Slip and fall accidents are far too common and can result in serious injuries. Under West Virginia law, property owners have a legal obligation to keep their properties reasonably safe for their guests and customers. The property owner or manager can be held legally responsible for the physical, emotional, and financial harm caused by a slip and fall accident on their property.
The personal injury attorneys Hewitt & Salvatore PLLC have a long track record of helping people injured in slip and fall accidents recover the compensation they deserve. Recovering compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering can be challenging. Working with an experienced attorney will give you the best chances of success in your slip and fall accident case. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.
Dangerous Conditions That Can Lead to Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are far more common than most people realize. They can happen nearly anywhere, from a grocery store to a parking lot. Many slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries, especially when a person’s head or neck becomes injured after colliding with the floor.
In West Virginia, victims of slip and fall accidents can hold property owners responsible for their physical, emotional, and financial harm. Many different types of dangerous conditions can lead to slip and fall accidents, but the most common causes include the following:
- Sidewalks: uneven or cracked pavement and slippery sidewalks can cause accidents
- Lighting: a dimly-lit stairway, hallway, or sidewalk can be dangerous
- Stairs: many slip and fall accidents happen on dangerous or defective stairways
- Dangerous floor conditions: a person can slip on liquid or another substance
Proving Liability After an Accident
To succeed in a slip and fall accident lawsuit, you will need to show that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition that caused you to fall. Suppose you slipped on a puddle of water near the vegetable aisle at the grocery store. If the grocery store owner knew or should have known that water from the vegetable misters caused the pool of water, you would have a claim against the property owner.
Even if the grocery store owner argues that he didn’t know about the pool of water, you would still be able to succeed by showing that he or she failed to inspect and sweep the floors for several hours. Property owners have a general duty of care to conduct reasonable inspections of their property to discover unsafe conditions.
In many cases, property owners failed to inspect their property. If they had inspected their property, they would have seen the dangerous condition and had a duty to fix the condition or warn customers properly. When property owners don’t conduct reasonable inspections, they typically won’t be able to claim that they weren’t aware of the dangerous condition and use it as a defense.
West Virginia’s Open and Obvious Law
West Virginia lawmakers passed a law in 2017 that limits a victim’s ability to pursue personal injury claims if they become injured due to a hazardous condition that was open and obvious. Now, if a victim slips and falls, he or she will need to prove that the danger that caused the slip and fall accident wasn’t open, obvious, and reasonably apparent.
Overcoming the open and obvious rule is one of the most challenging aspects of obtaining compensation through a claim. However, a skilled personal injury attorney can help you develop a strategy to overcome this rule.
How a Slip and Fall Attorney Can Help You
Slip and fall accident claims can be challenging and difficult to win. Proving all of the elements of a personal injury lawsuit requires a thorough investigation. Consulting with an attorney soon after the accident occurs can help you gather evidence and develop the best legal claim possible. When you work with the personal injury attorneys at Hewitt & Salvatore PLLC, you can rest assured that we will give your case the attention it deserves by taking the following steps:
- Conducting a site investigation to identify the dangerous condition or conditions that caused the accident
- Obtaining evidence before it is destroyed or disappears
- Identifying and contacting witnesses to the accident who know the dangerous condition
- Finding any prior complaints about the dangerous condition or prior slip and fall accident at the same location
- Interviewing employees of the business at which you slipped and fell
It is worthwhile to hire a premises liability expert or engineer as an expert witness in some cases. The expert can evaluate the dangerous conditions that led to the slip and fall accident and prove that a safety regulation or standard was violated. If the insurance company fails to offer you a fair settlement amount, we will take your case to court.
What Compensation Is Available in Slip and Fall Accidents?
In West Virginia, victims of personal injury accidents, including slip and fall accidents, are entitled to economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include easily quantifiable expenses, such as your past and future medical bills in past and future lost wages. Plaintiffs can recover compensation for their lost earning capacity when they can no longer return to work because of injuries from their slip and fall accident.
Additionally, a plaintiff can recover compensation for non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include compensation for past and future loss of enjoyment of life and past and future pain and suffering. When appropriate, courts can award additional punitive damages if the defendant’s contact amounted to a reckless, wanton, or willful disregard for safety.
Contact a West Virginia Slip and Fall Accident Attorney
If you or your loved one have been injured in a slip and fall accident because of a property owner’s negligence, you may have a valid compensation claim. You only have a limited amount of time to bring a claim, so it’s important that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. The slip and fall accident attorneys at Hewitt & Salvatore PLLC have a proven track record of successfully representing many West Virginia residents just like you. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.