Virginia Beach Slip and Fall Lawyer
Each year, 24.2 million Americans visit the emergency department for unintentional injuries – including falls. In many cases, these falls are just plain bad luck. But in some situations, a person slips and falls because of another person’s carelessness or negligence.
Slip and fall lawsuits fall into the category of personal injury claims known as premises liability. If you were legally on someone’s property and got hurt due to a dangerous condition that the property owner knew or should have known about, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them. Through this type of claim, you can recover financial compensation for your lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses.
At Poole, Brooke, Plumlee, we are fierce advocates for injury victims in and around Virginia Beach. We work hard to help you get the money that you deserve for your injuries. To learn more, reach out to schedule a free initial consultation with a Virginia Beach slip and fall attorney.
What Is a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
Slip and fall cases are a type of personal injury claim. In essence, you may bring a slip-and-fall lawsuit if you are hurt on someone else’s property due to their negligent (careless), intentional, or reckless conduct. These types of lawsuits can be brought against people who own, lease, occupy, or otherwise control a property.
Slip and fall accidents can be brought whenever you fall and get hurt because of a dangerous or hazardous condition on another person’s property. They may be caused by things such as:
- Torn or loose carpeting
- Broken furniture
- Plumbing leaks
- Loose cables and cords
- Uneven floors (including broken tile)
- Icy or snow-covered sidewalks
- Broken or missing railings
- Failure to rope off construction sites
You may also be able to file a slip and fall lawsuit against a property owner if they fail to warn about a hazardous condition. For example, if your neighbor knows that one of their front stairs is rotting and does not put up a sign or otherwise warn people about it, they could be held responsible in a slip-and-fall lawsuit.
Slip and falls may result in relatively minor injuries, like bruises, scrapes – and perhaps a wounded ego. But they often cause serious injuries, such as broken bones, traumatic brain injury (TBI), or spinal cord injuries. In severe cases, they may even result in death.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall, then you should reach out to a skilled Virginia Beach slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible. These claims can be complicated, so it is important that you seek legal advice. During a free initial consultation, your attorney will listen to your story and advise you of your rights and options for pursuing a claim.
When Can I File a Slip and Fall Claim?
In Virginia, property owners owe a different standard of care based on the reason why a person was on their property. In other words, they owe a greater duty to people who are on their property legally (as opposed to people who enter their property legally). Your ability to file a slip-and-fall lawsuit is based in part on the reason why you were on the property.
You may fall into one of three categories when you enter someone else’s property: invitee, licensee, or trespasser. An invitee is a person who comes onto a premises to do business, such as a customer going into a store. They are owed the highest level of care. Property owners must use reasonable care to maintain the premises, which includes either fixing or warning invitees of all dangerous conditions that are either known or knowable.
A licensee is a person who is essentially a social guest of the property owner, such as a friend who stops by to have coffee with another friend. Property owners owe licensees a slightly lower duty of care: they must warn visitors of any defects that they knew about or should have known about with the exercise of reasonable care.
Finally, trespassers are people who come onto a property illegally. Property owners do not owe trespassers a duty of care. However, they cannot intentionally hurt trespassers unless there is justification for doing so (such as self-defense if a person is trespassing to break into their home and hurt them).
However, there is an important exception to the rule regarding trespassers. If a property owner has something on their property that is dangerous and would be attractive to kids – known as an “attractive nuisance” – then they could be held liable for any injuries if they do not protect children from the attractive nuisance. A swimming pool is a classic example of an attractive nuisance.
In addition to showing that you were lawfully on the property, to file a slip and fall case, you must demonstrate that the property owner either knew or should have known about the hazard and failed to fix it or warn you about it. If the property owner didn’t know about the issue – or couldn’t have reasonably known – about the dangerous condition, then they probably cannot be held liable for the slip and fall injury. For example, if someone spilled something in a grocery store and another customer slipped and fell on it, the store probably cannot be sued for any injuries if the spill had just happened and they had no way to clean it up or put up signs before the other person fell.
These cases can be complex. If you are unsure about whether or not you can file a premises liability lawsuit, reach out to the Virginia Beach slip and fall lawyers at Poole, Brooke, Plumlee to schedule a free consultation about your claim.
Damages in a Virginia Beach Slip and Fall Case
In any personal injury case, you may be entitled to financial compensation for all of your losses. This includes both tangible and intangible losses. In rare cases, you may also be able to seek money to punish a property owner who acted intentionally or recklessly.
Economic damages cover your financial losses. Examples of economic damages include property damage, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, medical bills, and future medical treatment. If your home or car requires modifications to accommodate a disability from the slip and fall, that may also be covered as part of your economic damages.
Non-economic damages pay you for intangible losses, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, scarring, and loss of enjoyment of life. These losses are often harder to prove because you won’t have an invoice or bill to show your amount of pain and suffering, but they are an important part of any slip-and-fall case.
Finally, punitive damages may be awarded in unusual cases where a property owner acted intentionally or recklessly. These damages are meant to penalize a wrongdoer. While punitive damages are rare in slip and fall cases, they are awarded in many types of personal injury claims, such as drunk driving accidents.
Importantly, when you file a slip and fall claim, it will typically be with an insurance company rather than the property owner. People buy homeowner’s, renter’s, and commercial insurance policies for situations like these. Even if you were hurt on a loved one’s property, you can still file a claim against their insurance to get the money that you need for your injuries.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
Slip and fall accidents may be common, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t lead to serious, life-changing injuries. If you have been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident, you don’t have to go through the process of getting financial compensation on your own. We will stand by your side throughout the process.
From our law offices in Virginia Beach, Poole, Brooke, Plumlee works with clients throughout Virginia who have been hurt in slip and falls and other types of accidents. We will collaborate with you to help you get maximum compensation for your losses. To learn more or to schedule a free initial consultation with a Virginia Beach slip and fall lawyer, give us a call at 757-499-1841 or fill out our online contact form.
How Long Do I Have to File a Slip and Fall Claim?
In Virginia, the statute of limitations for slip and fall cases is 2 years. With a few exceptions, this means that you have 2 years from the date of your fall to file a claim. If you don’t file a lawsuit within this time, then you will likely be barred from doing so.
2 years may seem like a lot of time, but it can go by quickly when you’re dealing with doctor’s appointments and other issues. Your best option is to reach out to an experienced Virginia Beach slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible. Call Poole, Brooke, Plumlee to schedule a free consultation.
Will My Slip and Fall Case Go to Trial?
Probably not. The majority of personal injury cases – including slip and falls – are resolved outside of court. That being said, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit and take your case to trial in order to get maximum compensation for your injuries.
Insurance companies are more likely to offer a fair settlement when you are represented by a skilled attorney. If you have been hurt in a fall, don’t hesitate to call. Reach out to Poole, Brooke, Plumlee today to talk to a Virginia Beach slip and fall attorney.