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Slip, Trip and Fall Cases: When Is a Hole or Condition That Causes Personal Injuries Open and Obvious?

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My colleague Rick Shapiro wrote an article about a recent federal court decision out of Richmond, Virginia (VA) -- which also has jurisdiction in West Virginia (WV), North Carolina (NC), and South Carolina (SC) -- in which the federal judge denied a motion to dismiss a delivery driver's personal injury lawsuit against a Firestone Tire store. The driver's claim stemmed from an accident in which he tripped on a pothole in the business' parking lot nd suffered injuries.

In Cring v. BFS Retail and Commercial Operations LLC, Judge Payne noted tht under Virginia law, courts are permitted to find contributory negligence on behalf of the injured victim when the hazard or condition was open and obvious and when the condition orhole could or should have been avoided by the injured person if he had exercised ordinary care. However, the judge continued, the Supreme Court of Virginia has specifically not decided, as a matter of law, that a pedestrian's failure to look down while stepping forward must always constitute contributory negligence on behalf of the injured person.

The Virginia high court stated that a jury must examine the size, location and visibility of defects or conditions to determine whether they are truly open and obvious to a personal injury victim.  The court in Cring would not dismiss the suit.

To read a full article discussing the decision click here.


Richard N. Shapiro
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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