A common type of injury is one that occurs on someone’s private property. Private property is anything that is not owned by the state, local, or federal government. This includes both home property and commercial businesses. Depending on the severity of the accident, there could be severe financial hardships such as numerous medical bills and lost wages. A negligent property owner should be responsible for accidents that occur on their premises. A skilled lawyer can help you file a Richmond private property liability claim and seek compensation for damages. Speak to a seasoned premises liability attorney to discuss your legal options to hold the reckless property owner accountable for damages.
As defined by Virginia law, there are three specific categories of property visitors including an invitee, a licensee, and a trespasser. An invitee is somebody who is brought onto the property for the mutual benefit of both parties, generally for commercial purposes. A licensee is somebody who is given permission to come onto a property for their own purposes, such as a house guest. Somebody who does not have any permission to be on a property is a trespasser.
In Virginia, property owners do not owe a duty to trespassers. The rules are different for children trespassers. Unlike other states, Virginia does not follow the attractive nuisance doctrine, which says that if children are attracted onto the property by something, they are still able to assert liability if they are injured. However, many local jurisdictions have rules stating that swimming pools must be covered or fenced in, which is largely to protect children. A private property lawyer in the area can check the local and state laws to help determine where liability rests.
The type of property is going to affect exactly what the owner is expected to do in terms of maintaining it. For an apartment or a condo that does not have many people coming in and out, that homeowner or apartment lessor would have less to do compared to a large store that has hundreds or thousands of customers every day.
Private property owners must conduct a reasonable search of their own property to discover hidden defects or dangers, and then remedy those defects or give a clear warning to the invitees that the danger exists. The only exception is for natural conditions, such as a large tract of land with fallen trees on it which the owner would not be expected to encounter.
For landlords to be liable, they have to have had reasonable notice to whatever defect existed. For example, if a renter had a loose floorboard in their apartment that they never told the landlord about, the landlord would not be liable for any injury that results.
Virginia is one of the few states that still follow the doctrine of contributory negligence. This means if the plaintiff is found partially liable for their accident, even if it is just one percent, the injured claimant may be ineligible to recover any damages.
The most common type of premises liability case occurs due to slip and fall accidents. Slip and fall accident often occurs due to a liquid on the ground. The plaintiff will have a better chance of recovering compensation for damages if their accident occurred due to a clear liquid that was difficult to see, such as water. If the spilled liquid was colored or easily visible, the plaintiff might be considered partially liable and barred from recovering damages. A local private property lawyer could take the lead on preserving evidence from the scene of the accident to ensure that the full scope of the accident is preserved for a potential trial.
Private property owners have a duty of care to keep their premises free and clear of any dangers to potential visitors. When that duty is breached, they should be held liable for any injuries you suffered. Call a local lawyer now to discuss your Richmond private property liability claim and begin the path to recovery.