Fairfax Premises Liability Lawyers
Helping You Through Slip & Falls and Negligent Security Claims
Whether you are taking a trip to the grocery store, having a meal out, visiting a friend, or attending an event at a large venue, you probably expect to be safe. This is a reasonable expectation – and one that property owners are legally required to uphold.
If you are injured on someone else’s premises, the property owner may have failed their duty of care toward you, which means you may be entitled to compensation. Carroll & Nuttall, PLLC can help you explore your legal options and recover the monetary damages you are entitled to.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a legal concept that falls under personal injury law and applies when you are injured by unsafe or defective conditions on someone else’s property. Like car accident claims and other personal injury cases, premises liability suits involve negligence.
To prove your premises liability case using negligence, you must show that the property owner knew or should have known about the problem on their premises and that they failed to fix it. As with all negligence claims, you must also show that the property owner owed you a duty of care.
What Is the Duty of Care in Premises Liability Cases?
Under the Code of Virginia, all property owners have a duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition. If they fail to do so, they can be liable for any accidents and injuries that result. Violating the duty of care in premises liability cases can take many forms. If a shopkeeper leaves a puddle of water on the floor, for example, they can be held liable if someone trips and falls. Similarly, a concert venue or dance club can be held liable for criminal behavior if they fail to hire security.
Different Duties for Different Types of Visitors
Most of the time, you visit other people’s property as an invitee. Consequently, property owners in Virginia owe invitees the highest duty of care. Invitees are individuals who enter a property pursuant to an invitation. Public places, such as grocery stores and restaurants, invite visitors to shop or dine at their property, which means shoppers and guests are invitees.
When it comes to invitees, property owners must:
- Exercise ordinary care towards all invitees on their premises
- Keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition
- Remove foreign objects or known hazards from their floors
- Warn invitees of unsafe conditions
For licensees, property owners must only warn the licensee of unsafe conditions. In Virginia, a licensee is anyone “who enters property for his own convenience or benefit with the knowledge and consent, express or implied, of the owner.” Social guests are the most common example of invitees in Virginia.
Trespassers are those who “unlawfully enter the land of another.” Because property owners do not invite trespassers onto their property, they do not owe the unwanted visitors any duties except exercising ordinary care. As long as property owners do not intentionally or carelessly injure trespassers, they will not be liable for a trespasser’s injury.
Slip and Fall Accidents
The majority of premises liability claims arise after slip and fall accidents. If you slip, trip, or fall on another’s premises, you may have a claim. Slip and falls can happen at shops, restaurants, wineries and breweries, and even museums, like the Smithsonian National Air and Space museum or George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.
Common causes of slip and fall accidents include:
- Wet and uneven walking surfaces
- Freshly waxed or mopped surfaces
- Trash, spills, or debris on the floor
- Stray cords
- Loose mats and floorboards
- Worn out carpeting
- Unrepaired leaks
- Defective sidewalks
- Broken or damaged stairs or handrails
- Wet leaves
- Snow and ice
- Parking lot potholes
- And more
If you slip and fall due to any of the conditions above, our Fairfax premises liability attorneys can help you recover.
Negligent Security Claims
Although you might think of criminals as the only parties responsible for violent crime, this is not always the case. When the property owner has a relationship to the criminal or the criminal acts are foreseeable, the person in charge of the premises may be partially at fault for a violent incident and any injuries it causes. If a motel employee uses their position to harm a guest, for example, the motel may be responsible for the guest’s injuries and losses because the perpetrator was an employee of the motel and the guest’s injuries could have been prevented if the motel performed a background check or monitored their employee more closely.
Another situation where negligent security may apply is at bars and nightclubs. Because alcohol can cause people to act violently, owners of these venues should be aware of the likelihood of crimes. Similarly, due to the constant stream of mass shootings that plague the American news cycle, venues that host large events should be aware of the potential for a shooting and implement precautions and security measures. If you become the victim of a crime because a property owner failed to take the appropriate precautions, we can help you.
Call Carroll & Nuttall, PLLC Today
When you suffer because of someone else’s negligence, you want attorneys who are compassionate, thorough, and deeply committed. Fortunately, these are all adjectives we would use to describe our legal team at Carroll & Nuttall, PLLC. We are community-driven lawyers with a passion for justice and the experience you need on your side. From the moment we meet, we are dedicated to obtaining the most favorable results on your behalf. The lawyer who oversees your consultation will be with you – every step of the way.