SLIP & FALLS ATTORNEYS IN ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA
Hire a Slip and Fall Lawyer in Alexandria, VA
You have the right to be safe wherever you go. But sometimes, due to the negligence of someone else - person or company, or even a government entity! - there may be a dangerous condition that causes you to slip, trip and/or fall. That fall could be minor, or it could have caused broken bones and cuts, or much more serious injuries. Not all personal injury attorneys handle these types of cases, but the team at Blaszkow Legal is ready, willing, and able to fight hard for the compensation you deserve.
What is a Dangerous Condition?
A dangerous condition is what causes your slip, trip, or fall, and it is not clearly defined by law or statute. For example, while a half-inch height difference in a concrete sidewalk may look dangerous, some Courts (including Virginia) have said that it is not sufficient to create a cause of action* - but a one inch height difference is a dangerous condition that can give rise to a claim.
As with many legal issues, the determination of what the dangerous condition is, is very fact specific. Always contact a slip, trip, and fall attorney to investigate and evaluate your claim.
What Do You Have to Prove for a Slip and Fall Claim?
Very often, slip and fall claims require a Plaintiff (the person bringing the claim) to prove that the business 1) created a dangerous condition or 2) negligently allowed this dangerous condition to remain without taking reasonable steps to prevent injury to others. What the business knew, or should have known, is called notice. Notice is not always easy to prove, however, and the mere fact that an accident happened at a store does not mean the store is liable. Take a look at the following examples:
Example 1: you are waiting in line to get food, and someone spills a soda on the floor. You walk up as it is happening, and slip. Is the store liable? The answer here is no, because they had no notice. A customer created the dangerous condition, and not enough time has passed for the store to mitigate the dangerous condition, such as by mopping up.
However, this same fact pattern, if changed slightly, can result in the store being found to have known.
Example 2: Some one spills a soda on the floor at the food store at 8am. You come in to get food at 1pm and slip, hurting your back. All of the clerks at the register say they never knew something was spilled. However, they have been standing there for five hours, and moving around there area. This argument is called constructive notice: they should have known, or would have known had they exercised reasonable care and diligence.
When Should I Call an Alexandria, Virginia Slip and Fall Attorney?
Immediately! As soon after the fall as humanly possible. This is not an exaggeration, but a necessity. Cases of this nature require aggressive investigation, and the more time that passes, the more evidence can be lost or overwritten, such as camera footage. Top of the line cameras can hold data for over 30 days, while some smaller systems hold that footage only days.
The Alexandria Injury Attorney knows how to investigate these cases, and preserve and protect the evidence that can help us make your case. The sooner you retain a lawyer, the sooner we can begin working hard for you!
What if my Medical Treatment is Not Finished?
You should still call Blaszkow Legal right away. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to prove your claim. Remember: only an attorney is ethically obligated to work for you, while insurance companies work only for their stockholders. They are not on your side, or your good neighbor.
In addition to investigating your case, an experienced attorney will also begin reviewing all of the pertinent medical records that will end up as the evidence to prove your claim. The sooner our staff can order these records and begin the review, the sooner we can give you the best advice, from a legal perspective.
If you have been hurt in a slip, trip and/or fall, call Blaszkow Legal today for a free consultation - 703-879-5910
"Not every defect in a sidewalk, even though it may have caused the injury sued for, is actionable." City of Newport News v Anderson, 216 Va. 791, 223 SE.2d 869 (1976), quoting City of Richmond v. Courtney, supra, 32 Gratt., (73 Va.) at 798; see also City of Richmond v. Rose, supra, 127 Va. at 780, 102 S.E. at 564.
Where do slip and falls happen?
A slip and fall can happen anywhere, whether you are alone or with other people. Slips and falls - including trip and falls - can happen on any surface. Some common locations of slip and falls include:
Parking lots parking garages
Some common causes of premises liability cases
Depending on where you are, and why you are there, there are a wide variety of conditions and situations that can ultimately result in a premises liability claim. Property owners may have some legal liability, and may have committed some Act of negligence in some of these situations:
Poorly maintained railings
Ineffective warning signs
Inadequate Safety and Security measures
Improper inspection of corridors and devices
Poor maintenance of elevators, escalators, and stairs
Improper stacking of merchandise or product
Improperly installed or improperly grounded electrical equipment
Inadequately cleaned or wet floors
Lack of signage
Liability in a Virginia slip and fall case
Virginia law places a duty on property owners, depending on how the person who is upon the property is classified. The law thus created different classifications of people, and the duty that a property owner owes to that person varies based on that classification. Here is what that means:
Invitee. This is someone who comes onto a property because the property owner or operator specifically says "come on over." This can be an individual invitation, such as a homeowner to a friend, or can be an implied invitation such as a store with a sign that says open! The property owner, or the operator, such as in the case of someone leasing a property, has a duty to exercise reasonable care to keep invitees safe.
Licensee. A licensee is someone who enters for his own benefit, rather than that of the property owner's benefit. A property owner has a duty to make sure that a licensee is safe from direct negligent conduct, which is sometimes described as "willful or wanton," and to notify of "hidden dangers."
Trespasser. A trespasser is someone who comes upon a property without permission or any sort of implied right of entry. The only duty that a property owner owes to a trespasser is against deliberate harm, such as setting booby traps and whatnot. The duty of care here is relatively low
Property owner defenses in slip and fall cases
Insurance adjusters and defense lawyers will fight very hard to eliminate or attack your Virginia slip and fall case. Of course, an insurance company does not want to pay you what you deserve! These insurance adjusters and defense attorneys have several common arguments that they use in most situations. They include:
Contributory negligence. Virginia practices the legal doctrine of contributory negligence. This means that if the plaintiff was somehow responsible for the accident, then the plaintiff cannot recover. It doesn't matter if the plaintiff's negligence was 50%, or even 1%, if they can prove contributory negligence, they can defeat the claim.
Arguing different status. The duty of care owed to a person at a property or establishment changes based on who that person is, and the reason that person is there. If they can argue that the injured person is a trespasser, instead of an invitee, they are changing the legal standard that applies.
Claiming lack of notice. The property owners' representatives will invariably claim that they had no notice of the condition or defect. This argument can be defeated, but it takes thorough and competent investigation.
Attacking the injuries. Some insurance companies will accept liability, but then try to tear apart a claimant's damages by saying that injuries are not as bad as claimed, or the injuries that are real were not caused by the fall. You need an experienced attorney to defend against these claims
Call a Virginia Slip and Fall Lawyer Today!
If you have been hurt in a slip and fall that was not your fault, you have rights - and you want someone on your side who is fighting for those rights. The insurance companies have talked to their lawyers, and you don't want to fight with uneven odds! Call Blaszkow Legal today for a free consultation - our team of attorneys, paralegals, and investigators have been holding negligent parties accountable for over 30 years.