Personal injury law allows legal action against someone for failing to take the proper precautions to prevent injuries. Premises liability law includes the specific rules governing the duty of care property owners and managers owe to visitors.
If you were hurt due to a dangerous condition on another’s property, you may have grounds for a personal injury action against the negligent property owner. A Henrico County premises liability lawyer can help you hold them accountable and pursue fair payment for your losses.
Premises liability is the legal concept in personal injury law surrounding defective or unsafe conditions on a property that led to an injury. When someone visits a property, their status is one of three classes – an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser. Virginia law requires a different duty of care for each class of visitor.
The duty owed to someone visiting a property plays an important role in the outcome of a premises liability lawsuit. A premises liability lawyer in Henrico County could help victims determine their status and identify the applicable duty of care.
Invitees are individuals who are anticipated to visit the property for the benefit of the owner. For example, visitors to a business open to the public are usually invitees.
Property owners owe invitees a duty of care to ensure the property has no unreasonably dangerous conditions. They must also warn invitees of hidden dangers and those of which they are aware or, in the exercise of reasonable precaution, should have been aware.
A licensee is someone who has permission to enter the property for their own benefit, such as a social guest. For a licensee to pursue compensation after an injury, they must demonstrate that the landowner was negligent or reckless.
A trespasser is someone who enters the property without seeking permission from the property owner, such as a burglar. Since property owners are unable to anticipate trespassers, they generally do not owe a standard duty of care. However, a property owner cannot intentionally harm a trespasser, either directly or via traps.
A successful premises liability lawsuit may also require that the plaintiff establish that the property owner was on notice of the unsafe or defective condition before the duty owed was breached. For hidden or unexpected hazards, a plaintiff may need to demonstrate that the owner was aware of the danger and did not take steps to fix it. In some cases, the property owner should have been aware of the hazard, even if they were not actually aware. Spills are common in grocery stores, for example, meaning owners should take reasonable steps to inspect the premises for dangers.
Premises liability cases in the Commonwealth are challenging since the status of a visitor is not always clear. Without making this determination, the duty of care owed to a visitor is difficult to establish.
If you were hurt while visiting another’s property, you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries and associated losses. A Henrico County premises liability lawyer can examine the facts of your case and help you hold the negligent property owner accountable.