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Shapiro, Lewis, Appleton & Duffan, P.C.

Virginia Beach & Norfolk Slip and Fall Lawyers

You're probably here because you or a loved one suffered a serious injury from a slip, trip, or fall. You may not be 100% sure you have a case and are curious about slip and fall laws in Virginia. We are here to help. This page is meant as a resource and was developed by our team of experienced personal injury lawyers: 

Frequently Asked Questions 

The Injury Claim Process for a Slip and Fall Case

Each slip, trip, or fall case  posesses unique challenges. You need to know that an injury stemming from a slip, trip, or fall basically has two parts - liability and damages.

  1. Damages are the result of the bodily injury to the person who is hurt, such as a broken bone and the lost wages and medical expenses associated with any orthopedic surgery and permanent disability.
  2. The liability side of the bodily injury case is showing that the defendant/property owner was at fault in causing the plaintiff's injury and that the plaintiff was free from fault.

Serious slip and fall injuries can arise at various types of businesses or property, such as office buildings, malls, parking lots or garages,private homes, rental units, apartments, amusements parks,resorts, convenience stores, big box retailer, national chains, gas stations, elevators,strip centers, groceries, business parks, hospitals, banks, industrial sites, restaurants, government owned land, work places, or any location where you go as a customer or invited visitor.

Certain locations in a building are the most common places for a slip, trips, or fall accident to occur including entrance ways, parking lots, common areas, lobbies, sidewalks, stairs, decks, and bathrooms.

Common Defense Argument

Often, the defendant (i.e. property owner) will argue that the injured person (i.e. you or a loved one) contributed to causing their own injury. This argument is used even when the defendant is clearly liable.

What We Set Out to Prove

We typically argue that the property owner, or an employee, was negligent in their duty to maintain their property and/or alert individuals of hazards such as holes,water on the floor, slippery substances like grease or soap, broken  or not repaired walkways, stairs without hand rails, poorly maintained decks which lead to collapse, violations of (BOCA) building codes, no signs or warning of cleaning, malfunctioning equipment like elevators dropping suddenly, ice/snow not removed, missing mats or safety devices that should be used, failing to inspect property, electrical dangers, and poor lighting.

General Tips

In the era of cell phone cameras, you should take pictures at the scene, or go and get the pictures of the condition if it still exists. Always complete an injury/incident report with a business or store if you ever have a slip, trip or fall caused by a condition at a business premises.

Proving that there was actually something that caused your fall is only the first step. We also need to have evidence of:

  • What it was
  • How it got there
  • How long it was there


The law applying to slip and trip cases usually requires that the business be "on notice" that there was a problem to correct-so, a condition that was on the floor for 5 minutes is often not a reasonable opportunity for a business as opposed to a longer timeframe, as just one example.

The best evidence in this situation is a party admission by some employee of the business establishment that the condition had been there for sufficient time for them to do something about it.

 

Rick N. Shapiro
Recognized as a Virginia Super Lawyer in Law & Politics Magazine (since '10)
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