Premises liability refers to personal injury cases where a defective or unsafe condition on someone else’s property caused the injury. If you have been injured on someone else’s property, you have a right to seek financial compensation for your injuries.
State law varies on the procedure and details of premises liability cases so it is important to talk to a lawyer who specializes in this type of law. If you or someone you know has been injured on someone else’s property, you may have a premises liability case.
If you need to speak with an attorney about a premises liability matter please contact the experienced attorneys at the Virginia-based Smith Law Center by calling (757) 244-7000 or by scheduling a consultation with us online.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a unique kind of personal injury lawsuit. Premises liability refers to a property owner’s obligation to keep their property well maintained and relatively safe with respect to all persons who enter their property. If a person is injured on a property owner’s property, the property owner may be held financially liable for injuries suffered as a result of the accident.
The types of injuries that may result in a premises liability lawsuit can vary from a slip and fall in a grocery store case to an injury that occured on a construction site.
Premises liability will be determined by:
- The legal status of the visitor
- The condition of the property
- Whether the owner or visitor is at fault for the injury
- If the injured person was a child
It is important to note that property owners do not bear unlimited liability and are only responsible for preventable accidents.
What Are the Top 5 Most Common Premises Liability Accidents?
Premises liability cases are incredibly common and occur under even the most ideal circumstances. If you have suffered an accident, it is crucial to contact a premises liability lawyer as soon as possible so that you can pursue justice and compensation for the injuries you have experienced.
The five most frequently litigated premises liability accidents include:
1) Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are the most common premises liability cases. A slip and fall is defined as an accident when a person loses his or her footing and ultimately falls.
Slip and fall accidents may appear to be an everyday occurrence but they can result in broken bones, severe spinal injuries, and brain injuries. Property owners and supervisors must maintain safe walkways, sidewalks, and stairwells, and keep them free of debris. Some examples of slip and fall cases include slipping on ice, stumbling on buckled floors, falling down a flight of stairs, or stepping in a hole or a crack on unkempt flooring.
Slip and fall accidents may not seem serious. However, they account for nearly 8 million emergency room visits every year.
2) Dog Bite Accidents
Dog attacks and dog bites make up a significant number of premises liability cases. More than 4.5 million people report dog bites each year, according to the CDC. Owners must be held responsible for injuries caused when their animals attack. If you have been injured by a dog bite you may be able to bring a premises liability claim.
A recent study observed that, contrary to popular belief, the usual suspects in dog bite accidents such as Pitbulls and Rottweilers were no more likely to bite than other breeds. A dog’s tendency toward aggression may be linked to other factors such as training, heredity, and environment. If you have been bitten by any type of dog, you should seek medical attention immediately, and an attorney as soon as possible.
3) Workplace or Construction Site Negligence
Construction site accidents can affect both construction site workers and innocent passersby. If construction site workers or project managers fail to adequately warn or flag off construction sites, it can create the potential for devastating accidents or injuries.
Construction site accidents typically occur because of the equipment and tools found on most work sites. If not handled properly, this environment can create horrific injuries.
Common construction site injuries include:
- Broken backs and spinal column injuries
- Broken bones
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Head trauma or brain injuries
- Eye injuries and damage to vision
If you have suffered any of these injuries because of an unsafe workplace or project manager negligence, you may have a premises liability lawsuit, and may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
4) Hotel Accidents
Accidents resulting in injury that occur on hotel property require a lawyer experienced in premises liability cases to get the compensation you are entitled to. If you want to hold a hotel responsible for injuries you have sustained on their premises, you will need to establish that the hotel was negligent or breached a duty of care to you. A premises liability lawyer can help you navigate the legal complexities.
Virginia law defines a hotel as any place offered to the public for compensation for transitory traveling or sleeping accommodations. This may include facilities known as motels, hotels, travel lodges, tourist homes, or hostels. If you have been injured while staying at a hotel. You may be able to recover financially.
Hotels are responsible for your safety in your room as well as in common areas including:
- Parking lots
- Common walkways
- Swimming pools
- Public restrooms
- Fitness areas
If you have been injured while staying at a hotel, reach out to an attorney who specializes in premises liability. They can help you gather evidence, prepare statements and negotiate with insurance representatives and hotel lawyers.
5) Parking Lot Accidents
Parking lots can be riskier than you think. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that tens of thousands of accidents occur in parking lots and parking garages every year. If you have been injured in a parking lot, you may be able to recover from the property owner.
The causes for premises liability injuries in parking lots vary and may include:
- Car crashes and pedestrian accidents around blind corners
- Damaged sidewalks or asphalt (potholes)
- Slip and fall accidents
- Being the victim of a violent crime
- Inadequate lighting or security measures
Property owners have a legal duty to maintain safe properties by carrying out periodic inspections and taking care of foreseeable hazards such as snow or ice. When a property owner knows about a problem in their parking lot and fails to fix it, that owner may be considered negligent.
If the property owner of a home, hotel, or business is negligent, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against them for your injuries.
Who Is Responsible in Premises Liability Cases?
In order to hold a property owner legally responsible in a premises liability matter, a lawyer will examine the particular facts and circumstances surrounding your case and help determine responsibility. Responsibility in premises liability cases is based on the duty of care that the property owner owes to someone who is coming onto their property.
The duty of care a property owner owes to a visitor are outlined here:
- Invitees: An invitee is a person who enters another’s premises as the result of an express or implied invitation by the property owner. Examples of an invitee include a customer entering a grocery store, the mailman delivering a package, or a business’ employees. A property owner must protect the invitee from unreasonable risk.
- Licensees: A licensee is a person who enters a property with permission but for certain purposes. A licensee may include a city worker, a friend dropping by unexpectedly, or a guest at a party. A property owner must warn the licensee of dangers that the property owner is aware of but may not be easily discovered by the licensee.
- Trespassers: A trespasser is someone who comes onto another’s property without proper permission. Premises liability may extend to certain types of trespassers, meaning that even if you are on someone else’s property without permission, they may still owe you a duty of care. A premises liability lawyer can help you determine if your situation qualifies for relief.
A skilled premises liability lawyer will evaluate your unique facts and circumstances and help determine if you have a case.
Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer Today
If the injury you suffered on another person’s property could have been easily prevented, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Premises liability cases involving, slip and falls, dog bites, construction site negligence, and more, may limit your quality of life and your ability to provide for and care for your family.
Working with a lawyer who specializes in premises liability cases will maximize your potential for receiving adequate damages. The lawyers at the Smith Law Center are on hand to help you. Contact them online or at (757) 244-7000 to discuss the legal options that are available to you.