In West Virginia as elsewhere in the U.S., property owners have a responsibility to ensure the safety of guest. Visitors also have the responsibility to not engage in reckless behavior while on a property. When people are injured through no fault of their own on another’s property, they may be eligible for compensation under civil law. All they must do is file a slip and fall claim.
Among certain age groups, slip and falls are the leading cause of hospital visits in the country. Slip and fall claims also tend to be among the most expensive lawsuits that are filed each year. These claims can be broken down into several categories.
Some claims pertain to inadequate facilities, where factors like dim lights, rucked up carpets and trip hazards like loose cables contribute to the slip and fall. Other lawsuits relate to inadequate warnings. Perhaps a floor had been recently mopped, but there was no sign to warn entrants, or maybe an individual is served a beverage without being warned it’s hot. In these cases, the property owner may be held liable for negligence.
Another category of slip and fall claims is equipment malfunction. Guests may be injured when an elevator suddenly drops, an automatic walkway speeds up or an escalator shuts off. Since these malfunctions may have been due to lack of maintenance, the property owner will be to blame.
It’s important for victims to hire an attorney who knows about premises liability law. Otherwise, their chances of a successful claim will be slim. A lawyer can first evaluate the claim and determine if there was any contributory negligence. Any negligence on the victim’s part is likely to make a claim void. Assuming there is none, though, the attorney can then take on the case, hire investigators to gather proof of the defendant’s negligence and try and negotiate a settlement out of court.