Slip and falls are a common cause of injuries on others’ property in Richmond. Something as simple as a spill on a grocery store floor has the potential to cause severe injuries. Under Virginia’s premises liability laws, a landowner has the obligation to clear hazards before they cause any harm or warn visitors of the dangerous condition.

However, just because a person is injured while visiting the property of another does not mean they have an automatic right to demand compensation. In personal injury cases, juries must examine both why the slip and fall occurred and also whether an injured plaintiff had permission to be on the land at the time of the accident. A failure to meet these criteria may result in an inability to collect compensation.

If you were injured after slipping and falling on another’s land, a seasoned personal injury attorney may be able to help. A Richmond slip and fall lawyer can evaluate your rights as a visitor, demonstrate how a defendant’s negligence caused your losses, and refute arguments that you contributed to your own injuries.

The Classes of Visitors in Premises Liability Laws

A slip and fall accident on land owned by another party may appear to place clear blame on the property owner. However, only certain types of visitors can claim damages after these accidents. In short, a person must have permission to be on the land in order for a landowner to have any duty to provide protection.

Commonwealth premises liability laws place visitors into three categories:

  1. Trespassers are people who enter land without the permission of the owner or who remain on land after the owner asks them to leave. Landowners must only refrain from causing intentional harm to a trespasser.
  2. Licensees are visitors who enter otherwise private land with an express invitation from the owner, such as social guests. The property owner has a duty to warn licensees of any known hazards.
  3. Invitees are people who enter land for a business purpose. Examples include patrons in a movie theater or shoppers in a grocery or retail store. Landowners owe a duty to use ordinary care to maintain the premises in a reasonable, safe condition and warn invitees of hidden dangers.

As a result of these rules, an injured plaintiff may have no recourse if they were trespassing at the time of the injury. In other cases, a jury must evaluate whether a landowner’s attempts to warn or provide protection were reasonable. In all examples, a Richmond slip and fall attorney can help injured individuals to understand their rights under the law.

Defending Against Allegations of Contributory Negligence

The law holds negligent landowners liable for accidents that injure invited guests. However, Virginia is one of only a few jurisdictions that uses the concept of contributory negligence to assign blame following an accident. This allows landowner’s a powerful defense.

Under this doctrine, juries in slip and fall cases must evaluate the actions of both parties to assign blame. If the jury believes that the plaintiff is in any way responsible for the incident, that jury cannot award that plaintiff any compensation.

As a result, a landowner may argue that the plaintiff’s own behavior shifts some blame for the accident onto them. A slip and fall lawyer in Richmond can help victims prove that a defendant was the sole responsible party.

A Richmond Slip and Fall Attorney Can Help

If you slipped and fell on another’s property, you may be able to collect compensation. However, pursuing a successful claim can be surprisingly difficult. Defendants may raise a variety of defenses to eliminate their liability. For example, they may argue that you did not have permission to be on the land or that your own actions contributed to the accident.

A Richmond slip and fall lawyer can help you prove the defendant’s negligence and collect the compensation needed to set things right. This includes accurately measuring your losses, gathering evidence of your right to be on the land, and protecting your rights during settlement talks and in court. Call today to schedule a consultation.

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Commonwealth Law Group

If you have been injured at work or through the negligence of another individual or entity, contact us at Call (804) 999-9999 for a free initial consultation to discuss your case. We will fight to get you the justice you deserve.

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