Property owners have an obligation to keep their premises safe for those who enter. Neglecting this duty may result in substantial injuries to customers, guests, or trespassers.

If you were harmed on someone else’s property, a Charlottesville premises liability lawyer could help. A dedicated personal injury attorney at The Warren Firm could work with you to pursue an accident claim and seek compensation from the responsible parties.

Duty of Care Owed in a Premises Liability Case

Owners have a responsibility to maintain their property and look out for the safety of others. It is important to note that the status of the individual on the premises determines the property owner’s level of liability.

Invitees

Individuals whose presence benefits the owner of the premises are invitees. A customer at a retail establishment is a common example of an invitee.

Property owners owe the highest level of care to these individuals. They must take reasonable steps to maintain the grounds, inspect for hidden dangers, and warn invitees of potential hazards.

Licensees

Licensees receive the owner’s permission to access the premises and enter for their own benefit. Houseguests often fall under this category.

The duty owed to licensees is limited. Property owners are only required to reasonably maintain the grounds and warn them of known dangers.

Trespassers

Trespassers enter the premises without the permission of the property owner. These individuals are not owed a high duty of care. However, owners have a responsibility to minor children trespassing on their premises.

Attractive nuisances such as unfenced pools, large discarded appliances, or wells could lure a minor onto a property. Because children cannot properly identify danger, property owners must protect minors from these potential hazards. A local premises liability lawyer could help you determine the duty of care owed to you on another person’s property.

Contributory Negligence

Though property owners have a responsibility to invitees, licensees, and trespassers, an injured party may also bear some responsibility for an accident. Under the Code of Virginia Annotated § 8.01-34, a plaintiff who contributed to the accident in any way is barred from recovering damages.

For example, a shopper texting while walking through the mall may not be able to collect compensation in a premises liability case if he or she slips and suffers an injury. The plaintiff’s inattention may constitute contributory negligence. An attorney familiar with premises liability law could anticipate any arguments of partial fault by the defendant.

Accidents on Public Property in Charlottesville

The process of pursuing an injury claim may vary depending on where the incident took place. When an accident occurs on public property, the injured party must adhere to the guidelines set out in the Virginia Tort Claims Act and the Federal Tort Claims Act. These laws establish the process for providing notice to government entities before moving forward with a claim.

Additionally, governments may assert sovereign immunity in an injury claim, a defense unavailable to private owners. This concept exempts state and federal entities from liability when performing official functions and duties. A lawyer who handles premises cases could help you pursue a claim against a negligent government body.

Call a Charlottesville Premises Liability Attorney Today

If you suffered damages due to a negligent property owner, you may need to seek legal counsel from a Charlottesville premises liability lawyer. Our team could advocate for your best interests in settlement negotiations or court proceedings. Call us today to speak with an attorney about your potential claim.

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