Burnett & Williams

Slip and Fall Premises Injury. Who’s at Fault?

Slip and Fall Premises Injury. Who’s at Fault?

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In the personal injury cases we represent, the question of who is responsible is always front and center.  If you are injured on someone else’s property, you might have a legitimate claim if they did something to create a dangerous situation, or left a hazard unattended.  On the flip side, if you were doing something that created a danger and contributed to the injury, especially in Virginia, you won’t have much of a case.

All cases are unique, and the contributing factors always vary, but when a property owner is negligent in some way that ends up causing harm, they will likely be held responsible.  This is based on an array of longstanding legal precedent, and the standards for public properties are more strict than for private properties.

For example, our firm had a slip and fall case in a department store near Richmond that resulted in longterm spinal issues and huge medical bills for the victim.  Because internal surveillance footage showed that the spill that caused the slip was not remedied and was left unmarked for a substantial amount of time, the store was held liable. The victim was able to recover all of his medical expenses, and some additional consideration for his longterm pain and suffering.  Sadly, he lives with pain every day, and he will never have the mobility he once had, but at least he didn’t have to sell his house to pay his doctor’s bills.  And hopefully the store will take steps to diminish the chance of this kind of accident happening in the future.

That’s the way premises liability law works when it is working properly. If this same accident had happened in a private home, the case would have been different. The established expectations for a homeowner to recognize a defect and provide remedy and notification are much lower than a retail store.  Likewise, if our client had been running in the store, or worse yet, wearing roller blades, the law would probably have held him partially responsible.

As lawyers, we rarely see a simple case in our offices. The contributing factors and the governing legal issues are always complicated. We work hard every day to find the best ways to help our clients navigate those complexities, especially in response to tough insurance lawyers. If you have questions about a difficult claim, give us a call anytime for a free look at the details of your situation.