Premises Liability Lawyers in Richmond and Virginia Beach

If You Were You Injured Due to Unsafe Conditions on Someone’s Property, Our Virginia Premises Liability Attorneys Can Help You Move Forward

When you sustain an injury as a result of unsafe conditions on someone’s property, be it private, public, or commercial,  the sudden and unpredictable impacts can be life-changing. Our Virginia Beach and Richmond premises lawyers understand the injuries that result from premises liability are not just physical. They can impact your career, family, and future. That’s why our attorneys work with premises liability cases across Virginia to help our clients get the justice and compensation they deserve. 

Premises liability law is complex. To win a case requires in-depth research and knowledge of the law. We combine our extensive experience with personal injury law and access to highly qualified resources in order to deliver a verdict that will help our clients move forward. 

We are prepared to serve as your compassionate counsel and aggressive advocate throughout the legal process. If you or a loved one were injured or killed on someone else’s property, you should contact one of our Virginia Beach or Richmond premises liability lawyers for a free consultation regarding your case and your potential rights.

Call us today at (855) 936-1747 or contact us online to request a free and confidential premises liability consultation.

Contents


What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability law protects those injured on commercial property, public property, or on other peoples’ properties

A property owner is responsible for maintaining a safe environment on their property. When they do not, the owner is accountable for any accidents or injuries that occur as a result. This responsibility of a property owner is referred to as “premises liability.” 

Premises liability law protects those who enter the property. When a person sustains an injury on a property they do not own, whether that’s private, public, or commercial, they are protected under this law. That protection entitles them to compensation for their injuries and other damages. 

For example, if a box falls from a shelf onto a customer because a store owner failed to address a hazardous condition, the resulting injuries can be catastrophic. An injury victim may be able to sue the store owner on the basis of violating premises liability law. 

While the theory of premises liability law is simple, the cases that ensue are always complex. Understanding the nuance and legal details of such cases in Virginia requires a knowledgeable and experienced premises liability attorney. 

Types of Premises Liability Cases We Handle

Our personal injury law firm handles a broad range of premises liability cases in Virginia, including those involving:

Slip & Fall Accidents 

Slip and fall accidents are among the most common premises liability claims in Virginia. These accidents often occur in retail establishments as the result of negligence, like an uncleaned spill.

Under Virginia law, property owners have a duty to inspect their properties for obvious defects. If they find such a defect, they are required to either fix it or warn guests of the dangers posed by it. If they fail to act in accordance with this responsibility, it can result in serious injuries to guests lawfully on their property. 

Some examples of slip and fall hazards include:

  • Unmarked wet floors
  • Missing railings
  • Icy sidewalks
  • Broken steps
  • Cluttered floors or walking areas
  • Uneven flooring
  • Improper signage

Negligent Security

Many businesses, like malls, retail stores, office buildings, hotels, and apartment buildings, should have security to protect those who visit the property. When security guards are negligent or when the property lacks security altogether, it can have dangerous effects on guests. 

A lack of security can result in serious harm to visitors, including theft, assault, or sexual assault. These injuries can in turn result in devastating injuries and long-term psychological effects for victims.

A property owner may fail to keep his or her property reasonably safe by failing to enact reasonable security measures, such as:

  • Hiring one or multiple security guards
  • Installing security cameras on the property
  • Equipping the property with an alarm system
  • Keeping the property well-lit at nighttime
  • Posting caution signs warning guests of potential dangers
  • Erecting a security fence around the property

A property owner may be liable if they fail to ensure a reasonable level of safety and security on his or her property and a guest is robbed, assaulted, or otherwise harmed. Additionally, if a hired security guard is negligent—for example, looking at his phone or asleep on the job—the property owner and/or the security guard may be partially responsible for any incidents or injuries that occur.

Retailer & Business Claims 

While we expect to feel safe in private residences or on private land, we also hold this same standard to commercial properties. Owners of retail establishments and commercial properties are obligated to maintain a safe environment for their guests. 

With large properties and a range of hazards, however, these commercial properties often pose unknown risks to visitors. For example, a retail store may endanger guests with sharp objects, such as metal fixtures, or overheated objects. Large shelving units, boxes, and carts are all potentially dangerous when they are not properly maintained by the property’s owner. 

These accidents can occur at a variety of different commercial properties, including:

  • Amusement parks
  • Hospitals
  • Hotels / motels / bed & breakfasts
  • Nursing homes
  • Restaurants
  • Boutiques
  • Schools
  • Office buildings
  • Veterinary offices
  • Medical offices
  • Spas
  • Salons
  • Health clubs/gyms
  • Factories/industrial buildings
  • Retail stores

Other Premises Liability Cases

Accidents and injuries can occur at any variety of properties as a result of many different kinds of oversight or negligence. Premises liability cases can include: 

  • Snow and ice accidents
  • Porch or stair collapses
  • Ceiling collapse
  • Elevator and escalator accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Amusement park accidents
  • Hotel accidents 
  • Fires
  • Water leaks or flooding
  • Toxic fumes or chemicals
  • Fire safety and building code violations
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Rental property injuries 

Determining Liability for Premises Liability Cases in Virginia

As with most personal injury cases, determining liability in a premises liability case requires you to prove four elements of your case:

  1. The property owner was obligated to maintain a safe property;
  2. The property owner failed in this obligation and breached their legal duty;
  3. This failure resulted in your injury;
  4. Other damages, such as lost wages or emotional distress, are the result of your injury.

Duty of Care

The property owner’s duty of care is the foundation of every premises liability case. A property owner has some responsibility to care for and maintain the safe conditions of their property. Doing so ensures visitors are not injured. This responsibility is known as the property owner’s duty of care.

A property owner’s standard of care is the standard to which they must maintain their property. When property owners do not maintain this standard of care, it is negligence.

Reasonable care is the action a property owner takes in order to uphold the standard of care. These are actions people can expect property owners to reasonably take in order to protect invitees or licensees on their property. 

Breach of Duty

When property owners fail to maintain a safe environment or warn guests of any dangers, or breach their duty, they are legally responsible for the repercussions. 

The duty of the property owner depends on the kind of property, like commercial or private. The duty is also dependent on the type of person who enters the property (see Why and How You Entered the Property below). Almost all property owners have some level of duty in maintaining the safety of their property. This duty must be proven in court. 

During a premises liability case, a lawyer needs to prove that the property owner breached—or failed—their duty to the visitor. This could mean they were aware of a danger on the property and chose not to fix it. A breach could also occur when the property owner did not warn the guest about the danger. 

Causation & Damages

Once a premises liability attorney establishes the property owner’s breach of duty, they must next prove that it led to their client’s injuries. In order to prove causation without a doubt, the lawyer may bring in witnesses or expert analysts to attest to the cause of the injury. 

In order to receive damages, the lawyer must also establish that the injury resulted in losses for their client. For example, you may be due compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. But first, your attorney needs to prove that these damages were the result of your injury, and your injury was the result of the property owner’s negligence or carelessness. 

Why and How You Entered the Property: Invitees, Licensees, & Trespassers

A premises liability case also hinges on your reasons for entering the property. Identifying why and how you entered the property in question is an important part of establishing liability for your injuries. You likely fall into one of three categories:

Invitees 

If you are invited into someone else’s house or private commercial space, you are considered an invitee. Most customers of businesses are invitees because there is an implied invitation from the business to the customer for them to enter the store and shop.

The premises owner owes a duty of reasonable care to an invitee. This means that they must address or warn invitees of dangerous conditions. Invitees can include sports spectators, hotel guests, retail shoppers, and residents of an apartment complex. 

Licensees

Licensees are people who enter a private or commercial property with permission. They are different from invitees in that they are usually on-site for their own benefit or pleasure. As with invitees, property owners have a legal responsibility to fix or warn licensees about dangerous conditions. 

House guests are sometimes considered licensees, especially if they arrive unannounced. Other examples of licensees might include a postal worker dropping off mail or a missionary delivering religious materials.

Trespassers

Anyone who unlawfully enters a property without permission is considered to be trespassing. Property owners are not legally required to keep their premises in a safe condition for trespassers. An owner only has to avoid willfully or intentionally causing injury to the trespasser. 

Therefore, if you are identified as a trespasser, you will not be owed any compensation if you are injured by unsafe conditions. However, owners can not willfully endanger trespassers with hazards or traps. If they do so, trespassers may be entitled to compensation. 

Examples of trespassers may include anyone who breaks into a house, hops a fence to get across a yard, or returns to a premises without permission after being asked to leave.

Contributory Negligence

In Virginia, the concept of “contributory negligence” is applied to premises liability cases. Contributory negligence is the concept that other parties—including the plaintiff—may have contributed to the accident or injury. Unfortunately, if you are found even minimally responsible for the injury, you are not entitled to compensation. 

Many defendants, especially large businesses with big legal teams, will use contributory negligence against you. They’ll try to place some of the responsibility for your accident on your shoulders in order to avoid paying you the compensation you deserve. 

Building a Premises Liability Case in Virginia

Premises liability cases are complex and involve different standards of care, definitions of guests, and legal qualifications. In order to navigate such a complicated case, you need the assistance of an experienced premises liability lawyer like those at Breit Cantor.


Together, we’ll build a case that proves the negligence of the property owner and provides you with the compensation you need to move forward with your life. Doing so begins from the moment of your accident. 

1. Gather evidence. 

The scene where you sustained your injury will likely change very quickly. That’s why it’s integral for you to gather as much evidence as possible, as soon as possible. 

2. Contact a Virginia premises liability attorney.  

Because the scene of your accident is likely to change so quickly, it’s important to contact a Virginia premises liability law firm quickly. Once retained, our attorneys can make official requests for the preservation of evidence that might be vital to proving your case.

3. Analyze evidence and interview witnesses. 

Our Richmond and Virginia Beach premises liability lawyers will identify and interview witnesses who can attest to the events of your injury. We will also recruit experts from our field who can study your injury and identify its cause. 

We will revisit the site of your injury. There, we will gather evidence, like photos, to strengthen your case. Our premises liability attorneys will also bring experts to the site, such as engineers and other specialists, to support their testimony. These experts may also identify any code violations or potential dangers that could contribute to your case. 

4. Present your case. 

Using this expert analysis, witness testimony, and your own experience, our premises liability attorneys will present your case. By gathering this information as quickly as possible after your accident, we’ll build a strong case. 

Breit Cantor has achieved great results for our clients in premises liability cases including a client who was awarded $20 million. What’s more important, we’ve helped these clients get their lives back on track after they were derailed by the negligence of a property owner. We’re ready to do the same for you. 

Premises Liability Statute of Limitations 

According to Virginia Code § 8.01-243, you must file a premises liability claim within two years of the date of the accident. It can take extensive time to gather evidence and witnesses, so you don’t have any time to waste. Contact Breit Cantor today for a consultation regarding your premises liability case.

Damages You Can Receive

Damages incurred in premises liability cases can be extensive. If you have been injured on another person’s property, you are likely experiencing a great deal of pain and discomfort. Your life has been turned upside down, and you deserve to be compensated for the physical, mental, and emotional repercussions of your accident. 

You may be experiencing financial damage in the form of:

  • Medical expenses
  • Hospital bills
  • Costly treatments
  • Lost wages due to time off from work
  • Emotional distress

If your injuries prevent you from returning to work temporarily or permanently, you may be entitled to compensation for reduced or lost earning ability.


Choosing a Premises Liability Attorney in Richmond & Virginia Beach

When you sustain an injury due to a property owner’s negligence, your life changes in an instant. In order to secure the best possible outcome in your premises liability case, you should seek the assistance of an experienced premises liability attorney like those at Breit Cantor. 

Serving the area since 1979, our Virginia premises liability lawyers are among the best in Virginia. Partner Scott Bucci, for example, is a former defense attorney for Walmart. This rare level of “insider” experience gives our entire team a unique advantage and edge when it comes to taking on cases against major retailers. We have dealt with big brands, such as Target, Costco, Big Lots, Lowe’s, and The Home Depot, as well as major grocery chains.

Our attorneys are proud to offer a free consultation to every individual injured by premises liability-related accidents. We focus on our clients, limiting our caseload so we can provide the utmost focus and dedication to each and every case. When you choose Breit Cantor, you choose a team that’s devoted to your legal case as well as your personal recovery.


Call us at (855) 212-8200 today for a free consultation at our Virginia Beach or Richmond office.

Virginia Premises Liability FAQs

What is the difference between premises liability and personal liability?

Premises liability refers to an injury or accident that occurs on another person’s property. Personal liability refers to a personal fault. It occurs when a person or company is directly responsible for an injury.

Can you sue for premises liability?

Yes, you can file a legal claim for premises liability if you sustained an injury on another person’s property. This allows you to seek compensation for any injuries and damages you received as a result of their negligence.

Who is responsible for an injury in a premises liability case?

In a premises liability case, the property owner is responsible for maintaining their property in order to prevent injury to guests. When property owners fail to do so, it is considered a breach of duty, and they may be held accountable.

What is premises liability insurance coverage?

Premises liability insurance coverage protects property owners from premises liability claims. If you are injured on a property and file a premises liability case against the property owner, their premises liability insurance may cover the costs of your injury and damages.

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Experience The Breit Cantor Difference

  • Long tradition of success in court.
  • Over 300 years of combined legal experience.
  • Attorneys have been recognized among the most experienced trial lawyers in Virginia and the country.
  • Dedicated to providing our clients with the attention they deserve from start to finish.
  • No recovery, no legal fee!
  • Leadership roles in the legal community.
  • Secured some of the largest settlements in Virginia history.