If you’ve been injured due to a slip and fall in Virginia, you may be wondering whether you have a case. While the media has probably lead you to believe that slip and fall cases are “easy money,” in Virginia, they are often very difficult cases to pursue. Here’s a couple things to look for:
1) Was your fall clearly the result of someone else’s negligence?
Virginia law is pretty clear – property and business owners are not your insurers. So if you slip and fall in a store, apartment or other location, you’re not assumed to be owed money for your injuries. It had to be someone else’s fault, and you cannot have contributed to the fall.
Let’s say for example, you are in a grocery store, and you fall on a large pool of soda spilled on the floor. To have a viable claim, first, you must be able to prove that it was the grocery store’s fault that the soda was on the ground. That doesn’t mean just that the mere fact that soda was spilled, it was the store’s fault. That alone would not be enough. Rather, you’d have to be able to prove that the store had knowledge of it on the floor, and with that knowledge was unreasonable in cleaning it, thereby protecting its customers.
There are countless cases in which the courts have thrown out slip and fall cases based upon spilled substances on the floor because the Plaintiff couldn’t show that the premises owner knew (or should have known) about the spill, but failed to properly clean it up. So that means you need to consider if you can prove how the soda got there, how long it had been there, what knowledge the store had of the spill, and what actions it took to remedy the spill.
Second, you must be able to prove that you didn’t contributed to you fall. Going back to the spilled soda example, if there’s a large pool of dark liquid on a white floor, someone is going to ask “why didn’t you see it?!” In Virginia, you have a duty to watch where you’re going. And if the substance that you fell on was “open and obvious,” you may have a difficult time winning your case.
2) Were you seriously injured?
Often times, slip and fall cases are against big companies with a lot of money to spend defending cases. That means that for you to invest in your case, you should be thinking about what the ultimate damages may be to justify the case.
If you sprained your ankle, but were fine a couple of weeks later, it’s likely not going to be a case where a jury would award you enough money to warrant spending the time and money suing a company. And, given the size of most companies, they will likely spend money to defend your claim. So it will likely not be an easy claim to make.
That said, if you had to get surgery and undergo painful rehabilitation, it’s certainly worth your time to call an attorney and get an opinion on what to with your potential claim. Keep in mind, in Virginia, there is a statute of limitation, so your claim will expire.
There are obviously many other variables to consider regarding your Virginia slip and fall case. But if you’ve made it this far, it’s likely that you should speak with an attorney to be properly advised about your rights. For more questions, feel free to give us a call at BenGlassLaw.