If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury while at a business premise in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, or elsewhere in Virginia, you owe it to yourself to speak to an attorney to assess your legal options. Your ability to obtain financial compensation for harms and losses stemming from a business property injury is not guaranteed in Virginia. This is due to the fact that the Commonwealth of VA is a contributory negligence state, which means that if you were even one percent at fault for causing the business premises injury, you could be barred from recovering financial restitution. Take action by contacting the business premises injury lawyers with Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. Our attorneys are ready to help and offer free, confidential consultations to all prospective clients.
Why Choose Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp for This Claim?
- At Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp, we handle every claim on a case-by-case basis, which means we take the time to get to know every client who sustains an injury caused by a property owner’s negligence.
- We are injury law leaders in Virginia and North Carolina and have secured significant multimillion-dollar settlements and jury verdicts for our clients.
- Our law firm believes in providing the highest level of personal client services, which means we prepare for every case as if it will go all the way to trial.
Overview of Business Premises Injury Liability
Many business property injuries are related to an avoidable defect at the property, such as a hole, ditch, patch of ice, exposed electrical wire, etc. Liability in business premises injury cases is generally determined by meeting the following factors:
- The property owner owed a duty of care to you;
- The property owner or the person responsible for the property breached that duty of care; and
- Your injury, or injuries, were proximately caused by the property owner’s breach.
The legal status of the injured individual will also play a role in whether the property owner can be held liable. For example, the duty of care owed by the business property owner is higher for guests or invitees when compared to a trespasser.
A Virginia Beach business premises liability lawyer can help assess which legal status applies in your particular case. A seasoned attorney can also help establish that you were injured through no fault of your own and are entitled to financial restitution because of the nature of your injury.
Business Property Owner – Duty of Care
Property owners, including owners of businesses in Virginia Beach and elsewhere in Virginia, are legally obligated to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their property. Reasonable steps generally include adhering to all local, state, and federal building codes as well as local, state, and federal ordinances regarding safety. This means business property owners are generally required to remove debris, waste, and water to ensure the premises are safe for visitors. In addition, all Virginia businesses are required to comply with OSHA guidelines.
Common Defenses Raised by Business Property Owners
In business premises liability cases, it is fairly common for business owners to raise two defenses to challenge the veracity or viability of the injury claim – (i) lack of notice and (ii) contributory negligence. The lack of notice defense asserts that the plaintiff (i.e. the injured party) is unable to prove that the property owner knew about the defective condition or reasonably should have known that the defective condition existed. As a result, the business owner should not be held legally liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
The contributory negligence defense is also quite common in Virginia premises liability cases. This defense relies upon an archaic legal theory that asserts if a plaintiff is even just 1 percent at fault for causing their own injury, they are barred from pursuing a financial recovery from a defendant.
Steps to Take if You Get Injured on Someone Else’s Property
There are various steps that you can take in order to recover compensation for your losses if you have sustained an injury on someone else’s property. We understand that in the chaotic aftermath of sustaining an injury, these steps might become shuffled. However, it is crucial that you do everything possible to help recover maximum compensation:
- Seek medical care. Any person who sustains an injury on another individual’s property needs to seek medical care as soon as possible. There are multiple reasons why seeking medical care quickly is crucial. First, you need to attend to your well-being at all times. Additionally, seeking medical care establishes a strong link between the injury and the incident.
- Report the incident. Report your injury to a property owner or a supervisor on the premises as soon as possible. Most property owners have systems in place for documenting injury incidents. You need to make sure that somebody on the premises knows that you have sustained an injury.
- Gather evidence. If possible, you should gather as much evidence as you can at the scene before leaving. We understand that this may not be possible for cases of severe injuries, but if you can, you should get photographs of the entire area. Take photographs of the cause of the injury as well as the injuries themselves. Keep any clothing that has been torn, damaged, or bloodied. If there were any eyewitnesses to the incident, get their names and contact information before you leave.
- Contact an attorney. You need to speak to a skilled Virginia Beach premises liability lawyer soon after an injury occurs. When an attorney gets involved quickly, they can begin the process of gathering information and speaking to eyewitnesses. An attorney will also make sure that you are evaluated by trusted medical professionals.
- Continue medical care. You need to continue all medical care until your doctor says you have fully recovered or reached maximum medical improvement. If you discontinue care against the advice of a medical professional, this could be taken as a sign by insurance carriers that you were not really injured in the first place
Financial Restitution That Can Be Pursued in a Business Property Injury Case
If you or a loved one was seriously injured through no fault of your own while at a business in Virginia, you may be able to pursue financial restitution for your harms and losses. The types of financial restitution you can pursue include the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering related to the business property injury suffered
- Punitive damages (depending on the facts of your particular case)
Time Limit for Taking Legal Action
If you were injured while visiting a business premises in Virginia, it is important to understand that you only have a finite amount of time to take legal action against the business property owner. This is due to the statute of limitations. Generally, an injured individual has two years to file a lawsuit to try and hold the business property owner accountable for the accident. If you fail to bring a business property injury lawsuit within the statute of limitations period against the business property owner, your case could be outright dismissed and you would be barred from pursuing financial restitution for your harms and losses.
Do I Really Need a Business Premises Liability Lawyer?
You may be tempted to think that you do not need the services of an attorney since you can effectively negotiate on your own with the business owner’s insurance company. This is a mistake and, unfortunately, many injured folks learn this lesson the hard way by being ignored or misled by an insurance company claims adjuster. It is important to understand that most insurance companies do not immediately offer reasonable settlements in business premises liability cases. In fact, insurance companies often refuse to settle and try to take their chances at trial. This is why it is so important to retain the services of a skilled and experienced Virginia business premises liability lawyer.
Contact a Virginia Beach Premises Liability Attorney Today
If you or somebody you care about has been injured as a result of the careless or negligent actions of a property owner in Virginia Beach, reach out to the team at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp as soon as possible. We have extensive experience handling complex personal injury claims throughout Virginia, and we have the resources necessary to fully investigate your case. We want to make sure that you recover total compensation for your losses. When you need a Virginia Beach premises liability attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at (833) 997-1774.