What is the Premise of Premises Liability?
Many lawyers advertise a specialty in “premises liability”, but what exactly is this field of law?
The subject matter itself raises questions. The implication seems to be that because an injury occurred on someone’s premises that there will be liability.
To be sure, some states have more aggressive laws in this area. In the state of Virginia, however, it can be quite difficult to make a recovery for injuries such as a slip and fall incident. To put it bluntly, just because you have fallen on someone’s property does not mean that they are responsible.
Under Virginia law, the relevant issue is that of “negligence.” While the definition of negligence can be difficult to pin down, it has to do with fault and the lack of reasonable care by the responsible party. Therefore, just because you slipped in water on a grocery store floor does not mean the store is responsible for your injuries. Further complications in the “premises liability” law in Virginia include the doctrine of “open and obvious,” which creates an unusual dilemma for plaintiffs: we have to prove a substantial defect in the premises to sustain our burden of proof. On the other hand, however, insurance companies frequently argue that, if the defect was so significant, why didn’t the injury victim see and avoid it?
To be sure, these issues can be overcome. For one thing, not all premises liability cases are slip and falls. People can be injured on premises by falling objects, fights, shootings, poisons and toxins, potholes, and other problems. Even dog bite cases can fall into the category of “premises liability” if the attack occurred on a homeowner’s property.
Since it is such a complicated area of law, a person with questions should seek The Jeff Brooke Team to further understand the complexities of premises liability. We have combined experience with over 50 years of premises liability cases and where the circumstances are right, we enjoy tackling the challenges that come with these cases. Contact The Jeff Brooke Team and let us help you get back on the road to recovery.