When you enter a public space or the home of a friend, you probably expect the location to be safe and comfortable. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Some premises might hold dangerous conditions with the potential to injure you or your loved ones. If you have been injured because of the lack of care exhibited by a property owner in Richmond, you may recover compensation for your injuries. Contact the law firm of Emroch & Kilduff to receive a free case evaluation. Emroch & Kilduff has experience in dealing with slip and fall accidents and many other personal injuries, turn to experience for you recovery.
Emroch & Kilduff Delivers Results
Emroch & Kilduff have been helping clients secure recovery for their injuries in Virginia since 1970. The firm boasts thousands of examples of success, including the following premise liability wins:
A $7.75 million slip and fall settlement where an apartment tenant slipped and fell on a sheet of black ice while walking from the building to his car. He suffered multiple fractures and ongoing complications. Our client received his significant settlement at mediation based on allegations that the apartment owner and property manager failed to treat the area in anticipation of a snowstorm.
A $339,000 settlement when our client injured his knee on an uncovered drain hole at a delivery to a restaurant, an alleged violation of the property maintenance code. Our client suffered from a meniscus tear that required surgery to repair.
The above settlements are representative of past results the team at Emroch & Kilduff have secured for our clients. While similar recovery can’t be guaranteed as each case is unique, our team works closely with our clients to evaluate their case and strategize a plan for maximum recovery.
Dealing With Injuries
If you experienced an accident on another party’s property, you may face a wide range of potential injuries, most often from suffering a slip and fall or some other blow to the body. Common injuries after these types of accidents include:
No matter the nature of your injuries, be sure to seek immediate medical attention. Ensuring you receive the appropriate medical attention is important for your health. Prompt medical care also protects your interest in securing a comprehensive recovery for your damages. Be sure to keep documentation of your medical expenses and treatment.
Violation of a Duty of Care
To recover from a property owner in a premise liability case, you must demonstrate that the property owner violated their duty of care. Under Virginia law, the applicable duty of care will depend on whether you were considered an invitee, licensee, or trespasser on the property.
An invitee is a guest who has received an express or implied invitation to enter the property. A visitor to a shop or other business is generally considered an invitee. A property owner owes a duty of reasonable care to any invitee, including keeping the premises in a reasonably safe condition and advising invitees of any hidden dangers. There is no obligation to warn invitees of obvious dangers, or for protection from criminal acts by third parties.
An individual is considered a licensee if they have the landowner’s permission or consent to enter a property for their own benefit, and not a business purpose. The most obvious example of a licensee is a social guest.
If you were a licensee on the property where your injury occurred, the owner may be responsible for your damages if the owner:
Knew or should have known about the condition that caused injury;
Failed to use reasonable care to fix the condition or warn the guest; and
You didn’t know or have reason to know of the risks.
A trespasser is an individual who enters a property without the right or permission to do so. Generally, no duty of care is owed to trespassers, except for a duty not to intentionally injure the individual. Trespassers take on the risk of injury on the property when they enter without permission.
Two exceptions apply to the landowner’s lack of duty to the trespasser:
If the trespass is frequent and noticeable to the property owner, and the property owner is aware of the potential risks to the trespasser; or
If dangerous instruments, machinery, or other materials are left on a property in a way that is easily accessible to children. The property owner must take precautions to prevent trespassing children from using or encountering dangerous materials.
Premises liability cases can present many complications that significantly affect your ability to recover. The lawyers at Emroch & Kilduff are experienced at working with our clients to locate and evaluate evidence of the other party’s fault.
Richmond Premises Liability FAQ
What is premises liability in Richmond?
Premises liability deals with the rights and responsibilities of property owners and those who enter their premises.
All property owners owe certain duties of care to folks who enter their property. In general, a property should be maintained in a safe condition, especially if the property is open to the general public, such as a store, restaurant, or hotel.
If the owner fails to maintain a property in a safe condition and a visitor suffers injuries or other harm because of it, the property owner has violated their legal duty of care to make the premises safe. The violation is known legally as negligence. Property owners are responsible for paying damage compensation to injury victims if the injuries stem specifically from unsafe conditions on their premises.
The property owner doesn’t have to actually be present to be liable in premises liability cases. Property owners or their designees in places open to the public need to assure a responsible party is present, such as a manager or staff. The property owner or designee has a duty of care to train managers and staff in maintaining safe premises.
Does it matter whether I’m hurt in a public place or at a private home?
Yes. Virginia law applies different standards of care to owners of public and private property, by designating people on these types of premises differently.
Public places - People who enter establishments open for business or services are legally known as invitees. That means that a publicly open establishment explicitly or implicitly invites the public in.
To fulfill their duty of care, public places must maintain the premises and periodically inspect it to ensure safety. If issues that could affect safety arise, they must be quickly addressed. Management must also promptly and transparently inform the public about these issues. They should restrict the public’s access to any unsafe areas, by (for example) putting up safety cones, yellow tape, or signs.
Let’s say you are in a restaurant and a busy waitress trips as she’s delivering a tray of drinks to a table. The liquid and glass fall to the floor. A safety issue emerges: Patrons could slip and fall in the liquid or suffer cuts from the glass. The restaurant manager and staff should immediately take steps to make it clear to patrons where the potentially dangerous area is and to clean it up.
Private property - If a private property owner gives you permission to enter their premises, you are a licensee. Licensees are people either invited socially onto the property, such as attending a birthday party, or people performing work or services, such as plumbers or electricians.
Private property owners have no duty of care to regularly inspect, maintain, and repair their property to ensure visitor safety. However, the property owner needs to keep the premises reasonably safe for invitees, and must warn them of any potential dangers the owner knows about. If a step to the front porch is not visibly in disrepair but wobbles when stepped upon, for instance, the property owner should let invitees know. While the property owner should probably fix such a problem, the law does not require them to fix it as long as they warn invitees.
To prove negligence in a private property premises liability case, you must show that you didn’t know or have any reason to know about the dangerous condition that caused your injuries. In other words, if a wobbly stair caused you to fall, you must demonstrate that it wasn’t clearly and visibly defective and that the owner didn’t warn you about it.
What about trespassers?
Trespassers enter a property without permission. Trespassing can occur if a stranger tries to enter a store when it’s closed or cuts across a neighbor’s lawn.
Trespassers are the third category of visitors under Virginia premises liability law. Property owners do not owe any specific duty of care to trespassers (although they must not intentionally harm them). Under most circumstances, trespassers are responsible for their own injuries.
There are two exceptions, however.
The first exception is frequent and noticeable trespassing, such as neighbors constantly cutting across a corner of a lawn. If this is the case and the property owner knows of a potential risk, they must repair it or warn potential trespassers clearly.
The second exception is that property owners should never leave dangerous instruments, machinery, or other materials that pose potential harm to children on their premises. Children are naturally inquisitive, and the law does not expect young children to always understand what constitutes trespassing or potential dangers.
An empty swimming pool, for example, may look very enticing to a three-year-old. A prudent homeowner must fence or otherwise secure it so children can’t go near, or they may be responsible if a child is injured.
What should I do if I was injured on someone else’s property?
If you were injured on someone else’s premises due to their negligence, consult our experienced premises liability lawyers. Injured parties may seek compensation for:
Medical bills to treat the injuries;
Wages lost from work as a result of the injuries;
Pain and suffering, including emotional distress and loss of enjoyment; and
Personal property damage.
Lawyers can help victims negotiate with insurance companies and responsible parties, compile evidence, investigate the accident, and—if necessary—bring a premises liability lawsuit.
What types of damages can I recover from Premises Liability Accident?
Once you have gathered sufficient evidence to demonstrate the property owner violated the appropriate standard of care, you will need to compile your damages claim. Be sure to consider the following types of damages:
Medical expenses: In addition to medical expenses, be sure to consider long term care and rehabilitation.
Loss of income: Document any income lost from work as well as future career limitations based on your injuries.
Emotional distress: The events and resulting injuries may cause you lasting emotional distress.
Loss of enjoyment: If your injuries limit your ability to participate in activities you previously enjoyed, you may recover for this loss.
Punitive damages: Meant to punish the defendant in cases of particularly egregious behavior, punitive damages in Virginia are capped.
The parties at fault may try to convince you to accept a settlement less than you deserve, or to otherwise limit your rights to recovery. Our attorneys help our clients understand the damages that may be available to them, and to coordinate with any experts required to prove the extent of their damages.
If you or a loved one have been injured due to a property owner’s failure to appropriately maintain their property, you are likely dealing with both the stress of the injuries, as well as your options for financial recovery. The premises liability lawyers at Emroch & Kilduff help their clients navigate the complicated process of a personal injury recovery after an accident on someone else’s property. Contact us today at (804) 358-1568 or at our website to schedule a free consultation.
Emroch & Kilduff
3600 W Broad St #700
Richmond, VA 23230
Phone: (804) 358-1568
Fax: (804) 353-5817
Toll-free: (888) 358-1568
Schedule A Free Case Evaluation
If you have been injured because of someone else s negligence, contact one of our experienced personal injury lawyers for a free consultation. For your convenience, Emroch & Kilduff has two office locations in Virginia: Richmond and Tappahannock.