Slip and Fall Lawyer in Manassas
While a slip and fall may seem like a relatively harmless accident type that leaves a victim with nothing more than a bruise and hurt ego, some slip and fall accidents are much more severe. In fact, data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that each year, slip and fall accidents are a leading cause of death for older adults in the U.S. But older adults are not the only ones affected; people of all ages may become the victim of a dangerous condition that results in a slip and fall accident, leaving them with serious – and potentially even fatal – injuries.
The experienced slip and fall attorneys at the Virginia law offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C. know that most slip and fall accidents can be prevented, and that when they happen, a negligent property owner may be to blame. If you believe that your fall would not have happened but for a dangerous condition on a property other than your own, you need to call our law offices today for your consultation and information about how to recover compensation for your losses.
Premises Liability Laws: What They Are and Who Is Affected
Premises liability cases are civil suits in which an injured party brings forth a claim against a property owner that alleges that the property owner neglected their duty to the plaintiff. A property owner’s duty is to maintain a property in a safe condition, and repair any dangerous conditions within a reasonable amount of time. If a property owner neglects this duty and someone is harmed as a result, the property owner can be held liable.
This duty applies to property owners of all types, including the owners of:
- Apartment buildings
- Commercial businesses
- Residential homes
- Private residences or businesses
- Public places, including parks or city buildings
While all property owners have some type of duty to the people who enter their property, the duty differs depending upon how the property visitor is classified. Consider property owners’ duties to the following visitor types:
- Invitee. An invitee is a person who enters a property based on their legal right to do so, or because they are explicitly or implicitly invited to do so, or for economic benefit. For example, a person who walks through a public park is an invitee; a person who acts as a guest at another’s home is an invitee; or a person who walks into a shopping center or private store is an invitee. Property owners owe a strong duty of care to invitees, including the duty to inspect the property and reasonably prevent against, or correct, hazards.
- Licensee. The next category of property visitor is a licensee, which is a person who is on a property legally, but has not been explicitly invited by the property owner to be there. The duty to a licensee is typically identical to that of an invitee.
- Trespasser. To trespass is to enter a property illegally or without any right or permission from the property owner. Typically in Virginia, a property owner owes no duty of care to a trespasser other than to refrain from causing the trespasser harm willfully or wantonly.
If you were acting as a licensee or invitee at the time of your slip and fall, you have the right to recover compensation if the property owner’s failure to correct a hazardous condition that they knew or should have known about was the cause of your injuries.
Dangerous Property Conditions that Can Lead to Slip and Fall Accidents
There are a number of dangerous property conditions that can lead to slip and fall accidents, and that property owners have a legal duty to correct without a reasonable amount of time. Some of these conditions include:
- Snow or ice
- Slippery surfaces
- Broken stairs, elevators, or escalators
- Torn carpet
- Uneven flooring
- Breaks or defects in wood or tile floors
- Cords or wires that create a tripping hazards
- Potholes, uncovered manholes, and other depressions
- Lack of railings or handrails
The above list is not all inclusive; if any sort of hazard exists that causes or contributes to a slip and fall accident, the property owner may be held liable.
Determining a “Reasonable” Amount of Time
In order for a property owner to be held liable for injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident on the property owner’s land, the plaintiff must prove:
- That a hazardous condition existed
- That the property owner knew or should have known about the condition
- That the property owner failed to correct the hazard in a reasonable amount of time
The latter criteria can be one of the most difficult to prove, as “reasonable” is often subjective. In some cases, such as the case of snow or ice removal, what is reasonable may be determined by statute (i.e. many cities in Virginia have snow removal ordinances specifying how long property owners have to remove snow or ice). In other cases, the “reasonable person standard,” which seeks to identify what a reasonable person is a similar situation would do, will be used. The reasonable amount of time will also depend upon the type of hazard. For example, a spilled drink at a restaurant should reasonably be cleaned up nearly immediately; a pothole may require a few days or weeks to reasonably repair.
Our Attorneys Are Here to Help You Recover Compensation after a Virginia Slip and Fall
A slip and fall accident can lead to broken bones, head and traumatic brain injuries, hip injuries, back and spine injuries, and other painful and debilitating injury types. When your slip and fall happened because another party committed an act of negligence, you have the right to bring forth a civil action for damages. Our experienced Virginia slip and fall attorneys at the law offices of Olmstead & Olmstead, P.C. truly care about you. We know that you want to work with a law firm that you can trust to put your interests first, and that has a history of success – we are that team.
We start each case with a consultation, and without any obligation to hire our law firm moving forward. To schedule your consultation, call us today at (703) 361-1555 or send us a message through our website.