Premises Liability – civil liability for injuries from dangerous conditions on property
How do I know if I have a case worth pursuing?
In most jurisdictions, including Virginia, a Plaintiff pursuing a claim will need to establish that the injured person was an invitee of the property and was injured because of some defect or dangerous condition on the property.
There are various conditions that can give rise to liability for business owners. Dangerous walkways, slippery floors or unsecured merchandise can cause serious injury. Businesses should always clearly mark such areas and warn of recently cleaned floors or rain/snow accumulation.
To prevail on a slip and fall case, many states require proof that the business owner either created the dangerous condition or had notice of it before the event that caused the injury. The classic example is liquid on the supermarket floor. In most cases, to prevail on liability, it will be necessary to prove that the supermarket either created the dangerous condition that caused the liquid to accumulate or failed to clean it up after they learned (or should have learned) of the spill. Dangerous conditions could also include uneven flooring, wet flooring, icy or snow-covered walkways that are not cleared or salted, unsafe store displays, poor lighting, steps or stairs without railing, or merchandise that is improperly placed on shelving and falls off causing injury.
An additional basis for premises liability can include the failure to provide adequate security to protect innocent third parties from criminal attacks. Generally, these types of cases are more difficult to prove, as most states require that a store owner had notice of prior similar criminal activity in the area. It may be necessary to review local police records to determine if there were prior problems with criminal activity in that particular area.