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What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is the legal responsibility of the owner of a property public or private to provide a safe environment for its visitors where any accident that can be prevented, is. Premises liability and its claims can change based on the status of the visitor in question. Some visitors statuses are as follows:
- Invitees: these are people who have been invited to enter the property by the property owner. For public businesses, a visitor is assumed to be invited if the business is open. In this case, it is the duty of the owner of the property to let visitors know about any potential dangers that might be present (wet floors, construction, animals on the premises, etc)
- Licensees: these are people who enter the property with permission (are invited), but are there on their own business (ie: a city worker working on a main line, meter man checking the electric meter, a friend who stops by the drop something off, etc) The owner’s responsibility to these people is to let them know about any dangers they are aware of at the time
- Trespassers: in specific circumstances a trespasser could be owed in a premises liability case, but more often than not they are deemed at fault, not the property owner. The owner of the property can not use “intentional harm” to stop trespassers (booby traps, weapons, etc) but they can use “justifiable force” (barbed wire, electric fence, gates, etc)
- Children: children are protected in most cases even if they are trespassing (assuming they are too young to really understand the concept) In this case the owner of the property would be responsible for the liability in the following cases:
- The owner should have assumed children might trespass (an example is being next to a neighborhood school where their yard might be an easy shortcut)
- Having an “artificial condition*” that could cause injury or death (a swimming pool, a trampoline, etc) This can also apply if using the “artificial condition” is much less of a danger to the adult than it is a child (again, a swimming pool)
- *artificial conditions are things such as dangerous instruments, equipment, other materials that pose dangers to children. Swimming pools can be considered artificial conditions as bodies of water can be major safety risks for unattended children
- If the child was too young to recognize the danger on their own
- The owner failed to exercise reasonable care in order to preemptively stop the incident from occurring (a fence around the yard, a fence or a cover on/around the pool, etc)
In the state of Virginia, premises liability is slightly different for public property and private property:
On a public property, it is assumed that if the property is marked as open, that anyone who enters that property is considered an Invitee. It is therefore the responsibility of the property owner to maintain a safe environment and to quickly fix any problems that might arise. While the problems are being fixed, it is expected that the property owner clearly restricts the public’s access to the area.
Private property is different. Those that are invited on are considered Licensees. Since the property is privately owned the owner is not restricted to the safety checks and maintenance that a public property is (i.e. safety inspections, immediate repairs, restricted access, etc). However, the property owner does have a duty to keep the property reasonably safe for anyone invited on, and to let guests know if something isn’t blatantly dangerous (ie wobbly step, small hole, etc). While this is a problem the property owner should address for their safety and for others, there is no legal obligation to do so. In order for a private property owner to be considered liable, it must be proven that the danger was a known danger but was not immediately and obviously visible to the visitor.
Call A Premises Liability Lawyer For Help (757) 304-8424
In the unfortunate circumstance that you or a loved one becomes the victim of a premises liability accident in Virginia, immediately call (757) 304-8424 Coastal Virginia Magazine’s Top Lawyer for 2016 – 2022 Attorney Ed Booth for a consultation free of charge.
Mr. Booth is a highly regarded Virginia personal attorney with an aggressive legal style and deep dedication to assist Virginia truck accident victims to receive their monetary reparations legally due to them.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
Premises liability cases can come in many different forms. One of the most common case is a slip and fall case, where the injured party has slipped on something unsafe on property which has caused injuries (commonly wet floors). There are many other cases, some more common than others:
- Slip and Fall
- Code Violations
- Dog Bites
- Poor security
- Obstruction of doors or paths
- Insufficient lighting in any area
- Porch collapse or unsafe stairways
- Swimming pool accidents
- Trip and Falls
- Bed bugs (in hotels, air bnb, etc)
- Food Poisoning (restaurants, food trucks, etc)
Many of these fall under what can be considered Dangerous Property Conditions. Examples of these are:
- Unsafe swimming pools (incorrect chemical balance, uneven decks, wet decks, lack of proper signage ,etc)
- Defective amusement park rides
- Insufficient lighting
- Unmarked exits
- Ice, water or snow buildup on any surface
- Uneven flooring or ripped/torn carpeting
- Lack of necessary security
- Roads or sidewalks that are damaged in an unsafe way
- Dangerous animals on properties
- No railings where they are needed
- Unsafe stairs (inside and out)
What To Do After A Premises Liability Injury?
If you have been injured on someone’s property, the first step is to seek medical care. This will give a concrete reference to the amount of damage caused from the injury. Once you are completed your medical treatment, there are a few things that need to be established in order to have a successful premises liability case. They are as follows:
- It was the duty of the property owner to provide a reasonable level of care. For this, the injured person needs to have been on the property legally (invited or licensed). For these people it is the property owners responsibility to let visitors know if there is a danger they should be aware of while on the property. If the visitor was not on the property legally (ie trespassers) it is usually not the responsibility of the property owner to ensure their safety (two exceptions being very small children and intentional harm to the trespasser by the property owner)
- The owner knew about the danger and knowingly did nothing about it. If there was a clear danger (especially on public property) that the owner was made aware of and didn’t work to secure the area and fix the problem as quickly as possible, the owner has violated their duty of reasonable care to property visitors.
- The visitor must have been injured by the unfixed problem. Simply being aware of the problem while remaining unaffected by the problem is not grounds for a premises liability claim.
What Damages Could I Receive In My Premises Liability Case?
As in most personal injury cases there are several different types of damages someone could receive compensation for in a premises liability case. First there are general damages. These are mostly “pain and suffering”. These damages are hard to prove and hard to calculate because they are so individual to each person. Secondly there are special damages. Some of these are as follows:
- Medical bills
- Lost Wages
- Personal property damages
- Other losses that are easy to quantify
Occasionally there may be punitive damages, but this is on a case to case basis that can be determined by an experienced premises liability attorney.
How is Compensation For Premises Liability Calculated?
Compensation is calculated based on many things:
- Medical Expenses: initial medical care, therapies, assistive devices, future care
- Loss of income
- Emotional Distress (if the incident was traumatic enough to cause lasting emotional damage)
- Loss of Enjoyment: if you are no longer able to participate in things that you previously enjoyed as a direct result of the injury you received
- Punitive damages: These are usually only in extreme cases as they serve as a punishment to the at fault party.
These are all based on the collection of enough evidence to prove that the owner of the property was in fact at fault. They knew about the safety concern and actively did nothing to correct it.
Advantages of Hiring a Virginia Premises Liability Accident Lawyer
Premises liability cases include a lot of different pieces and parts. An experienced premises liability attorney can help injured parties negotiate with insurance companies, negotiate with the at fault party, investigate the accident and compile evidence on behalf of the injured party, and start the process of a premises liability lawsuit if need be. In the state of Virginia, premises liability laws and regulations are different depending on the status of the property (public or private) and the nature of the accident itself. Some cases may not be immediately obvious as a case that is a reasonable premises liability case. An experiences premises liability lawyer can help determine if you have a case. They also have vast knowledge of the damages that can be collected and how to go about proving the damages in question. A premises liability accident attorney will help the injured parties get the maximum compensation from the responsible party, insurance, etc. Guidance from an experienced lawyer could mean the difference between partial and complete compensation that the injured party might be entitled to. In the case of a fatality, an honest and aggressive premises liability lawyer can help the surviving family to file a wrongful death claim on the behalf of the deceased accident victim.
Having a professional like Attorney Ed Booth by your side can help to ease the stress and duress one may experience after a premises liability accident. The Booth Law Firm provides due diligence, care and great consideration for all of their clients, in the utmost respectful manner. Call (757) 304-8424 today!
Ed Booth: Virginia Premies Liability Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident or by the neglect of someone else, Ed Booth will handle all aspects of your injury claim so that you can focus on your recovery. From the insurance company to the claims adjuster to filing the suit, attorney Booth will alleviate the stress and burden that comes with the premises liability accident injury case. Having an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side will also ensure that you get the maximum compensation for your injury. Call (757) 304-8424 today.
With decades of experience handling personal injury cases in Virginia, Ed Booth knows how the insurance companies work and the tactics they use to take advantage of injured victims to minimize compensation for the accident. Get maximum compensation for your injury and contact Ed Booth today for a free consultation to discuss your personal injury case.
Let Ed Booth Help With Your Premises Liability Case
Attorney Ed Booth will give you a free consultation to provide you with an honest evaluation about your case. Working on a contingency fee, all expenses come out of the settlement – you don’t pay, unless you win. As a recognized injury law firm in Virginia with multiple honors and recognitions within the state, Ed Booth will help to guide you through the process and will work to get the maximum compensation you deserve for your premises liability case in the state of Virginia.
Experienced premises liability accident attorney Ed Booth has served injured victims, obtaining settlements ranging from $440,000 to $3.5 million in injury claims.