Premises liability is an area of the law that deals with your safety when on another person’s property. The most common type of claim is a slip and fall. Our experienced slip and fall lawyers are available for free legal advice if you believe you have a case.
In certain cases, a property owner’s failure to keep visitors safe could potentially result in an injured party being able to seek financial compensation from the property owner. Every state’s laws regarding premises liability are different, so it’s best to seek the help of a Morgantown premises liability accident lawyer to find out if you have a case.
West Virginia Premises Liability Law
In 2015, West Virginia changed how it sees premises liability cases. In previous years, the law favored the victim, but with the enactment of a new bill, premises liability accidents are now less likely to be found the fault of the property owner.
The new law says that property owners will not be held responsible for premises liability accidents arising out of dangers that are “open, obvious, reasonably apparent, or as well known to the person injured as they are to the owner or occupant.”
That means if the danger that caused the accident should have been obvious to the victim, they could be assigned contributory negligence. This doesn’t prevent a victim from seeking compensation, but it can reduce the amount of money they get based on their “fault” in the accident. It is only if a danger is not apparent that a victim will be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner for the full amount they deserve.
What Qualifies as a Premises Liability Accident?
Several personal injury accidents can also be premises liability accidents depending on where and how they occur. The reality is that if you are injured on someone else’s property, you may have a valid premises liability claim. Potential premises liability cases can include the following scenarios:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Nursing home injuries
- Swimming pool accidents
- Playground accidents
- Construction site accidents
- Amusement park accidents
- Injuries resulting from elevator/escalator malfunctions
Since it can be difficult to determine whether your accident qualifies as a premises liability accident, it’s always a good idea to consult with a Morgantown premises liability attorney to make sure your rights are protected.
Slip and Fall Accident Statistics
One of the most common types of premises liability accidents are slips and falls. For example, this kind of accident can be caused by almost anything, like a wet floor, an icy sidewalk, or some poorly maintained steps.
The National Floor Safety Institute states that falls are responsible for 8 million emergency room visits every year. That’s 21.3 percent of all emergency room visits in the United States. Below are some additional facts about slip and fall injuries:
- Fractures and broken bones are one of the most common side effects of falls and happen in about 5 percent of all falls.
- Slips and falls are the top cause of workers’ compensation claims and account for 85 percent of all claims. They’re also the top cause of occupational injuries for individuals over the age of 55.
- Flooring is responsible for over 2 million falls per year.
- 50 percent of accidental home deaths start with a fall.
- Around 33 percent of people older than 65 fall each year and half of those people will have fallen before.
- For each decade of life, you become more likely to fall.
- Individuals 75 or older account for 60 percent of all fall-related deaths.
- Falls from a height make up 40 percent of compensable fall cases, whereas falls on the same level account for 60 percent.
Slip and Fall Accident Injuries
Slips and falls can result in anything from minor bruises to life-threatening injuries. As Morgantown slip and fall accident lawyers, we’ve seen victims suffer from:
- Head and neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Scarring and disfiguration
- Cuts, scrapes, and puncture wounds
- Joint, tendon, or ligament injuries
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Burn injuries
- Wrongful death
How Slips and Falls Happen
Slipping and falling is easy to do, even when you’re careful. Slips and falls usually happen because of things like:
- Icy surfaces
- Wet floors
- Improperly maintained structures, stairs, and floors
- Poor lighting
- Uneven sidewalks
These conditions can be present in or on:
- Construction sites
- Nursing homes
- Parking lots
- Entertainment venues
- Private residences
- Rental properties
What To Do After a Slip and Fall
Since slips and falls are premises liability cases, they fall under the West Virginia premises liability laws mentioned above. That means you can be found at fault for your slip and fall if the danger that caused it was obvious or should have been obvious to you. That said, you still may be able to receive compensation for your injuries, but doing so will not be easy. To protect your potential slip and fall claim, you should:
- Take pictures or video the area where the accident occurred. If the accident happened outside, be sure to take pictures of the ground, any nearby obstructions, marks on the ground, or signs. If the accident happened inside, take pictures of the floor, ceiling, and furniture. Make sure to take pictures from different angles, including the angle from which you encountered the hazard.
- Take pictures or video your injuries. Do it on the first day you are injured and every day after until your injuries are healed. Write down the details of your injuries and how they’ve affected your daily life.
- Look around for anyone who may have witnessed your accident and see if they would be willing to testify in court if need be.
- Don’t wash or get rid of the clothes and shoes you were wearing during your slip and fall. These could contain valuable evidence in making your case for compensation.
Why Should I Contact a Morgantown Slip and Fall or Premises Liability Lawyer?
After you’ve been involved in a premises liability accident, you may be contacted by an insurance adjuster representing the property owner who harmed you. They may claim to have your best interests in mind but, in reality, their only goal is to pay you as little as possible. You may also be contacted by the other party’s lawyers.
You don’t need to take on these entities alone. The premises liability lawyers at Colombo Law are here to help, and we have the experience needed to make sure you are treated fairly by the people who hurt you according to what the law allows.
If you or a loved one have been in a premises liability accident but aren’t sure if you have a case, call Colombo Law at 304-906-2815 to schedule a free consultation and find out what your legal options are.