Charleston Premises Liability 101: What Visitors Should Know

When you visit someone’s house, a place of business, or a public venue, you don’t think about the possibility of slipping and falling. But in many places in Charleston every year, it happens—someone trips on stairs, on a broken sidewalk, on something slippery in a grocery store or falls over a trip hazard in a nightclub. Do you know what to do if you’re the next slip and fall victim?

Charleston Premises Liability 101: What Visitors Should Know

Premises Liability

The area of law that governs slip and fall cases is called “premises liability.” That is, the legal liability that the owner, manager or employee of the business on the premises bears to keep a place safe for guests and/or members of the public.

This means if you’ve suffered an injury or other damages because a property owner or other responsible individual should have either taken care of a dangerous condition but didn’t, and you were injured, you may be able to recover damages.

Get Medical Care Immediately

If you’re injured, you should see a doctor right away, even if you don’t think it’s serious. Some injuries aren’t immediately apparent, and an emergency room physician can give a solid diagnosis. If you don’t see a doctor immediately, your claim of an injury may be dismissed or reduced.

There are a number of different types of ways you could become injured in a premises liability accident:

  • Slippery floors can cause dangerous slip & fall accidents
  • Dangerous conditions at a construction site or workplace
  • Hazards in buildings, such as uneven walkways or stairs without safety railings
  • Lack of security resulting in dangers to personal safety

And so many others.

You Also Have A Responsibility For Your Own Safety

Even if a dangerous condition exists, you as a visitor have a duty to pay attention to any warning signs and abide by them. If you’re in an area where you shouldn’t be and get injured (such as an area marked “employees only”), you won’t be able to recover compensation. This is also true if you were trespassing on private property.

West Virginia also has a clause commonly called “open and obvious.”  (Code of West Virginia §55-7-27) That is, if you ignore a danger that everyone else wouldn’t, the property owner won’t be held liable. The law reads:

(a) A possessor of real property, including an owner, lessee or other lawful occupant, owes no duty of care to protect others against dangers that are open, obvious, reasonably apparent or as well known to the person injured as they are to the owner or occupant, and shall not be held liable for civil damages for any injuries sustained as a result of such dangers.

Additionally, West Virginia law also uses “comparative fault.” This means that if you bear any of the responsibility for your accident, your settlement could be reduced by the amount of responsibility you’re assigned.

You Have Two Years To File

West Virginia allows you to file a claim for two years after the date of your accident. Don’t wait too long, or you won’t be able to file. If you’ve been waiting to file, don’t—call us today.

After a serious injury due to someone else’s negligence, you need help getting back on your feet. Medical expenses lost wages, and other expenses are part of what you need to get there. Chad Love has been helping people in Charleston for over 20 years, and he’s ready to help you.

The Love Law Firm is Charleston, West Virginia’s personal injury law firm with extensive experience handling slip & fall premises liability cases. Call us today at 304-344-5683 and schedule your free consultation. There’s no charge for the first visit, and our contingency fee arrangement means you won’t pay unless we win your case and recover money for you.

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