Slip and fall accidents may occur virtually anywhere. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, it is advisable to obtain a consultation with a West Virginia slip and fall lawyer to review the circumstances of your case. The causes of slip and fall accidents vary greatly and may result from temporary conditions, such as oil that recently spilled on the floor. In other circumstances, slip and fall accidents may result from a permanent condition, such as a defectively built stair or an improperly installed handrail. Owners and management of commercial property are responsible for safely maintained and secured premises. Visitors, shoppers, passers-by and others who legally enter the property of another are owed a duty by the owner of the property. The owner must maintain the premises in a manner that is consistent with specific standards of public safety.
If your slip and fall injury was a result of the negligence of the property owner or manager, you may seek compensation in a slip and fall personal injury claim. The Charleston, WV injury lawyers at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC represent clients who have been injured in slip and fall accidents throughout the state.
Slip and Fall Accident Resources
- West Virginia Premises Liability
- Common Causes of Slips and Falls
- Injuries Resulting From Slips and Falls
- Damages in a West Virginia Slip and Fall Accident
- What to do After a Slip and Fall Accident in West Virginia
- How a West Virginia Slip and Fall Accident Attorney Can Help
- Contact a West Virginia Slip and Fall Attorney
What is West Virginia Premises Liability?
Whether you are at work, a place of business, public property, or a private residence, the person responsible for the property owes you a duty of care. Under West Virginia law, when negligent property maintenance leads to a slip and fall injury, the property owner may be responsible for resulting injuries and damages. However, this does not mean that every person who experiences a slip and fall on someone else’s property is entitled to compensation for their losses. To prove a premises liability claim, you must provide evidence that satisfies the following legal elements:
- The person responsible for the property owed you a duty of care. In general, property owners and managers have a duty to keep their property free of dangerous conditions. They also have a duty to remediate and warn visitors about dangerous conditions that they know about or should know about. Accordingly, property owners cannot escape liability by claiming that they did not know about a dangerous condition if it was reasonably discoverable, and they should have known about it.
- The owner breached their duty of care. Arguably, the most important element to satisfy in a slip and fall case is that the property owner or manager breached their duty of care. To prove breach of duty, you need to show that the defendant was negligent in failing to discover the condition, failing to adequately remediate the condition, or failing to provide an adequate warning of the dangerous condition to guests and visitors.
- You were injured in the slip and fall accident. To succeed in a property negligence claim, you must be able to show that you sustained injuries and damages due to the slip and fall. Injury evidence often includes photographs, medical records, and medical expenses, such as hospital bills and pharmaceutical costs.
- The defendant’s negligence caused the slip and fall accident. It is not enough to show that you fell on someone else’s property and sustained injuries. To prove a slip and fall case, you must provide evidence that, but for the defendant’s negligence, you would not have fallen on the defendant’s property.
Common Causes of Slips and Falls
While slip and fall accidents can occur in virtually limitless scenarios, some are more common than others. The most common causes of slip, trip, and fall accidents include:
- Wet or slippery floors. This might be due to spilled substances or even recent waxing.
- Broken or uneven areas in the flooring, such as torn carpets, cracks, or sudden dips in the floor level.
- Stairs, specifically broken handrails, uneven steps, or poorly lighted stairwells.
- Exposed cables.
- Cracks or uneven areas in the sidewalk.
- Negligently tended outdoor areas (i.e. slip and falls resulting from snow and ice).
- Escalator injuries (i.e. clothing being caught in cracks between steps).
If a property owner is negligent in maintaining these areas in a proper manner, an injured victim may hire a qualified West Virginia slip and fall attorney and seek compensation in a slip and fall action.
Uneven Floor Surface Accidents
The owners of commercial establishments and private residential properties have a duty to maintain the environment in a safe manner. Floors must be free from dangerous elements that can cause accidents, including:
- Improperly constructed
- Ignored and not properly maintained
- The floor is no longer level
- Roots or other growth under sidewalk, patios, walkways, and other areas causing uneven surfaces
- Cracks in pavement and floors causing uneven surfaces
Injuries Resulting From Slips & Falls
Injuries from slips, trips, and falls may be extremely serious. They include the following:
- Broken hips
- Broken bones, including arms, wrists, elbows, legs, ankles
- Broken or damaged ribs
- Knee damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Traumatic head injuries
- Back injuries
- Facial injuries, including broken nose, jaw, cheekbone
What Damages Are Available in a West Virginia Slip and Fall Accident?
The law allows victims of slip and fall accidents to collect certain damages. There are two broad types of damages:
- Economic, or special damages, provide compensation for the material losses associated with an injury. These include, but are not limited to, medical bills, lost wages, and ongoing rehabilitation costs.
- General damages give the victim recompense for the intangible losses of an accident.Examples include pain, suffering, emotional distress, and any persistent loss in life quality.
If you suffered losses in a slip and fall accident, you may be eligible to collect compensation. A personal injury settlement will help you pay for your medical bills and other expenses, so you can get back on your feet sooner. It is essential to contact an experienced West Virginia slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible.
What To Do After a Slip and Fall Accident in West Virginia?
What you do following your slip and fall accident in West Virginia can affect the success of your claim. Take the following actions as soon as possible:
- Report the incident. If you slipped in a public building, ask to speak to the building’s supervisor. File an incident report if possible, as this could be valuable evidence later.
- Take pictures. If a hazard is responsible for your injuries, it’s best to take pictures in the moment, before the party responsible for your injuries can remove the evidence. For example, if you slip and fall in a puddle in the grocery store, you’ll want to take pictures of the water before an employee can mop it up.
- Seek medical attention. Taking care of your injuries promptly will help you strengthen the veracity of your claim.
- Get an attorney’s help. As soon as you’re able, contact a West Virginia slip and fall lawyer to help you build a case and receive compensation for your injuries.
One of the best steps you can take immediately following a slip and fall injury and addressing your medical needs is to speak with a qualified and reputable slip and fall attorney in West Virginia.
How a Slip and Fall Attorney Can Help
Premises liability cases can be difficult to prove, especially if too much time passes after the accident and you do not hire an experienced attorney. When our attorneys take on a slip and fall case, we begin working immediately to gather and preserve evidence that helps prove your claim. We make site visits to identify the cause of the fall and collect evidence such as photographs, any existing video recording of the fall, and witness statements. Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate your accident and gather additional supporting evidence, including injury reports, medical records, and prior complaints or injuries due to dangerous conditions on the property.
In addition to gathering evidence to prove your claim, we will also handle all legal filings and ensure that they are timely filed. We will advocate for your financial recovery in settlement negotiations with the defendants and their insurance companies. Insurance representatives are notorious for undermining injury claims, but they are often much more reasonable in settlement negotiations when an attorney advocates for your right to a full and fair financial recovery. Our Charleston, West Virginia slip and fall attorneys will also be prepared to take your claim to trial if necessary, to help you secure the compensation that you deserve.
Consult With Our West Virginia Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, compensation may be pursued if the property owner was negligent in maintaining the premises and if the accident was caused as a result of the inferior conditions. Tiano O’Dell, PLLC offers a complimentary legal consultation to review the circumstances of your case. If we accept your case, there will be no legal fees unless a settlement is reached or the case is won at trial. To schedule your complimentary consultation, call (304) 720-6700 or contact us online.