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Giving a Voice to the Injured

Virginia Premises Liability Lawyers

Helping Accident Victims File Claims Against Negligent Property Owners

A hard-to-see spill, a stairway without a railing, or an improperly secured shelf could cause an accident you have no way of preventing. When dangerous conditions like this cause injury to a property’s visitors, the victims of any such accidents may be able to file a premises liability claim.

Why is it worth considering contacting a lawyer to file a claim? Slip and falls, one of the most common premises accidents, can cause serious injuries such as a broken hip, spinal cord injury, or even brain damage.

Victims may need intense medical care and rehabilitation. They might miss work and be unable to perform other necessary duties. In case of a serious injury, their loved ones are also likely to be affected. The damages faced by a victim and their loved ones can cause financial stress and instability in a time of need.

Anyone facing losses like these should reach out to an experienced premises liability team to learn about their rights and options after an accident. We provide free consultations to accident victims.

Contact The Barrera Law Firm, PLLC 24/7 at (571) 290-2390 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys. With $75 million recovered and over 100 cases taken to trial, our team is ready to serve you.

What Is Premises Liability?

In general, property owners are obligated to protect visitors by warning of dangerous conditions and/or removing them within a reasonable amount of time.

Types of Visitors

However, visitors have a different legal status depending on why they have come to a property.

The different types of visitors are:

  • An invitee is someone whose visit benefits the property owner. For instance, a patron at a restaurant or a shopper at a grocery store would be considered an invitee.
  • A licensee is someone who is visiting the property for their own benefit and with the consent of its owner. This may refer to a social guest or someone who crosses through private property to access a good fishing spot.
  • A trespasser is someone who is neither visiting with the consent of the property owner or for the property owner’s benefit. Someone who sneaks through another’s yard to play a prank on them might be considered a trespasser.

A property owner’s duty to keep a visitor safe is highest for invitees and lowest for trespassers.

Therefore, the way we present your argument depends on why you were visiting the location at which you were injured. This is one of the details our attorneys will ask for when listening to your story so we can start to put together a legal plan for you.

Types of Premises Liability Cases

Slip and falls are perhaps the most common type of premises liability case, but there are many ways in which a property owner’s negligence can result in a serious accident and injury.

Our team can help you with cases including:

  • Building/Safety Code Violations: Property owners are required to comply with building codes and safety regulations to ensure their premises are safe for visitors. Violations of these codes, such as inadequate fire exits, faulty electrical wiring, or lack of proper ventilation, can lead to accidents and injuries.
  • Dog Bites: Owners are responsible for controlling their pets and preventing them from causing harm to others. Dog bites and attacks can result in severe injuries, and owners may be held liable for failing to properly restrain or control their animals.
  • Fires: Property owners have a duty to maintain fire safety measures, such as functioning smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and fire exits. Negligence in fire prevention or failure to address fire hazards can result in devastating fires that cause injuries or fatalities.
  • Inadequate Security: Property owners have a duty to provide adequate security measures to protect visitors from foreseeable criminal acts, such as assaults, robberies, or burglaries. Failure to install proper lighting, surveillance cameras, locks, or security personnel may lead to liability if someone is injured due to inadequate security.
  • Obstruction: Cluttered walkways, debris, or objects left in pathways can create tripping hazards and cause accidents. Property owners are responsible for maintaining clear and safe pathways for visitors to navigate without encountering obstructions.
  • Poor Lighting: Inadequate lighting in parking lots, stairwells, hallways, or other areas of a property can obscure hazards and increase the risk of accidents, such as slips, trips, and falls.
  • Porch Collapse: Property owners are responsible for ensuring the structural integrity of porches, balconies, and decks. Failure to maintain these structures or address structural defects can lead to collapses and serious injuries.
  • Slip & Falls: Slippery surfaces due to spills, wet floors, or icy conditions can cause individuals to slip and fall. Property owners have a duty to promptly clean up spills, provide warning signs, and take measures to prevent slip and fall accidents.
  • Swimming Pool Accidents: Property owners with swimming pools must take appropriate safety measures to prevent accidents, such as installing fences, gates, and pool covers. Failure to do so can result in drowning or other pool-related injuries.
  • Trip & Falls: Tripping hazards, such as uneven sidewalks, loose carpeting, or protruding objects, can cause individuals to trip and fall. Property owners are responsible for identifying and addressing these hazards to prevent accidents.
  • Unsafe Stairways: Defective or poorly maintained stairways, including broken steps, loose handrails, or inadequate lighting, can pose significant risks of falls and injuries.

Do You Need to Prove Intent in a Premises Liability Case?

Premises liability claims don’t have to involve any sort of intent on the property owner’s part. Sometimes dangerous conditions are created through failure to maintain property and address known hazards. However, especially for businesses, it’s their duty to make sure invitees and (to a lesser extent) licensees are not at risk of suffering a preventable injury.

A "dangerous condition" refers to any hazard or unsafe condition on a property that poses an unreasonable risk of harm to visitors or guests. Identifying a dangerous condition is crucial in determining liability because property owners or occupiers have a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition and to warn visitors about any known hazards.

Who is Liable?

In Virginia, premises liability refers to the legal responsibility of property owners or occupiers to ensure that their premises are reasonably safe for visitors or guests. Liability for accidents or injuries that occur on someone's property can fall on various parties depending on the circumstances. Here's a breakdown of who can be held liable for premises liability in Virginia:

  • Property Owners: Property owners have a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. This includes addressing any hazardous conditions, conducting regular inspections, and providing warnings about potential dangers. Owners can be held liable for injuries resulting from negligent maintenance, failure to repair known hazards, or failure to warn visitors about dangers.
  • Tenants or Occupiers: If the property is leased or rented, the tenant or occupier may also bear some responsibility for maintaining safe conditions within their leased space. However, the extent of their liability depends on the terms of the lease agreement and the degree of control they have over the premises.
  • Property Managers: In cases where property management companies are responsible for maintaining the premises, they may also be held liable for injuries resulting from negligent maintenance or failure to address hazards.
  • Contractors and Maintenance Companies: If a third-party contractor or maintenance company was hired to perform work on the property and their actions contribute to an injury, they may be held liable for premises liability if their negligence caused or contributed to the hazardous condition.
  • Government Entities: In some cases, if the property in question is owned or maintained by a government entity (such as a municipal park or government building), that entity may be held liable for injuries resulting from dangerous conditions on the premises. However, special rules and procedures often apply when suing a government entity.

What Damages Are Available in a Premises Liability Claim?

Every personal injury case offers a chance for the plaintiff to request compensation for their damages—or losses—caused by the accident. This money can help you access treatment and support yourself and your loved ones while you recover.

It’s important to consult with an attorney before considering any settlement so you know what a fair offer looks like. Insurers often start by offering an amount that won’t meet all your needs. Therefore, mapping out the consequences of your injury now and into the future can help you decide whether to say yes or to fight for more compensation.

In Virginia, you’re allowed to recover:

  • Medical expenses
  • Cost of future medical care
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

In rare cases, if the negligence that caused your accident is considered “willful and wanton,” you may be able to receive punitive damages as well. These damages are solely to punish the negligent party for its misdeeds.

What Is the Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability Cases in Virginia?

Under Code of Virginia 8.01-243 and 8.01-244, you have two years from the date of injury to file a premises liability claim in court.

If you were injured on someone else’s property and you believe the property owner knew or should have known about the hazard behind your accident, we encourage you to reach out to one of our attorneys. We can help you determine whether you may have a valid claim.

Our Caring Attorneys Are Here to Help You

Dealing with complex medical needs and facing significant changes to your routine is never easy. Our team wants to make sure these challenges don’t get in the way of you making a claim for compensation.

Having someone whose job is purely to fight for you can provide comforting support and security during a difficult period. You’ll also get the benefit of having a skilled and professional team advocating for your rights.

Our attorneys have over 75 years of combined experience helping accident victims maximize their compensation. We’ve dealt with countless insurers and proven time and again that we aren’t afraid to take a case to trial if necessary. If a business or insurer isn’t willing to provide a settlement you’re happy with, we’ll do everything we can to increase the amount you receive.

During the process, we’re available to answer your questions and help you understand why we’re taking certain steps on your behalf. Our team wants you to feel comfortable and confident as you make these big decisions with us by your side.

Call us any time for a free consultation: (571) 290-2390. The Barrera Law Firm, PLLC is located in Virginia, but our skilled attorneys can also represent clients in Maryland and Washington, D.C.

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Why Choose The Barrera Law Firm, PLLC?

  • Over 75 Years of Combined Legal Experience
  • $75 Million in Recoveries for Clients
  • Client-Centered, Hands-On Approach
  • Bilingual Staff & Attorneys
  • Over 100 Cases Taken to Trial
  • Complimentary Case Consultations
  • Available to You 24/7
  • Licensed in Virginia, Maryland, & DC