Premises Liability: Who is Responsible?
A common misconception is that the occurrence of an injury automatically results in a claim against the premises owner. In fact, Virginia law frequently makes it difficult to recover from a premises owner. Both the common law and more recent adoptions of Virginia case decisions dramatically restrict what injury victims may sue what types of premises owners.
While the final analysis should be left to an attorney experienced in premises liability law, the following areas have, in the past, led to valid personal injury claims:
Injuries at Retail Premises. Retailers, restaurants, convenience stores, etc. have a high duty to assure that their premises are safe and free from debris and slippery spots.
Entertainment Venues and Work Place Violence. The combination of emotions, bad feelings and intoxication can lead to trouble at work and in entertainment venues. Previous blogs have discussed fairs and theme parks and their duty to provide a safe place for their customers. Our Virginia Personal Injury law firm, has, in the past, also focused on acts of extreme violence which sometimes seem unpredictable but can have devastating consequences. Frequently, in the discovery part of litigation (and asking the right questions), counsel can determine that an act of violence was predictable and preventable.
Falling Merchandise. Premises owners have a duty to secure (especially heavy) merchandise. The risk of potentially devastating injuries from falling merchandise have been well-documented in the past.
Homeowner’s Claims. Homeowners have an especially high duty to their guests to make their homes free of dangerous conditions. Even a dangerous pet may violate this rule and impose liability on the owner if the pet causes injury.
Landlord-Tenant Situations. Virginia law limits recovery of a tenant against a landlord, but not in every case. In similar such matters, our firm has found exceptions within the Virginia Residential Landlord Tenant Act, subcontractors or property managers who may be sued for shoddy repairs.
The above scenarios and many others demonstrate that, in the case of serious injury, it is never possible to say that a victim is without rights right after the accident. The circumstances require a close examination of the cause, detailed research and access to public records. Frequently, litigation leads to formal discovery where it is determined that a seemingly random incident was predictable and preventable. In that case, it is quite possible and appropriate for the injury victim to pursue just compensation. Contact our Virginia Beach premises liability lawyer if you have been injured and need to get back on the road to recovery. Click here to see a case study on a recent premises liability case handled by The Jeff Brooke Team.