Virginia Premises Liability Lawyer

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Virginia Premises Liability Attorney

When someone legally comes onto another’s property, there is a level of responsibility to ensure that it’s a safe environment for others. When the negligence of someone responsible for the property leads to injuries, the costs involved should be covered by that party. Working with a Virginia premises liability lawyer can often be crucial for getting the compensation that you need.

Often, obtaining all the compensation that you deserve can sometimes be a challenge. At Whitlock Law, LLC, our clients can feel confident that an experienced team is working to get them what they’re owed.

What Are Some Common Premises Liability Issues in Virginia?

On a given property, someone usually has the legal responsibility to ensure that the property is safe. Premises liability violations occur when that party has failed to either correct some issue with the property or failed to give sufficient warning or protections regarding dangerous property elements.

There are several different forms of premises liability, but some of the more common examples include:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Trip and fall accidents
  • Negligent security
  • Dog bites
  • Toxic exposure
  • Insufficient maintenance
  • Unsafe building conditions
  • Swimming pool hazards

Who Could Be at Fault in a Virginia Premises Liability Claim?

One of the most important tasks that a Virginia premises liability lawyer has is to investigate the circumstances of your accident. This allows them to understand which party is liable. In some cases, where an injury occurs at a homeowner’s property, the liable party is easy to establish.

However, many premises liability injuries occur on more commercial or business-related properties. Often, there are many different parties involved with these properties who are responsible for different aspects of the management of the property.

Determining the liable party in these cases can often be complex and require a thorough investigation by your Virginia personal injury lawyer. Some of the potentially liable parties include:

  • Property owners
  • Tenants or occupants
  • Property managers
  • Third-party maintenance companies
  • Contractors hired to work on the property

How Is Fault Proven in a Virginia Premises Liability Claim?

Proving fault in a premises liability claim will adhere to the same general process as any personal injury claim. Your lawyer can use evidence and witness testimony from their investigation to support the claims that they are making. To prove fault, though, generally requires demonstrating three components:

  • Duty of Care: Your lawyer must show that it was the defendant who had a responsibility to ensure that the premises were safe for lawful visitors. This can be particularly important in many premises liability cases because there can be several parties involved in the management, maintenance, and care of the property. It must be clear that the defendant was responsible for whatever issue on the property led to the injury.
  • Breach of Duty: Once the responsibility has been established, it must then be shown that the defendant failed to meet this level of responsibility. Just what this breach could be is very specific to the situation. Generally, though, it is some kind of failure to fix a foreseeable issue with the property, such as failing to repair damage or provide sufficient protection. It could also be a failure to properly warn someone of a risk on the premises.
  • Cause of Injury: Lastly, the breach must be shown to have been the direct cause of any injuries that were suffered. Usually, this means first showing that it led to an accident and that accident caused the injuries. For instance, in a slip and fall case, the breach must be shown to have caused the slip and fall, and then the injuries must have been a direct result of the fall.

What Restitution Could Be Awarded in a Virginia Premises Liability Claim?

There must be a direct link between the injuries that were suffered and the restitution that must be paid. Your lawyer’s ability to demonstrate that ink is what establishes liability.

The kinds of costs that are compensated will generally break down into two or three different categories of damages:

Economic Damages

Any costs that have some kind of bill, receipt, or other financial accounting element are compensated through economic damages. For premises liability, this tends to be primarily medical bills, including any doctors’ visits, treatment, physical therapy, or other medical costs.

If the injuries are serious enough to warrant missing work for a period of time, then lost wages are addressed as well. For injuries that will have a longer impact, future medical bills and lost earning capacity are also addressed.

Non-Economic Damages

Not every cost experienced from a premises liability injury has such a clear financial component. Many accidents involve a variety of psychological and emotional costs. Pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment in life can be a product of an injury, and these are often more significant in the case of very severe injuries.

The compensation, though, that is given for these damages is meant to help in an indirect way, easing burdens in other aspects of life.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are possible in premises liability cases but are very rare. They require some kind of ill-intent or other egregious behavior on the part of the defendant, and most premises liability injuries are a product of standard negligence.

How Could Contributory Negligence Impact the Damages Award?

One factor that could impact the damages awarded in a premises liability case is the doctrine of contributory negligence. This is a crucial part of Virginia personal injury cases. This doctrine gives the defendant in these civil claims the opportunity to argue that the plaintiff contributed to their injuries.

Their lawyers will need to show that the plaintiff was negligent in a way that contributed to their injuries.

In many other states, under compensatory negligence laws, if the plaintiff is at fault, their damages are usually reduced proportionately to their share of fault. However, under Virginia contributory negligence rules, being found even 1% at fault could mean not being able to collect damages at all.

This is why it’s so important to work with a lawyer who is experienced in the state, like Whitlock Law, LLC. We understand the complexities of defending against claims of contributory negligence.

What Does a Virginia Premises Liability Lawyer Do?

A Virginia premises liability lawyer can perform a number of vital functions in the process of seeking the restitution that their clients deserve. Often, that process begins with an investigation of the situation. The first fact that we need to establish is the liable party or parties.

This can be especially complex in premises liability cases where commercial property is involved. We also seek to gather evidence that can prove liability on the part of the other parties while defending against any accusations of contributory negligence.

In many cases, a settlement could be a better option for everyone involved. Before filing in court, it’s often sensible to first negotiate and see if an agreement can be reached. We can represent you in these negotiations, which offers some advantages.

Insurance companies will understand the experience that we have in these negotiations and recognize that they can’t get away with lowball offers. They may also recognize the real possibility of the case going to court, and that can often accelerate the process and lead to more serious offers.

However, there will be some occasions when a fair settlement just can’t be reached, and the case will need to go to court. If so, we are always prepared to make the strongest case that we can on your behalf.

We have more than two decades of legal experience, including arguing many cases in court. In particular, our experience with premises liability cases can be beneficial to your claim.

Statute of Limitations in Virginia Premises Liability Claims

The statute of limitations for most premises liability claims will fall under the general statute of limitations for personal liability. This deadline is set at two years, so you must file a claim within two years of the date of the injury.

There are some possible exceptions to that two-year limit, though. For instance, in cases where the injured party is a minor, the window to file could be extended. In other situations, though, such as if the government is the liable party, the deadline for filing could be much shorter.

It’s important to contact us quickly after a premises liability injury so that we can help you understand the deadlines that apply to your situation. Having a lawyer soon after an injury also ensures that there is enough time for an investigation and settlement negotiations.

A Virginia Premises Liability Lawyer Could Help You Get the Restitution That You Deserve

There are very real costs that can come with a premises liability injury. The law says, though, that these costs are the responsibility of the property owner or whoever else is the liable party. In most cases, this will be paid by their insurance providers.

However, it can often take the help of a liability lawyer to encourage the insurance companies to provide the compensation that they should. At Whitlock Law, LLC, we fight for what our clients deserve, either through a settlement negotiation or in court. Contact us to discuss your injuries and how we may be able to help.


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