Property owners have a responsibility to keep their premises safe for customers and other visitors. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. One of the most common, and preventable, types of injuries that occur on these properties is a slip and fall. Demanding the compensation you need after an injury requires a dedicated personal injury law firm. Northern Virginia slip and fall victims count on Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP to advocate for them.
Common Causes Of Slip And Fall Injuries
Before you can make a case for holding the negligent property owner responsible, it’s important to understand how the slip and fall occurred. Possible causes include:
- Wet and slippery floors due to rain
- Sidewalks and parking lots that are not cleared of ice or snow
- Spills of liquids and foods
- Floor waxing and mopping
- Torn or loose carpeting
- Broken tiles
- Cracked or uneven sidewalks
- Improperly maintained stairs and walkways
- Insufficient lighting
- Falling debris from a neglected building or construction site
Types Of Damages You May Suffer In A Northern Virginia Slip And Fall Accident
A slip and fall might seem minor. Some victims do not even realize they are injured until days or possibly weeks later. If you’ve slipped and fallen, it is important that you seek medical attention, even if you believe you weren’t hurt. You could be faced with these and related damages:
- Medical bills. A slip and fall victim might suffer spinal cord or head injuries, broken bones, lacerations, and more. These can translate into substantial medical bills for hospitalization, surgery, and other costs.
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy. Many slip and fall victims require physical therapy and rehabilitation before they can recover. Not all victims will fully recover and may suffer long-term disability.
- Lost wages. You could be out of work for an extended period of time while you recover. Future visits to the doctor, your physical therapist, and other medical professionals could also take away time from work and therefore cost you money.
- Lost earning capacity. Any victim could lose the ability to work at the same level of productivity as before their slip and fall. This is especially true for those who rely upon physical labor to earn a living.
- Pain and suffering. This term encompasses an array of mental, psychological, and emotional issues that slip and fall victims typically experience. Quantifying these damages can be challenging, but victims should know that they can be compensated for them.
Who Can Be Held Liable For A Slip And Fall Injury?
Generally speaking, property owners have an obligation to maintain their properties and keep them free of unsafe conditions. If a property owner is aware of a hazardous condition on the property, or should reasonably be aware of it, the danger must be removed or guests must be warned of it.
Our attorneys have experience holding these and other entities accountable for slips and falls:
- Residential property owners. Homeowners and other residential property owners are responsible for keeping their properties reasonably safe. That includes the residence and the property on which it sits. When a social guest or other visitor gets hurt, typically the owner’s insurance company is responsible for paying damages.
- Business owners. The owner of a business must ensure that customers and other guests are not exposed to unreasonable risks. This means, for example, promptly cleaning up a spill or at least warning people of the danger and blocking off the area until it can be cleaned. However, it is not always clear who owns the business. The attorney’s job is to determine the identity of the business owners so they or their premises liability insurer can be made to compensate the victim.
- Commercial property owners. A business might be renting or leasing space from a commercial property owner. This is an example in which the business and the commercial property owner could both be held responsible for the victim’s injuries, depending on the circumstances. Although these two parties might blame one another, your attorney’s job will be to uncover who is liable.
- Government. Slip and fall injuries can happen on public sidewalks or government properties. Different rules apply to claims made against the government, so be sure to speak with an attorney right away if you believe a governmental entity is responsible.
Why You Should Retain A Northern Virginia Slip And Fall Accident Attorney
After a slip and fall accident, victims are often contacted by the property owner’s insurance company. A claims adjuster or representative may start asking you questions or ask you to give a recorded statement. This is a major red flag because insurance companies are trained to trick victims into “admitting” things that can damage their case. Also, if the company makes you a settlement offer, there’s a good chance it won’t be enough to fairly compensate you. Let a knowledgeable attorney handle negotiations and communications with the insurer.
Virginia is one of a handful of states that follows what is known as contributory negligence rules. This means that if the defendant can prove that you, the plaintiff, are even 1% responsible for the accident (for example, by not using greater care to avoid the slip and fall hazard), you might not be able to recover anything. Property owners, insurers, and defendants’ attorneys are well-aware of this rule and will attempt to use it against you if possible. That’s where having an attorney can prove critical.
Contact Our Northern Virginia Slip And Fall Injury Attorney Today
When you retain our law firm, you have a committed and zealous advocate who represents you from start to finish. We will get to work immediately and investigate the accident, acquire the evidence needed to build a case, and negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, we are prepared to take your case to court. Give Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP a call today to get started.