Monongalia County Slip and Fall Lawyer
Some of the most common instances of personal injury involve slips and falls that happen on other people’s property. Something as simple as ice on a sidewalk or a standing spill in a grocery store aisle can lead to catastrophic injuries.
Sadly, state law makes it very difficult for people injured in this way to collect compensation for their losses. The law examines both your legal rights to be on the land and whether you should have recognized the presence of the hazard that caused the fall. This places a high burden on plaintiffs to demonstrate defendant property owner’s fault.
Fortunately, a Monongalia County slip and fall lawyer could help you hold negligent landowners responsible for their failures to keep you safe. An experienced personal injury attorney could press for full compensation, including reimbursement for medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.
Legal Rights of Injury Victims
The laws in Monongalia County and throughout the state severely limit the rights of injured people due to slips and falls. These incidents fall under an area of law known as premises liability. To prevail in a claim, a plaintiff must prove that they had a right to be on the land when the injury occurred.
State law differentiates between trespassers and legal visitors. WV Code §55-7-27 states that property owners and lawful tenants have no duty to protect trespassers from accidental harm. In addition, landowners have a right to use lawful force to eject these people from their properties. As a result, it is essential that a plaintiff establish that they had a right to be on the land at the time of the accident.
This is usually a low hurdle to cross because many slips and falls happen in businesses that are open to the public. Falling on a spill in a grocery store, tripping over a pothole in a shopping mall parking lot, and falling because of a wet spot on a public restroom floor are all examples of accidents that can happen to lawful visitors. A Monongalia County slip and fall attorney could help people to understand their legal protections as invited guests.
The Open and Obvious Doctrine
Unlike many other jurisdictions, Monongalia County provides defendants in slip and fall cases an absolute defense. Under WV Code §55-7-28, no landowner or legal lessee has a duty to protect an invited visitor from any hazard that is, “…open, obvious, reasonably apparent, or as well known to the person injured as they are the owner or occupant…”
This is known as the open and obvious doctrine. A defendant in these cases can provide evidence that they took steps to make a hazard well known to any visitors. They could accomplish this by placing warning signs, cordoning off the hazardous area, or even providing a verbal warning to all visitors.
This defense can place a bar on many plaintiffs’ cases for compensation. However, a trip and fall lawyer in Monongalia County could evaluate the landowner’s actions to determine if they failed to provide adequate warning that would have satisfied the open and obvious doctrine’s requirements.
Let a Monongalia County Slip and Fall Attorney Fight for You
The state’s laws concerning liability for a slip and fall injury can make it extremely difficult for unrepresented plaintiffs to collect payments for their losses. These losses can be significant and include medical bills, lost wages, and mental anguish. However, no matter how serious your injuries, a landowner may argue that the hazard was open and obvious, and as such, they bear no responsibility for your losses.
A Monongalia County slip and fall lawyer may be able to help you to collect the compensation necessary to make you whole again. They could work to gather evidence of the hazard that caused your injury and hold the negligent landowner accountable. There is a limited time to file a case, so contact an attorney today.