When realtors, developers, and homeowners stage open houses, they have a duty to ensure the property is safe for guests. Hazards should not only be removed from the home but the areas around it too. This did not happen during a recent open house in Hampton Roads when a 75-year-old man tripped on a mat and sustained multiple fractures of his femur and knee.
The man hired Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers. We secured a $400,000 settlement at a mediation hearing earlier this year.
Virginia Lawyers Weekly reported our client attended an open house in Hampton Roads. He tripped and fell on improperly secured matting in the strip between the sidewalk and the curb in front of the residence. The matting was installed for erosion control.
Slip and falls can cause multiple injuries. They are particularly serious for older people. Our client suffered a terrible ordeal due to his fall. He sustained multiple fractures of his femur and his knee. He required three operations and the installation of permanent hardware in his leg. The accident effectively wiped out two years of his life and incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
The builder and owner of the new home disputed liability. Attorneys John Cooper and John Baker of Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers filed a lawsuit. Experts in the case disagreed about whether the matting was properly secured. The sides disputed the nature of the injury and the condition of the straw matting. The builder hired an orthopedic surgeon who claimed the second and third surgeries our client underwent were caused by another incident when he banged his foot rather than the original accident. The defense lawyers argued the 75-year-old man was partially liable for the fall. In Virginia, an argument of contributory negligence can bar any recovery.
The case was resolved at a mediation this year before a retired judge. Mediation hearings bring both sides of a lawsuit together to work out a possible result. The case was settled for $400,000 including special damages of $320,000 in medical bills.
What is the Duty of a Homeowner Under the Law of Premises Liability in Virginia?
If you invite people into your home for an open house or another purpose you have a duty under the law of premises liability to provide a safe environment. Our Virginia Beach slip and fall injury lawyers have represented many people who were injured in falls on improperly installed or deteriorating matting, often in restaurants and stores. Slip and fall accidents can cause multiple fractures. Older people and children are the most vulnerable groups. Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries.
A homeowner has a duty to protect people he or she invites to the property. The premises liability duty extends to guests and lawful visitors but not to trespassers.
However, a homeowner, a realtor, or a developer is only liable for dangers he or she knew about or should have known about. The legal terminology is actual or constructive notice.
If a realtor staged an open house and a child who was invited to the open house spilled a drink on the floor, the realtor might not realize the hazard immediately. If the next guest slipped and fell on the liquid, the realtor would likely escape liability. However, if the realtor knew about the spill or failed to check for the danger for hours, he might be held liable for any injuries.
Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers Can Help with Your Hampton Slip and Fall Case
Premises liability cases are complicated. They often require expert witnesses. Many businesses and insurance companies fight them hard. It’s important to hire experienced lawyers in these cases because you will likely be up against a powerful legal team on the other side. Please contact Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation if you or a family member suffered injuries in a fall on another person’s premises.