Slip and Fall / Premises Liability Attorney in Virginia
If you have fallen and were injured on another party’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. To be sure, some falling incidents are small mishaps that result in minor bumps and bruises. However, many others are more serious and happen because a hazard was present that caused the incident. If you or someone close to you has been injured due to a slip and fall on another party’s property, you may have a right to compensation.
At Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, we have several years of experience standing up for those wrongly injured in slip and fall accidents in Charlottesville and nearby Virginia communities. We have extensive knowledge of this area of the law, and a strong track record of success with these types of cases. Our skilled premises liability attorneys will safeguard your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
The Legal Definition of a Slip and Fall
A “slip and fall” occurs when a person either slips or trips on another person’s property. In most cases, this also involves falling to the ground or into an object, but this is not a requirement. Injury can occur due to the twisting or wrenching of the body, so an impact may not be necessary.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slips and falls are responsible for over one million emergency room visits each year. These injuries are more common in women than in men and can cause even more serious injuries (and sometimes fatalities) when they happen to elderly individuals or very young children.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
When a slip and fall accident occurs on another individual’s personal property, a business property, or even a public or recreational area, a premises liability claim is a possibility. Some of the common situations in which these types of accidents occur include:
- Torn or missing carpeting or flooring
- Inadequate transitions in flooring
- Poor lighting
- Wet floors
- Safety code violations
- Lack of grab or handrails
- Narrow or unsafe stairways
- Faulty escalators
- Malfunctioning elevators
- Negligent upkeep of a sidewalk or parking area
- Debris left in a walkway
- Untextured concrete
Injuries and Damages Related to a Slip and Fall
As with any tragic accident, a slip and fall can result in multiple injuries. These can range from a minor strain to something severe requiring hospitalization and even leading to death. Some of the common injuries sustained in these accidents include:
- Broken and fractured bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Facial damage
- Broken and chipped teeth
- Traumatic brain injury
In addition to medical expenses, you may incur damages related to lost wages and pain and suffering. You may have the right to make a claim for these damages from the responsible party.
When is Another Party Responsible for Your Accident?
You must prove that the property owner was liable in a slip and fall case, which could be difficult depending on the circumstances. In most cases, the owner may be found liable if one of the following conditions are present:
- The owner created a hazard that caused your injury.
- Failed to fix. The owner was aware of a hazard and failed to take any steps to remedy it.
- The hazard was obvious in that a reasonable person should have been aware of it and taken practical steps to correct it, but the owner failed to do so.
It is important to note that there has been a large volume of unscrupulous slip and fall claims in recent years. This has made property owners extra vigilant and also made it more difficult to prove these cases. There is now a significant amount of surveillance equipment in use in and around businesses, which may or may not be used to your benefit. Your allegations and claim must be as accurate as possible to withstand a vigorous defense from the property owner and their insurance company.
Contributory Negligence in Virginia Slip and Fall Cases
One of the reasons that slip and fall cases in Virginia are so complex is the way in which the Commonwealth approaches the issue of negligence. Virginia is one of the few states in the nation that makes use of the restrictive “contributory negligence” rule, which heavily favors defendants instead of those who have been injured.
Under this rule, if the property owner is able to show that you bear any responsibility for the accident, you may be unable to collect compensation for your losses. This is why it is critical that you have an experienced and aggressive attorney in your corner that can skillfully argue your case and deflect allegations made from the other side.
Some of the ways that a property owner might allege you share legal liability include:
- You were in an area of the property that you were not supposed to be in;
- You weren’t paying attention to what you were doing (e.g., texting while walking);
- The dangerous condition was open and obvious or clearly marked.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Personal Injury Case?
Virginia law puts a time limit on your right to seek damages in a slip and fall case. Known as the statute of limitations, the Code of Virginia places several deadlines on filing suit in civil court. If you were injured or are the loved one of a family member that died in a slip and fall accident, you have just two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit. If you are only filing suit for property damages, the time limit is five years. There may be some rare exceptions to these deadlines, which you can discuss with one of our attorneys.
Speak with a Qualified Virginia Slip and Fall Accident Attorney
Virginia slip and fall cases can be complicated. Our experienced Charlottesville personal injury attorneys will thoroughly investigate and evaluate the circumstances of your case and advise you of the options to pursue a negligent property owner. If you do have a valid claim, we understand what evidence is necessary to prove liability and get you the highest reward possible, either inside or outside a courtroom.
If you or someone you love were a victim of a slip and fall accident, contact the experienced slip and fall attorneys at Buck Toscano & Tereskerz for a free no-obligation consultation. Our well-qualified attorneys have had great success in negotiating and litigating personal injury cases on behalf of clients just like yourself. Contact us now at 434-977-7977 or reach out to us online for an appointment.