Property owners have a legal obligation to keep their properties reasonably safe for visitors and guests. When an accident occurs on someone’s property directly because of the failure to take reasonable safety precautions, victims have a right to hold the property owners accountable through premises liability.
If you or your loved one have been injured on someone else’s property due to the owner’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. At Hewitt & Salvatore PLLC, our premises liability attorneys have helped many West Virginia residents recover the compensation they deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation and learn more about your legal rights.
West Virginia Premises Liability Laws
West Virginia premises liability laws define the legal responsibilities of property owners and management companies. In general, property owners and managers must maintain their properties in a safe manner for customers, guests, and visitors to their property. Those who enter someone else’s property fall into specific categories, each with a specific legal duty of care.
Invitees are individuals who’ve been invited to the property for a business or commercial-related benefit to the property owner. Invitees are owed the highest duty of care. An example of an invitee would be a shopper at a grocery store or retail store. Licensees are people with an express or implied invitation onto the premises by the property owner. If the property owner knew or should have known of a dangerous condition on the property, he or she must warn the licensee or repair the defect. An example of a licensee is an invited guest or friend.
Types of Premises Liability Cases We Handle
In any type of premises liability case, it’s important to speak with a skilled Fayetteville, West Virginia, personal injury attorney about your situation. During your free case evaluation, one of our premises liability attorneys can begin to understand the circumstances surrounding your injury and who was at fault. We help our clients make informed legal decisions and take every necessary step to build a solid defense. We represent clients in a wide range of premises liability cases, including the following:
- Broken steps and walkways
- Animal attacks and dog bites
- Inadequate security
- Falling debris
- Missing steps
- Slip and fall accidents
- Swimming pool injuries
- Construction site accidents
- Uneven surfaces
- Hazardous building materials
- Food poisoning
- Staircase accidents
- Hip fractures
Do I Have a Premises Liability Case?
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, you may be wondering whether you have a valid personal injury case. The likelihood of success for premises liability cases depends on the circumstances surrounding the accident. West Virginia property owners are legally responsible to ensure that their properties are reasonably safe for their guests and customers.
However, comparative negligence can also be factored in when determining liability. For example, if a customer was wearing inadequate footwear for the terrain, walking while texting, or committing a criminal act, and these actions contributed to his or her injury, it may be more difficult to recover compensation. Once the customer or guest’s responsibility for the accident reaches a certain level, his or her right to financial compensation can be reduced or eliminated altogether.
The Open and Obvious Doctrine
In 2015, West Virginia enacted a law that significantly limits a person’s right to recover compensation when the danger or hazard is “open, obvious, reasonably apparent or as well known to the person injured as they are to the owner or occupant.”
In other words, since the injury risk or hazard is open and obvious, it’s assumed that a reasonable person would have noticed this and avoided it or proceeded at his or her own risk. When this doctrine applies, the injured victim won’t be able to recover financial damages. It’s important that you work with an attorney who can help you gather evidence showing that this legal doctrine doesn’t apply.
Recovering Compensation for Your Injuries
Proving liability can be challenging in premises liability cases. For this reason, it’s important that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible if you’ve been injured on someone else’s property. At Hewitt & Salvatore PLLC, we will determine whether you have a valid claim for the injuries you suffered.
Even if you may have contributed to the accident to some extent, the property owner’s duty to keep the property safe from dangerous conditions is still in place. Premises liability accidents can result in lifelong physical injuries resulting in high medical costs and expenses. A successful plaintiff cases can be eligible for the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical bills
- Expenses related to a temporary or permanent disability
- Vehicle or home modifications
- Property repairs
- Medical devices
- Prescription medication
- Loss of income and employment benefits
- Legal fees and out-of-pocket costs
- Physical pain and emotional suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages when the defendant acted willfully or egregiously
Statute of Limitations in Premises Liability Cases
Under West Virginia law, there is a strict, two-year time limit, also called a statute of limitations. You only have two years from the date of your injury to bring a premises liability lawsuit. At Hewitt & Salvatore PLLC, we understand that a successful case relies on a thorough investigation.
Our firm has the resources and skills needed to gather evidence showing that the property owner didn’t use reasonable care to prevent your accident. We utilize our extensive professional resources when investigating our clients’ cases. As time goes on, witnesses may forget details, and evidence can become destroyed. Don’t delay reaching out to an attorney. The sooner an attorney can begin investigating your case, the better.
Reach Out to a West Virginia Premises Liability Attorney
Premises liability accidents can happen anywhere from a store to a private restaurant. Every day, preventable accidents due to a property owner’s negligence cause devastating injuries. If you or your loved one have been injured on someone else’s property, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Contact our skilled premises liability attorneys at Hewitt & Salvatore PLLC today to schedule your free case evaluation. Our attorneys have a proven track record of successfully recovering compensation for clients who’ve been injured by negligent property owners.