Leesburg Premises Liability Attorney
When an individual gets injured on another person or entity’s property, they may have a premises liability claim on their hands. Premises liability applies when the property owner fails to take adequate measures to protect his or her visitors from dangers, hazards, or threats posed by any and all aspects of their property. Any single individual or organization may have a premises liability claim brought against them, as premises liability does not just apply to major corporations or well-known establishments.
At Simms Showers, LLP, our Leesburg premises liability attorneys bring their knowledge and experience to the table to help victims of property owner negligence recuperate the damages they need and deserve to recover from their injuries in a stress-free manner.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a legal concept that applies when a dangerous or hazardous condition results in the physical harm of another individual. The hazard could be something as minor as a wet floor, or something as glaringly dangerous as an exposed wire or gaping hole in the floorboards. However, just because an individual is harmed as the result of a danger on someone else’s property does not automatically mean that the individual can sue for damages. In order for a premises liability claim to stand in a Virginia court, the plaintiff must be able to prove the following:
- That the defendant actually owns, occupies, or leases the piece of property in question;
- That the defendant was negligent in their care of the property;
- That the plaintiff was harmed; and
- That the defendant’s negligence was the primary factor in the harm that caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
Who Can File a Premises Liability Claim?
In Virginia, it is not enough to prove that the defendant was negligent in their care of the property and that the plaintiff was injured as a result. Additionally, the prosecution must prove that the property owner owed the visitor some kind of duty of care. In Virginia, a property’s visitors fall under one of three classifications:
- Licensees; and
According to Virginia law, the standard of care that a property owner must give to a person vastly varies depending on the type of visitor that they are. For instance, a landowner or property owner does not owe any duty to a trespasser except to not harm them intentionally. Should a trespasser sustain any injuries on the defendant’s property, they would not be able to recover any compensation, as they took the risk of entering the property as is.
On the other hand, a licensee is an individual who is given permission by the property owner to access the property or building at their discretion. The property owner does have a duty of care to a licensee, but only to an extent. A property owner is liable for any injuries that occur to a licensee if the injury occurred as a result of active negligence or wanton conduct. The only instances that a licensee may file a premises liability claim for injuries sustained as a direct result of the condition of the property is if the following occur:
- The landowner knew or had reason to know of the condition and should have been aware of the potential danger it posed, and should have expected the licensee to not realize the danger;
- The landowner failed to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the condition, make the condition better, or to warn the licensee of the condition; and
- The licensee did not know or have reason to know of the condition that lead to the injury.
An invitee is an individual that the landowner or occupier of the property expressly invites onto the property. The landowner owes the invitee a duty of using reasonable care to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition and to warn the invitee of any hidden dangers. Should an invitee be injured while on the property and as a result of the property owner or occupier’s negligence, the landowner may be sued for injury and damages. However, in addition to proving the aforementioned factors of a personal injury claim, the invitee must also prove the following:
- That the landowner knew of the unsafe condition, or that the unsafe condition existed a long enough period of time for the landowner to have reasonably discovered it; and
- That the danger was not obvious.
Contact a Leesburg Premises Liability Attorney
At Simms Showers, LLP, our Leesburg, VA premises liability attorneys advocate for the victims of a property owner’s negligence and lack of care. If you were injured on someone else’s property, and if their wanton negligence was the leading cause of your injuries, contact our premises liability law firm at 703-457-1793 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced Leesburg attorneys today.