Virginia Slip & Fall Attorneys

Premises Liability Firm with Millions Recovered for Injury Victims

If you’ve recently been injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be wondering about your next steps. Although it can be tough to focus beyond the present while you’re recuperating from an injury, it’s important to take action quickly to preserve your rights.

Slip and fall accidents are among the most prevalent types of injuries to result in premises liability claims. Many different property hazards can lead to slip and fall/trip and fall accidents.

Our Virginia attorneys at Breit Cantor handle these types of cases with competence and a high skill level—the result of years of advocating for injury victims’ rights in and around the Virginia area. With more than 40 years of experience, our firm understands how to fight—and win—these types of complex cases. Our Virginia slip and fall attorneys strive to help you recover the just compensation you are owed for your damages.

Here at Breit Cantor Grana Buckner, we are tough, trial-ready lawyers with a reputation for standing by our clients. We encourage you to get in touch with an attorney from our office immediately if you or a loved one has been hurt in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property—whether the property was private or commercial.

Contact us online or by phone at (855) 212-8200 to schedule a no-cost consultation with our legal team today.

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What is a Slip and Fall Claim?

A slip and fall (or “slip, trip, and fall”) claim is a type of personal injury lawsuit you can file if you’re injured due to a defect on someone else’s property. These claims fall under the umbrella of premises liability. A slip and fall claim generally involves a literal slip and fall (or trip and fall), and can encompass injuries resulting from a broken stair tread, a patch of ice on the sidewalk, or a hidden hole in someone’s yard.

Where Slips and Falls Tend to Happen

Many slip and fall claims begin with a fall on a walkway or in a parking lot.  Slips and falls can also happen inside restaurants, where floors may be greasy or littered with food, or movie theaters or auditoriums where patrons may be walking in the dark. But because a slip and fall claim is based on the injury suffered, not the location of the accident, slip and falls can take place just about anywhere.

  • Accumulated ice, snow, or water
  • Unmarked wet floors or pooled liquids
  • Ripped or torn carpeting
  • Uneven flooring
  • Defective sidewalks
  • Unsafe stairs
  • Lack of handrails/safety rails
  • Improper signage
  • Cluttered floors/walking areas
  • Exposed tree roots
  • Fallen store merchandise

These and other dangerous conditions can all lead to slips, trips, and falls. If the property owner or management has not taken reasonable steps to fix the dangerous condition or to at least warn visitors of the condition, they can be held liable for any resulting injuries.

Determining if You Have a Premises Liability Claim

While truly blameless accidents can and do occur, many slip and falls are the direct or indirect result of property owner negligence. In Virginia, both private and public property owners have a responsibility to keep their premises reasonably safe for guests, visitors, customers, and anyone who is legally on their property. This includes addressing any unsafe conditions in a prompt and timely manner. If a property owner cannot reasonably fix a dangerous condition, he or she must warn visitors of its presence.

In general, to win your premises liability case, you will have to prove:

  • The condition that caused the fall is a legally actionable dangerous condition.  The Virginia Supreme Court has held that some conditions (for example, a crack in sidewalk) may not be significant enough to be actionable even if they cause a fall.
  • The owner of the premises actually knew of the condition, or they should have known of the condition.  In general, this requires showing how long the condition had been on the premises before the fall.

Evidence You’ll Need to Support Your Claim

Some examples of the evidence you can use to boost your claim include:

  • Medical bills
  • Medical records detailing your injury and the issues you’re dealing with as a result
  • Statements or depositions from witnesses
  • Photos of the scene
  • Any records of others who were injured in the same way

In many cases, the defendant will try to escape liability by arguing that your own negligence contributed to your injuries – known as “contributory negligence.”

Contributory negligence is a legal principle that, in Virginia, allows a defendant to avoid premises liability if the plaintiff shares any blame at all for the accident. Although many other states use a comparative negligence standard that apportions damages to the degree of each party’s fault, Virginia’s all-or-nothing contributory negligence framework makes it even more important to seek legal advice as soon as you can.

Some of the allegations that may be levied in a contributory negligence defense include:

  • You weren’t paying attention
  • The condition was open and obvious
  • There were warning signs nearby that you should have seen

You’ll need to thoroughly rebut these defenses (and any others that are raised) to prove that you’re entitled to recover damages.

What Damages are Available in a Slip and Fall Claim?

If you succeed in showing that the defendant’s negligence caused your injuries, you may be able to recover special damages and general damages.

Special damages usually consist of the medical bills you’ve already incurred (or may incur in the future) and any lost wages you’ve incurred (or may incur in the future).

General damages include everything else: bodily injuries, pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, and any disfigurement or deformity from your injury (such as scars).

The amount of awardable damages can vary widely from case to case, and you may need to enlist an expert witness to provide testimony.  For example, quantifying future damages can be tricky, especially if there are factors that make your case unusual. If your slip-and-fall injury caused memory loss or intellectual disability, you may have to retrain for an entirely new career. You’ll need an expert opinion to calculate the difference between your projected future income at your former job and what you may earn at a new job.

Statute of Limitations for a Slip & Fall Claim

Virginia’s statute of limitations for slip and fall accidents—or the amount of time you have to file a claim—is only two years. If you wait more than two years to file a slip and fall lawsuit, your case could be thrown out as untimely.  Many times it is difficult to tell who the premises owner is, and it takes time to investigate the correct corporate entity to name as a defendant – if you name the wrong corporate entity, the case will be thrown out of court even if you filed it within the two year statute of limitations.  Waiting until the last minute to hire an attorney could doom your claim.

What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident

There are a few crucial steps everyone should take immediately after a slip and fall accident.

Seek Medical Attention

First, and most importantly, seek medical attention. Not all slip and fall injuries are immediately apparent, so don’t feel as though you’re unable to seek medical care just because it’s been a few days (or even weeks) since the accident. And documenting your medical needs and treatment as early as you can will come in handy later when you’re seeking special damages.

Report the Accident

You’ll want to report the accident to the property owner. Usually this is done at the premises soon after the accident.  If not, it is important that you notify the owner as soon as you can.  If a written report is generated after your accident, ask for a copy.  The owner is under no obligation to give you a copy, but sometimes they will.

Document Everything

Throughout the process, remember one thing—document, document, document. The more data you can gather shortly after the accident, the easier it will be to put your case together later. 

Write down what you remember about the accident in as much detail as you can. Get the names, phone numbers, and email addresses of anyone who might be a witness. 

Take a video or a picture of the scene of the accident. Was your fall caused by a pothole, missing railing, slippery sidewalk, or unmarked wet floor? Perhaps rainwater, ice, or a plumbing leak caused you to slip. Maybe there was a spill that hadn’t been cleaned up. Document the hazardous property condition that caused your fall—whatever it may have been.

Don’t throw away anything that was involved in the accident, especially your clothes and shoes. The defendant may try to argue that you were contributorily negligent because the shoes you wore were slippery; if you no longer have these shoes when your case goes to trial, it can be tougher to defend against these types of claims.

Consult With Your Lawyer

Consult with an attorney so they can make sure the evidence is retained. Avoid discussing your case too much with others. Be especially prudent when it comes to posting about your accident on social media. Even if your posts are locked down to friends only, it doesn’t take much for one to land in the lap of the defendant’s team.

Also remember, the insurance company and the defendant’s attorneys aren’t on your side—don’t give any statements without having your own lawyer by your side. Insurance companies and personal injury defense attorneys are skilled at getting plaintiffs to concede crucial points, weakening an otherwise valid claim.

Expert Personal Injury Lawyers On Your Side

Slip and fall accidents often result in serious injuries, such as concussions, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and more. The cost of immediate and long-term treatment can be exorbitant, and most victims suffer severe physical pain and emotional distress.

If you believe you were injured on a private or commercial residence because of a hazardous condition on the property, you should consult a Virginia slip and fall lawyer to ask about the potential legal ramifications of your case. The sooner you get in touch with a legal professional, the better the result of your case is likely to be.

Our personal injury firm is experienced in the nuances of premises liability cases, including those involving slip and fall accidents. We are committed to fighting for victims of property owner negligence. Our attorneys have over 300 years of combined legal experience. We work with a team of paralegals and expert investigators to determine the cause of your accident and the full extent of your injuries. While we strive for just settlements, we are not afraid to take your case to trial whenever necessary.

Were you injured as a result of a property owner’s negligence? Contact Breit Cantor Grana Buckner at (855) 212-8200 to learn more about your legal rights and options.

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  • Over 300 years of combined legal experience.
  • Attorneys have been recognized among the most experienced trial lawyers in Virginia and the country.
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  • Leadership roles in the legal community.
  • Secured some of the largest settlements in Virginia history.