Can a Virginia Business Be Liable When a Car Runs Into a Building?
A fellow member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association was telling me recently that he has worked on cases against the business owner when a car or truck runs into the side of a commercial structure. Although usually, a driver can be liable in these circumstances, it raises a question whether a Virginia business can be liable when a car runs into a building.
We read about these cases all the time in the paper in Virginia. Sometimes it’s someone running into a home. Under those circumstances, it’s probably exclusively the driver’s fault and only their auto insurance would be responsible for the property damage and injuries that may result from the car hitting the house. However, what happens when the car or truck runs into and through the store, restaurant or hotel lobby? In addition to the automobile operator who obviously messed up there can be a question of additional responsibility for the owner and operator of the building.
People who own or run a business in a commercial setting have duties to their customers and others to prevent harm that is reasonably foreseeable. What happens if a car has come through the wall of that store on several occasions before the one in question?
Perhaps it is at a dangerous intersection. However, it may be that the structural soundness of the commercial building is not good. Should the owner or the business have anticipated that cars might come through the glass window? Should the business owner have designed a parking lot or system that would stop a car that didn’t stop in time? Should there have been ballards or other devices to maintain the integrity of the wall from a foreseeable danger of a car not doing what it should do?
The answer probably depends on the circumstances. However, as a good personal injury attorney having practiced in Virginia for over 30 years I am always looking for the hidden liability especially when there’s large catastrophic damages.
If you were a patron sitting in the restaurant or bar when a truck plows through the front door you may be seriously injured. If that happens, a good personal injury attorney should know not only to ask about the responsibility of the motor vehicle driver but also other questions like the commercial liability insurance of the business establishment.
Sometimes the injuries can be so severe that there’s really not enough automobile insurance to cover the losses. An experienced personal injury lawyer knows to try to find other potential at-fault parties to be able to tap into their insurance especially to cover a major injury like spinal damage, brain injury, amputation or loss of a limb.
Such accidents may seem to be freak occurrences. However, if this has happened before it does put an increased burden on the commercial property owner and the business to look at the safety and security of their patrons to prevent a second or third truck coming through the wall. The answer to the question can a Virginia business be liable when a car runs into a building is sometimes.
If you or a loved one has been hurt by a car, truck or van crashing into a building, please call our Virginia Beach auto accident injury lawyers to find out if you have a case at (757) 455-0077.