things you can do if you are involved in a slip & fall or witness someone who has fallen, is to take pictures. Almost everyone has a cellphone or a smartphone these days. Snap photos of what was on the floor or what fell from a shelf before it is cleaned up. Get names and numbers of any witnesses.
What we can do:
- We can search through the inspection reports and see when an appliance was last repaired. Had a low temperature setting been causing liquids to flow onto the floor? We may be able to see that a refrigerator went unrepaired for some time.
- We can quickly obtain the store’s surveillance video. It might show us that a problem existed over a period of time. Part of our job will then be to send a preservation letter so the store does not destroy the surveillance tape.
- In the case of negligent security, we will obtain police reports on the area where an attack occurred to show the property owner should have known the lighting on the premises was inadequate to protect the public.
Our next step will be to show how that breach led to your injury.
Besides injury, a slip and fall can lead to lost wages while you recover, pain and suffering, as well as medical bills, and possibly long-term medical care. Reach us in Charlottesville at 434-215-0749 to see how we can help you receive reimbursement for these expenses if the owner or caretaker of the property was responsible.