Slip and fall accidents can cause both physical and emotional suffering, as well as expensive medical bills. If your slip and fall accident was caused by a negligent property owner who knew about a hazardous condition and failed to address it, you may be eligible to take legal action for your injuries and other damages endured.
Hiring an experienced Richmond slip and fall attorney can be an important part of the recovery process. Our lawyers at Geoff McDonald & Associates are prepared to review your situation and discuss your legal options in a free consultation. In nearly 20 years of experience, our firm has recovered more than $400 million in settlements and awards for our clients.
There is no risk or obligation to hire our services after this meeting. Should you have a viable case and decide to move forward with a claim, there are no upfront fees for us to represent you. We only get paid if we first secure compensation on your behalf.
Call anytime, 24 hours a day, at 866-369-9051
How Can I Be Sure I Have a Slip and Fall Case?
Determining liability in a slip and fall case can be difficult and tedious, which is why it can benefit you to hire a qualified attorney from our firm. Generally, a few conditions must be met in order to prove that a property owner is liable in a slip and fall accident:
- The owner of the property or their employers must have caused the dangerous condition that resulted in the accident
- He or she knew about the dangerous condition and/or should have reasonably known about it
- He or she failed to properly handle the dangerous condition to prevent potential harm
Oftentimes, it comes down to whether a reasonable person would have noticed or remedied the condition.
Our legal team would need to consider several factors unique to your situation to determine if you have a viable case, including, but not limited to the following:
- Was the dangerous condition there long enough for the property owner to have noticed it?
- Was there a justifiable reason for the dangerous condition to be on the property?
- Could a barrier or warning sign have prevented you from being injured?
Property owners have a legal responsibility to take certain measures to keep their property safe from harm. However, your legal status on the property at the time of the accident and your injury could impact your claim for compensation. Visitors are typically categorized as follows:
An invitee is someone with permission from the owner to enter the property for a business reason, such as a retail or grocery store customer. Property owners owe invitees the highest duty to exercise reasonable care.
A licensee is someone with permission from the owner to enter the property for a non-business reason, such as a social guest. Property owners have a duty to warn licensees about any potentially dangerous conditions that could be harmful or those that the licensee could discover by chance while on the property.
A trespasser is someone without permission from the owner to enter the property. The only duty property owners generally owe trespassers is not intentionally cause them harm. Although, there could be some exceptions when the trespasser is a child. In these cases, child trespassers may be protected under the law.
If you think you may have a case, our Richmond slip and fall attorneys are ready to answer questions you may have about establishing liability in Virginia slip and fall cases.
Schedule your free consultation today. 866-369-9051
What is the Value of My Case?
The damages someone may be able to recover in a slip and fall case will depend on the particulars of a case. Our legal team is prepared to give you an estimate on the potential value of your claim in a free consultation.
You may be eligible to recover medical expenses you have incurred and will continue to incur in the future. In Virginia, if your medical bills were caused by another person’s negligence, state law requires the other party to pay those bills, although he or she may not be responsible for additional amounts later discovered. This is an example of why it is important to have a lawyer by your side to properly evaluate your damages from the beginning.
Any loss of income that occurred while recuperating from the accident in the hospital or going to and from doctors’ appointments may also be recoverable. Sometimes a slip and fall injury can cause serious injuries that prevent you from returning to work at all. If this happens, you may be able to recover future lost earnings.
When a slip and fall accident causes not just physical, but emotional suffering, you may also be eligible for non-economic damages such as physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life.
Deadline for Filing a Claim in Virginia
Virginia’s statute of limitations to file a claim for most personal injury cases, including slip and falls, is generally two years from the date of the accident. Failure to file before that two-year window could mean losing your right to pursue a legal claim for compensation.
There are very few exceptions in which the deadline may be extended. For instance, if you sustained property damage after the slip and fall accident, perhaps an expensive piece of jewelry was broken, the deadline to file a claim against a negligent property owner may be no later than five years from the date of the accident.
We recommend that you contact a dedicated Richmond slip and fall lawyer from Geoff McDonald & Associates as soon as possible to determine if your deadline for filing has passed.
What To Do After Slipping, Tripping or Falling
If you are involved in a slip and fall incident at a business or on someone else’s premises, you may not be sure what to do in the immediate aftermath. If your incident is caused by the negligence of the property owner, you may be entitled to compensation. Your actions right after a fall can have a huge impact on any future legal action you decide to take. Follow the steps described below to protect yourself and your interests in the event of a slip and fall injury.
A fall, especially if it results in injury, can be disorienting and frightening. Do your best to keep your wits about you, because your actions immediately after a fall are very important. Observe and listen to everything you can. Report the incident to the owner or manager and fill out an incident report if necessary. Make sure to get a copy of this report for your own records if one is completed. Don’t say too much or speculate about the cause of the fall right away.
Take pictures of the place where you fell and the surrounding area. Make sure to get photos of any conditions that may have contributed to your fall such as water, ice, loose carpet, broken fixtures, etc. These conditions may change shortly after your incident. You want to have documentation of exactly what the area looked like when you fell.
Get the names and contact information of any potential witnesses. If anyone saw you fall or observed the condition of the area where you fell, they may be able to corroborate your version of what happened in the event that you file a lawsuit.
Seek medical treatment immediately if you are injured, and make sure to keep any follow-up appointments recommended by your doctor. This creates a tangible record of your injuries and recovery, verified by an expert. Also make sure to take pictures of any visible injuries as soon as possible, such as bruises, cuts, or broken bones.
Don’t Say Too Much
After a slip and fall incident, you may be contacted by representatives from the property owner or insurance adjusters asking for a statement. You should be very careful what you say in these conversations. Any statement you give can be used against you in a future lawsuit. The best course of action is to say as little as possible. Do not downplay your injuries or excuse the owner of fault or negligence.
Contact a Lawyer
Business owners and insurance companies will certainly have lawyers working to protect their interests. You should have an attorney on your side as well. Personal injury lawyers have a lot of experience dealing with insurance companies and business owners and will work hard to protect your interests. If you speak to an attorney before giving any statements to other parties, you protect yourself from being taken advantage of.
Why Should I Hire a Slip and Fall Lawyer?
Hiring a lawyer for a slip and fall case is important for a number of reasons. Although you have the ability and right to represent yourself, it is best to have knowledgeable legal representation. These cases often become complex. Hiring an attorney can provide you with an experienced lawyer who knows the best approach for handling the following types of legal arguments:
- The area of the property you were in is off limits to visitors or where visitors are not typically expected to be
- You failed to wear the proper footwear while on the property
- You were distracted while walking, such as using your cell phone
- The hazardous condition should have been obvious to you
Under Virginia’s contributory negligence rule, if you share any amount of blame for the slip and fall accident, you will not be able to recover compensation for your injury from the negligent property owner.
If we represent you, our legal team is prepared to build a strong case on your behalf. This includes investigating the accident and gathering evidence such as photos, medical records and witness statements. Building a strong legal argument can help to establish that the property owner’s negligence was the sole cause of your slip and fall.
Let us handle the legal process to help negotiate a fair settlement while you focus on your recovery.