Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers has a dedicated premises liability team. We have also written a book that provides some user-friendly tips about what to do if you get hurt at a business such as a store, a hotel or a restaurant. Recently, I joined my colleague Bill O’Mara in shooting a video about these top tips.
Virginia law requires business owners and landowners to maintain their premises in a safe condition and to protect people from known hazards or dangers that the business should have discovered.
There are a number of ways a business can be to blame for accidents at its premises. They include falls on liquids on the floor or due to poor lighting, merchandise falling from shelves onto customers and the failure of a business to provide security or to clear snow and ice.
Here are the top tips from Top 10 Tips If You Are Injured At A Store, Hotel or Restaurant in Virginia
1 Know How Claims Are Handled
It seems obvious, but you must have suffered an injury to have a valid claim. Insurance companies often ignore minor injuries, but if you have significant injuries, you can get them to the table. Because of the expense of these cases, you should have suffered a serious injury to have grounds to make a claim.
2 Prove the Business Was At Fault
It’s not always easy to prove the business was at fault for your injuries. You should look at the particulars of the business and how what they did caused your injury.
3 You Must Not Have Contributed to your Injury
Virginia has a somewhat archaic doctrine called contributory negligence. It means if you contributed to your injury you might not be able to claim. Examples include being drunk, running or being distracted when you had an accident.
4 Force the Establishment to Give Up Video Tape
It’s important that you take the steps to make sure the store secures video evidence of your accident. Your attorney can make sure the store doesn’t destroy the evidence.
5 Use Your Phone
Most people have smartphones these days. If you have been hurt, take pictures of the scene. If there are any witnesses, video their comments or take a voice note. Get their details such as names and contact numbers.
6 Get Med Pay
You should be aware that a store or business may have Med Pay (medical payments insurance) which can assist with your medical bills, even if the fault is not proved.
7 Hire the Right Experts
An experienced premises liability attorney in Virginia will have access to a wide range of experts. For example, if you were injured in a deck collapse, relevant witnesses could include structural engineers.
8 Know the Responsible Companies
You need to know who to sue. A number of people may be responsible, and you need to get the correct one. For example, if you are injured in an elevator, responsible parties could include maintenance companies, building owners or managers.
9 Show Your Harms and Losses
Don’t be shortchanged by an at-fault company. If you have been hurt, you may be entitled to a range of damages including payment for lost time and payment for any past, present or future pain and suffering.
10 Know the Duties Depend on the Type of Invitation
While an invitee who is invited to a premises, such as a shopper at a store, has the strongest case if they are hurt you are unlikely to have much luck suing a landowner or a business owner, if you are trespassing.
We hope this video and these tips have been helpful. You can obtain the book for free via our website. If you have been hurt at a premises and believe a landowner, building owner, store, manager or another person may be to blame, call us at (757) 455-0077.