Immediately after suffering an injury on a business property, your top concern should be your health and wellbeing. Call 911 and leave the scene in an ambulance if you aren’t feeling well. Don’t attempt to drive if you have any concerns about your level-headedness or are at risk of complications from a head injury.
If you’re able to, you should also do the following:
- Answer law enforcement’s questions factually
- Document the scene as best as you can. If you can’t and someone you know is with you, ask them to take photos and videos. Focus on the cause of the injury, such as a wet spot, broken stairs, torn carpeting, etc.
- Notify management of your accident. Some businesses have a clear process and forms you can fill out. If you’ll be doing anything formal, it’s a good idea to meet with an attorney first to ensure you don’t make any mistakes in the process.
- Speak to an attorney. As soon as you feel up to it, you should meet with an attorney. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it’s in your best interest to meet with an attorney to learn things to look out for in the process and key next steps to protect your ability to pursue damages from the at-fault party. Due to Virginia’s contributory negligence laws that prohibit victims from pursuing compensation even if they are only one percent at fault for the accident, you have to be extra vigilant in how you handle the claim.
Common Business Property Negligence Types
Knowing the types of hazards you might face while on business property can keep you alert and aware to avoid the accident in the first place. Here are some common types of business property hazards.
Businesses must do all that they can to protect their patrons from potential hazards, including thieves or individuals with poor intentions. Security requirements depend on the type of business and the hours of operation. But some examples of required security measures include:
- Security cameras
- Good lighting both inside and outside
- Locks on doors or restrictions on entering the building
While a business can’t always prepare for anything, it must do what it can to protect its patrons no matter the weather. Some examples of weather-related hazards include:
- Snow and ice on parking lots or walkways
- Leaks during rainstorms that are not dealt with in an appropriate amount of time or have the necessary signage to alert patrons
- Flooded walkways or parking lots due to poor gutter or drainage systems
General Property Maintenance
Businesses also have a responsibility to maintain their property to prevent hazards and accidents. Some examples of general property maintenance include:
- Ensuring a safe building structure
- Maintaining stairs to avoid wood rot or other integrity issues
- Avoiding leaking equipment
- Ensuring property drainage
- Keeping floors clean and clear of hazards
- Roping off unsafe areas while under maintenance or construction
- Maintaining carpeting to avoid tears and lumps
Lack of Signage
No business can foresee the hazards that might be around the corner. However, once they know of a hazard, they have a responsibility to post signage and do all they can to keep customers away from the area. Some examples of lack of signage include:
- Failing to alert visitors of a wet floor
- Leaving construction or maintenance areas open to the public.
- Not alerting visitors to changes in floor surface or elevation when it isn’t apparent.
Why You Need an Attorney for a Business Property Injury
Meeting with an attorney soon after any type of injury will help you protect your ability to pursue damages from the at-fault party and avoid situations where you could be responsible for contributory negligence under Virginia law.
Geoff McDonald & Associates is a team of skilled and trusted personal injury attorneys. Schedule a free consultation now to get to know our team and protect your rights after any type of accident.