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“They sent somebody to visit me in the hospital and get my side of the story (totally free). I was assigned Mr. Crawford and told that we had a case. Fast forward about 9 months later and I received literally 14x what the insurance company had offered me. This is after the lawyer and medical fees as well. So basically this was totally free and I barely had to do anything I am so glad I called Marks and Harrison and I will be recommending them to all of my family and friends.”— Robert Smith
Millions of people suffer serious falls each year. Many of these falls result in broken bones, head trauma and other serious consequences. While falls tend to affect older adults, in particular, the reality is that anyone can be injured by unsafe or poorly maintained property conditions. Negligent property owners and managers should not be allowed to get away with allowing hazardous conditions on their property to harm others.
If you recently suffered a slip and fall injury in Charlottesville, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. At Marks & Harrison, we have aggressively protected the rights of injury victims and their families throughout Virginia for more than 100 years. After a serious or catastrophic fall-related injury, you need a team of skilled legal professionals on your side who have the experience and resources to tackle even the most challenging cases.
Contact us today through our Charlottesville office and learn more about how we can help you after a slip and fall accident. We will provide a free consultation, answer your questions and review all options available to you.
What Is a Slip and Fall Accident?
Slip and fall accidents fall within an area of the law known as premises liability. A premises liability claim arises when a person is injured on someone else’s property due to dangerous conditions. Not all slip and fall injuries will qualify for compensation. They key is whether someone else is responsible for causing the injury. Depending on your relationship to the property owner, the purpose of your presence on the property, and the manner in which you were injured, you may be able to claim compensation for the injury.
Common slip and fall scenarios include:
- A business owner fails to maintain a railing, causing a customer to fall from a height
- A person falls through a concealed hole in a neighbor’s yard
- A balcony gives way due to faulty maintenance
- A business owner uses a slippery chemical to clean floors during busy shopping hours.
If there are hazards on the premises that an owner knows about or reasonably should know about, then the property owner should either address it promptly or, at the very least, warn the public or others who are invited to come on the property. Failure to notify people of a potential hazard can also be a form of negligence under Virginia law.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Many different types of hazards can cause slip and fall accidents in Charlottesville. Some of the most common examples are:
- Uneven surfaces – Property owners must keep their properties in reasonably safe and hazard-free condition. If a surface is uneven enough to cause people to fall, then it could be negligence.
- Rugs and trip hazards – Some businesses use entry mats. Others may use rugs inside the business for decoration purposes. However, rugs and other floor coverings should be properly installed and repaired so as not to create trip hazards.
- Poor lighting – Sometimes, it is not the walking surface that causes the problems. Instead, it is the lack of adequate lighting that leads to injuries. This is especially true in situations where stairs and other unlevel surfaces are left in the dark.
- Broken rails – Handrails are there for a reason. Failing to maintain them or failing to have any handrails in place can also be a cause of falls.
- Slippery surfaces – If a business has a spill, there is a reasonable expectation that the business should take appropriate measures to clean it up and not let it sit for hours. Likewise, certain cleaners can leave the ground slippery and dangerous. They should, at a minimum, put out a “wet floor” sign.
- Holes or obstacles – A hole in the yard or other obstacles can be a problem, especially if they are hidden and not easily noticeable to visitors.
- Weather conditions – Under certain circumstances, property owners and managers have a duty to address snow, ice and slush on their premises in order to prevent slip and falls.
- Poor conditions at health care facilities – Whether it is at a hospital or long-term care nursing home facility, patients and visitors should not suffer falls. In some cases, poor conditions that lead to falls are just the surface of deeper problems at a facility.
Common Premises Liability Injuries
Slip and falls are not minor incidents. They can cause victims to suffer severe injuries such as:
- Back injuries
- Hip fractures
- Ankle and foot injuries
- Torn ligaments
- Head traumas
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage.
Deaths can occur when victims fall from extreme heights, like decks, hotel balconies or cruise ships. When a person dies from a slip and fall injury, their surviving loved ones may have the right to pursue damages under Virginia law.
Is the Premises Owner Liable for Trip and Fall Accidents?
The premises owner is usually responsible for injuries that occur on their property. Virginia law generally requires premises owners to maintain their grounds and warn others of known dangers. However, others can also share in the responsibility. Examples of other negligent parties may include:
- Business owners leasing a building
- Business managers
- Leasing companies that are responsible for maintenance
- Homeowners associations
- Condo associations
- Community maintenance groups
- Mechanics and repair companies
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
By contacting a Charlottesville slip and fall lawyer, you can rest assured that your rights will be protected. At Marks & Harrison, we are committed to helping clients to recover significant compensation for their injuries. Compensation available in a slip and fall case may include:
- Medical expenses – You can claim reimbursement for medical expenses incurred in the past as well as expenses that you will likely incur in the future, from emergency treatment to rehabilitation costs.
- Lost income and earnings – A serious slip and fall injury will usually take a person out of the workforce for a while – maybe even indefinitely. If this happens to you, then you can also claim lost wages as well as your anticipated loss of future earning capacity.
- Out-of-pocket expenses – A life-changing accident can affect your whole family, resulting in a broad range of out-of-pocket expenses. Keep your receipts, and let your attorney know, because these can be claimed as well.
- Psychological injuries – If you suffered from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or other forms of psychological injury due to your slip and fall accident, then you may be able to claim emotional distress damages.
- Pain and suffering – You can also demand compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering that your slip and fall injuries cause you to suffer.
- Punitive damages – These damages are not designed to compensate the victim. Instead, they are used to punish an extremely careless wrongdoer and to deter them from continuing their reckless behavior.
How Can a Slip and Fall Lawyer Help Me?
When you reach out to a Charlottesville premises liability lawyer at Marks & Harrison, we will immediately begin pursuing compensation for you. Our legal team will:
- Listen to you – Every case starts with a free initial consultation, during which your attorney will gather crucial information about your slip and fall and your injuries.
- Gather evidence – Next, we have former insurance and law enforcement investigators on our staff who can gather and analyze helpful evidence that will help us to prepare your case. We also may consult with experts about your slip and fall accident and your injuries.
- Negotiate a settlement – Our attorneys will aggressively use all the leverage we can to pursue a full and fair settlement on your behalf. Our hard work and preparation make a difference in settlement negotiations.
- Take your case to trial – Some cases must be fought to trial. You can take comfort, knowing that you have experienced and talented litigators on your side.
Our Charlottesville Premises Liability Attorneys Can Help You
Generally, you have only two years from the date of your injury to file a slip and fall lawsuit against the property owner or other party responsible for your injuries. If you fail to file your lawsuit on time, you may lose your right to recover compensation. This is why it is so critical that you contact a lawyer right away to discuss your case.
At Marks & Harrison, we will not charge you for a consultation. You can call and speak to a lawyer one-on-one and discuss the facts of your case with zero obligation and no risk. Find out if you have a case and learn about your options today. Contact Marks & Harrison through our Charlottesville office or through any one of our offices conveniently located throughout Virginia.