The questions on this page were answered by our team of Virginia Beach & Norfolk personal injury attorneys. The questions are categorized by practice area such as car accidents, medical malpractice, wrongful death, etc. If you have specific questions about your situation, contact our firm to set up a free consultation with an actual attorney.

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  • Why are premises liability cases often called slip & fall cases?

    Most people call premises liability cases “slips and falls” because the classic example of a premises liability claim involves a plaintiff who fell on a wet floor in a store or slipped on an icy sidewalk in front of a business. The category actually covers any type of injury that can be caused by a property owner or occupant’s negligence. A short list of premises liability cases includes


    • Dog bites and animal attacks
    • Falls down stairs and from balconies
    • Assaults by staff, customers or other visitors
    • Injuries from falling objects
    • Electric shocks and electrocutions
    • Drownings
    • Recreational vehicle crashes (e.g., ATVs)
    • Injuries on rides and attractions


    The liability for compensating the injured person arises from the property owner or occupant’s legal duties to protect customers and visitors from injuries by keeping premises and equipment in proper repair, controlling the behavior of other people on the premises to the extent that is reasonable and complying with all applicable safety laws and regulations. 

    A final consideration is that Virginia bars premises liability claims from individuals who materially contribute in any way to causing the harm they suffered. Virginia and its neighbor North Carolina are among the only four states that still enforce this strict interpretation of contributory negligence.



  • Why are premises liability cases tough in Virginia?

    In order to win a premises liability (slip and fall) case in Virginia (VA), a Virginia Beach personal injury attorney must prove that the premises owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition that caused your fall, and that you as the injured person could not have seen or appreciated the slip, trip or fall risk before you fell.  This creates a narrow set of circumstances under which a person can expect to have a successful case, but an experienced attorney can help you understand if your case fits the right criteria.



  • How do we establish that the owner of the property is liable for my slip and fall injury?

    In a premises liability case, we need to prove that the owner or operator of the premises knew or should have known that the dangerous condition existed at the time of your fall.  This can be proven in many ways. Failure to do adequate safety checks, failure to put out necessary signage and warnings, and failure to comply with state and federal building codes are all ways to prove the property owner was negligent. 

  • What type of recovery can I expect if I've been the victim of a slip and fall case?

    Monetary recovery in a successful lawsuit will vary in every personal injury case. Typically, you can seek recovery for your medical expenses, your pain and suffering, and your lost wages if your injury caused you to miss work. 

  • What should I do if I fall and get injured at a store?

    Slip and fall cases, or premises liability cases, can be difficult, so you should do everything you can to make sure you remember the conditions and circumstances surrounding your fall. One of the first things you should do if you are able is to fill out an accident report with the store manager. If they do not offer one to you, ask for one. Secondly, you should try and take pictures of the dangerous condition that caused you to fall. In the era of cell phone cameras, often your phone is the best method to record a visual image of the conditions. The more you can remember about what caused you to fall, the better chance you have to proceed with a lawsuit for your injuries.

  • What questions should I ask a store employee if I slip andfall on their property?

    An admission by the store employee is often the strongest evidence you can gather in a premises liability, slip and fall case. If you are physically able, ask the employee about the condition that caused you to fall.  Ask them if they knew the condition existed, or when the last time that they checked the area was. It is unlikely that they will accept fault for your accident, but it never hurts to ask.

  • I fell at work and suffered a serious injury, do I have a case?

    Most personal injury claims that arise while an employee is working are covered by Worker's Compensation laws. This probably means you'll have to file a workers compensation claim in order to recover for your injury.  As a result, you will probably not be able to bring a successful separate personal injury lawsuit against your employer, but this rule does have exceptions. It is possible that a third party, and not your employer, is responsible for creating the dangerous condition that caused you to fall, and that third party may not be covered by worker's comp. You should ask an experienced injury attorney about your options.

  • What should I do immediately after a slip and fall?

    First and foremost, inspect the area where you fell. Important questions to try and answer include: What caused you to fall? Did anyone see you fall?

    Write down the contact information of anyone in the general area where the incident occurred - both those who saw you fall, and others who were there after the fall - since they may be needed as witnesses on your behalf if the landowner potentially disputes your claim. Even if no one saw you actually fall, an individual could help describe your pain and the conditions of the area immediately after you fell.

    If the incident occurred in a store or place of business, immediately speak with the manager or supervisor on duty. Have them make a record of the incident, and get a copy of anything prepared by the business. If anyone suggests this type of incident occurred before, or they were aware of the condition before your fall, make a note and get the name and contact information of the individual who made the statement.

    Even if the condition that caused your fall is permanent, or temporary (i.e. icy street), take photographs of the area as soon as possible so a record is available. Even"permanent conditions" could change if the landowner thinks you might file a claim for an injury.

    About the editors: The motto at Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan law firm is simple -"All we do is injury law." We hope you were able to find the answer to your injury query. If not, please review our Virginia Accident Lawyer FAQ Library for additional information. If you'd like to speak to an actual attorney about your potential injury claim for free, please contact our office at 1-800-752-0042.


  • What if my slip and fall injury was on my landlord's property, at work, or at a public mall? How does the location affect the legal process?

    Usually, property owners have liability insurance in the event someone is injured on their property.

    You need to speak with an attorney regarding the severity of the injury and whether liability is in question. An experienced attorney, like those working for Shapiro & Appleton would investigate and research who the responsible party is, and get details about the insurance coverage of the other party or their carrier that they may not be willing to provide to you directly.

    A location where a slip and fall injury can commonly occur is an apartment building. If the slip and fall injury occurred in a common area where the landlord has control such as a hallway, parking lot, elevator, etc. the landlord may be liable.

    On the other hand, if the tenant who slipped and fell created the danger such as leaving items around the stairwell and it impedes another individual, then the tenant is liable.

    As a tenant, you may be liable for injuries if someone slips on a loose and worn-down carpet in your apartment. Nevertheless, the landlord may share responsibility if they were aware of the loose carpet and failed to fix it.

    Do not hesitate to make a claim against your landlord for fear of disturbing the relationship or facing eviction. This is a good reason why you need to get an injury lawyer to handle the matter more objectively.

    Injuries at the workplace potentially have additional complications. In some instances, you can't sue your supervisor. For example, in Virginia, workers compensation is the primary source of financial compensation for an employee injured on the job, but filing a lawsuit against your employer is prohibited. However, the worker can collect workers compensation and sue a third party whose negligence contributed to the injury.

    A slip and fall injury at a public mall could be challenging when trying to determine who is at fault. This is because there are various levels of ownership and management. For example, there may be a store owner, a mall management company, and a corporate ownership entity. Again, an experienced attorney would be extremely helpful in determining which entity or company is at fault.


  • What are "slip and fall" or "trip and fall" injuries?

    A "slip and fall" or "trip and fall" is the term used for an injury occurring when someone slips, trips or falls as a result of a hazardous or dangerous condition on someone else's property. Slips, trips, and falls commonly occur as a result of water, ice, snow, changes in flooring, poor lighting, or a hidden hazard.

    Over eight million people were injured in falls in 2004, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. A majority of slip and fall injuries are accrued by older individuals. In 2005, over 15,000 people age 65 or older died from injuries attributed to a fall, according to the Center for Disease Control. Roughly 1.8 million age 65 and older were treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries, and over 433,000 of these people were hospitalized.

    If you are on someone else's property and are injured as a result of a dangerous condition on the property, the landowner may be liable for the injury or injuries. The person or company using the land can also be liable, like the store,restaurant or business renting the building,if they were the ones at fault. The injured person must show that the land owner or user did something wrong to hold them responsible, like that they created a danger, failed to inspect the premises, or carelessly failed to warn of a hidden hazard.

    About the editors: The motto at Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan law firm is simple -"All we do is injury law." We hope you were able to find the answer to your injury query. If not, please review our Virginia Accident Lawyer FAQ Library for additional information. If you'd like to speak to an actual attorney about your potential injury claim for free, please contact our office at 1-800-752-0042.