Businesses in West Virginia owe a duty of care to all of the customers that enter the building they occupy. Even if a business owner does not own the building where the business is located, the owner is usually liable for accidents that take place on its premises. That’s because most commercial leases have provisions that make safety the tenant’s responsibility rather than the landlord’s.
Slip-and-fall accidents are one of the most common types of accidents that take place on commercial properties. A customer may slip or trip on a wet floor, cluttered aisle or torn carpeting and then fall. Businesses that occupy multiple floors will also have to take care to prevent falls from occurring on stairs. Slip-and-fall accidents may occur in outdoor business areas like parking lots, especially when ice and snow creates hazardous conditions.
People who are injured while visiting a business may sue the owner for damages if they can prove that the owner was negligent. If the owner was aware of a dangerous condition on the property but did nothing to correct it, it would be liable for accidents caused by the dangerous condition. Even if a business owner didn’t know about a dangerous condition, it could still be found negligent if the condition existed long enough for them to discover.
A personal injury attorney may be able to help an injured person to file a premises liability lawsuit asserting that the injuries were caused by the owner’s negligence. An attorney may help the plaintiff to collect evidence of the property owner’s negligence by taking photographs of the property and gathering eyewitness statements.