If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury due to a slip, trip or fall at a grocery store, department store, apartment complex or condominium development, you are probably looking for information about Virginia slip and fall laws. That is what this article focuses on.
The majority of slip and fall injury cases fall under the law of premise liability. In Virginia (VA), business owners have a legal responsibility to customers and others visiting their premise to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition. Homeowners and private property owners can also be held liable for personal injuries that occur on their property.
Check out these other articles on slip and fall injury cases:
- Slip, Trip and Fall Cases: When Is a Hole or Condition That Causes Personal Injuries Open and Obvious?
- Falling Products and Merchandise Cause Personal Injury Claims to Stack Up Against Retailers
The Virginia laws can be complex and can be especially challenging for plaintiffs since it can be difficult to determine what exactly is "reasonably safe." In addition, a property owner does not guarantee the safety of visitors on their premise. This means that just because you are injured on the property of another person or company does not mean you will be able to bring a successful slip and fall injury lawsuit, even if there is proof of an unsafe condition or defect on the premise.
Another factor to consider is the severity of your slip and fall injury. To win a big slip and fall case in Virginia, you usually need a very serious injury like a torn knee ligament, pulled lower back muscle, or head injury. If you just have a couple of bruises, it may not be practical to spend the time and money necessary to pursue a premises liability case because the liability is always so hotly contested in VA.
In many of these slip and fall injury cases, the primary issue fought over is liability. For example, a woman slips on a wet floor of a restaurant and suffers a serious knee injury. One of my colleagues actually handled a case just like this in Chesapeake, Virginia. The trick to winning this type of case is being able to show that the restaurant had a dangerous condition on its premises, namely the slippery surface, and had notice of the same or should have realized the slippery surface was there sufficiently far in advance of the injured victim's fall in order that they could have done something to prevent it. That mouthful of a last sentence is the tricky part.
First, you have to prove that the floor was slippery. Often, the client has no idea what caused the slip and fall other than that there was a slick area on the floor. The restaurant may deny that there was any slipperiness at all, as occurred in my case earlier this year.
Bad case law in Virginia has established that if a plaintiff is unable to prove the slippery condition was not made by a fellow customer just 20 seconds before he or she fell, they cannot recover monetary payments for their injuries or medical treatments.
Even though you may face a challenge when bringing a slip and fall injury claim, take the time to speak with an attorney. One of the worst mistakes you can make is simply suffering through your injury, especially if you truly believe your injury was caused by the negligence of a company or other individual. Our firm has handled numerous slip and fall injury cases. Check out one of our slip and fall injury case results.