Slip and Fall Lawyers in West Virginia
WV Premise Liability Attorneys
The injury lawyers at West Law Firm have a long track record of helping people injured in slip and falls recover full and fair compensation for their losses. Slip and falls and other kinds of falls caused by dangerous property conditions are a leading cause of injury in West Virginia. However, recovering compensation under West Virginia law for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other losses can be challenging. This is especially true because of West Virginia’s open and obvious statute that was passed by WV legislatures a few years ago.
Having an experienced slip and fall lawyer on your side, like those at West Law Firm, can make a big difference though in ensuring you recover compensation. Below are some of the issues that will likely affect your slip and fall claim. If you’d like to discuss them in detail, we invite you to call us for a free case evaluation. Our toll free number is 1-877-943-9378 (WEST).
Did a Dangerous Property Condition Cause You to Fall?
To have a valid West Virginia slip and fall claim in West Virginia, you will need to prove that there was a dangerous condition on another’s property that caused you to fall. An experienced personal injury lawyer can also help determine if the dangerous condition was a violation of a safety statute. A violation of a West Virginia safety statute will increase the likelihood of you winning your accident claim.
Some common examples of dangerous conditions that frequently cause people to fall are:
- slippery surfaces, often caused by liquid, snow or ice
- uneven walking surfaces, like on sidewalks
- hazardous conditions at work
- poor lighting
- poorly maintained property
- lack of handrails
- lack of supervision or safety devices in hospitals
Did the Property Owner Know About the Dangerous Condition or Should He Have Known About It?
Under West Virginia law, generally, a property owner has to have known about the dangerous condition that caused you to fall. To meet this requirement, you may also be able to show he or she should have known about the unsafe condition, even if he argues that he didn’t know about the dangerous condition. For example, a grocery store can’t fail to inspect and sweep their floors for two hours, then argue they didn’t know about spilled oil that caused you to fall.
Property owners generally have a duty to conduct reasonable inspections of their property for unsafe conditions. If they don’t conduct reasonable inspections of their property, property owners usually can’t claim they didn’t know about the dangerous condition as a defense.
Were Adequate Warnings Posted?
If you’re able to establish the elements above, the insurance adjuster or property owner may argue that warnings were posted, and, thus, the property owner is not liable for your injuries. For example, although a business’s floor may be wet, if there’s a clear sign that says, Caution: Wet Floor, then it will be more difficult to argue the business’s negligence caused you to fall on the slippery floor. On the other hand, the property owner may have put the warning sign in a location where you couldn’t see it before you fell. In that case, you’d have a good argument that the warning was inadequate.
Was the Hazardous Property Condition Open and Obvious, Under West Virginia Law?
In 2017, West Virginia lawmakers passed a law that limits people’s ability to pursue personal injury claims if they fell because of a hazardous condition that was open and obvious. This is one of the most disputed elements of a slip or trip and fall claim in West Virginia. Winning this argument usually requires the help of an experienced slip and fall lawyer.
That West Virginia law says, in part, that a property owner, “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.” West Virginia Code § 55-7-28
West Virginia’s open and obvious rule is often unfair. However, a highly skilled personal injury lawyer can often help you overcome this rule.
What Compensation Is Available for Slip and Fall Injuries?
The compensation you may be able to recover will depend on the details of your claim and your injuries. For example, did you suffer minor sprains and strains or a more serious condition like a brain injury? That said, common forms of compensation include the following:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Loss of earning capacity
- Past and future loss of enjoyment of life
- Compensation for duties under duress
- Punitive damages, if appropriate
Although punitive damages are not commonly available in slips and fall claims, an experienced attorney may be able to help you recover punitive damages if the defendant’s conduct amounted to a reckless, wanton or willful disregard for safety.
How an Experienced Premise Liability Lawyer Can Help You
As you can see from the above, slips and fall claims are often challenging and difficult to win. Below are some actions an experienced injury attorney can take that will likely help your case.
- Conduct a site inspection to identify the dangerous condition that caused the slip and fall accident
- Secure evidence of the dangerous condition before it disappears or is destroyed
- Identify and contact witnesses to the slip and fall accident or witnesses who have knowledge of the dangerous condition
- Track down prior complaints about the dangerous condition or of prior slip and fall accidents at the same location
- interview and/or depose employees of business where you fell
- Hire a premise liability expert or engineer to help evaluate the dangerous condition and prove a safety standard or regulation was violated
- File a lawsuit if the insurance company fails to offer you full and fair compensation.
What to do After a Slip and Fall Injury
1. Seek medical help
If you fall and are injured, it’s important to seek medical help immediately. If you’re injured and delay in seeking treatment, an insurance company may later claim you weren’t really injured or you would have sought medical treatment sooner.
2. Take photos of any visible injuries and the hazard that caused your fall
To recover fair compensation for your injuries, it is necessary to identify the dangerous condition that caused you to fall. Because walkway’s dry, sidewalks may be repaired, and objects may be removed, it’s important to preserve the evidence at the site of your fall as soon as possible. That said, if you decide to allow West Law Firm to help you, we will be sure to preserve the evidence and even send a safety expert to inspect the dangerous condition, if we believe that would be prudent for your case.
3. Get a Free Consultation With an Experienced Slip and Fall Lawyer
Most West Virginia lawyers do not successfully handle slip and fall cases on a regular basis like we do at West Law Firm. Speaking with an attorney about your case and options can be very helpful to the outcome of your case. However, it’s important to speak with the right attorney. When speaking with a lawyer, you can simply ask what’s their track record and experience handling accident claims like yours.
Get a Free Case Evaluation from a Charleston, West Virginia Slip Fall Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured by any kind of negligence, including a negligent property owner, we invite you to call us today for a Free Case Evaluation. Our toll-free number 1-877-943-9378 (WEST), and there’s NO FEE unless you win.
West Law Firm is located in Charleston, West Virginia, and our personal injury lawyers serve injured clients throughout the state.