Frequently Asked Questions About Premises Liability In Virginia
Premises liability is a lesser-known area of personal injury law. Below, you’ll find answers to some common questions that we receive about property injuries. After reading, contact Sethi & Sledd, PLLC with any additional questions you may have.
What is premises liability?
Premises liability is a sub-category of personal injury law. It is based on the idea that property owners owe a duty of care to visitors and guests to ensure that the property is relatively safe and free of hazards. When guests are injured due to a dangerous condition or hazard, the property owner may be held liable for those injuries and other losses.
Do I have to be on a commercial property to have a case?
No, you don’t. Many premises liability claims relate to commercial properties like retailers, malls grocery stores and restaurants. This is because these locations tend to have a high volume of visitors. However, under the right circumstances, the owner of a private residential property may also be held liable for injuries suffered by guests and others who were legally on the premises. Common residential claims include those related to unguarded swimming pools, trees with loose branches or structural damage and dog bites/attacks.
What happens if I am injured on a public sidewalk?
As in all personal injury claims, the details are highly important. For instance, the sidewalks in a residential area may be public, but city ordinances might require homeowners to reasonably maintain the areas of sidewalks in front of their homes. If you slipped on uncleared snow and ice, for example, a particular homeowner could be considered liable.
If you were injured on an area of sidewalk that was owned and maintained by a city or town, you may be able to pursue a premises liability claim against the local government. Be aware that claims against government agencies often have much stricter rules and tighter filing deadlines, so it is important to discuss your options with an attorney without delay.
What are some common premises injuries?
As mentioned above, the most frequent defendants in slip-and-fall claims are commercial property owners. These claims often relate to:
- Slip-and-fall accidents (due to freshly mopped floors, spilled liquids and other hazards)
- Trip-and-fall accidents (due to poorly placed merchandise, uneven flooring, loose carpet, etc.)
- Stairway accidents (due to poor lighting, uneven steps, missing handrails, etc.)
- Fire injuries
- Elevator and escalator accidents
The list above is far from complete. There are perhaps thousands of ways to be injured on dangerous private property.
Were You Injured? Discuss Your Legal Options With Us.
Based in Reston, Sethi & Sledd, PLLC serves clients throughout Virginia and DC. If you were injured on dangerous private property and believe that property owner negligence was a factor, contact us to discuss your case. You can reach out online or call 703-214-9671.