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Common factors in slip and fall accidents

Slip and fall claims are among the most common personal injury claims not only in West Virginia but also in the rest of the U.S. The majority of slip and fall accidents take place outdoors, with the factors outlined below usually contributing to them.

Ice and snow can accumulate on surfaces, at which point the owners are required to mitigate the condition. For example, melting ice on the roof may fall off the roof and refreeze, or it may form puddles on sloping parking lots, creating ice patches.

Parking lots pose a risk in other ways; they can develop cracks and holes, and sometimes they are built in such a way that sections of different heights create a tripping hazard. If the owners fail to fill in the holes or make the slopes more gradual, they may be held liable for injuries. However, if a sidewalk has similar problems and causes a slip and fall, the owner may not be responsible since the sidewalk is usually owned and maintained by the city.

Inadequate outdoor lighting will hide the sight of holes, cracks, uneven surfaces, and other issues, increasing the risk of an accident. The property owner will be held liable if it can be proven that he or she knew about the poor lighting but did nothing about it.

Since slip and falls can sometimes lead to a long recovery time, it's important to file a premises liability claim before the statute of limitations runs out. In West Virginia, the limit is two years. Victims may benefit from speaking with a lawyer so that he or she can evaluate the case and determine how much they might be entitled to. The lawyer may also be able to hire investigators to build a case before negotiating for an informal settlement.

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