Morgantown Slip and Fall Lawyer
The injuries related to a fall can be severe, mainly when they occur to the head or neck of the injury victim. In fact, 17,000 Americans die each year from injuries sustained in a fall according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If you are one of the one million Americans hurt in a fall each year, you could benefit from discussing your claim with a personal injury attorney.
If you suffered an injury in a slip and fall accident through no fault of your own, you might be able to recover damages from the property owner. Slip and fall injury cases are complex, however. To increase your chance of recovering the compensation you deserve, consider seeking help from a Morgantown slip and fall lawyer.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
A slip and fall could occur anywhere. While some of these accidents are unavoidable, many only occur due to a dangerous condition where the fall occurred. During the case review process, a Morgantown slip and fall attorney must consider the potential causes of a fall to determine if an injury lawsuit is viable.
Some common causes of slip and fall injuries include:
- Bunched or torn carpet
- Icy or wet sidewalks
- Uneven pavement
- Broken or missing banisters
- Poor lighting
Not every fall caused by these hazards will result in a viable injury claim, however. To prevail in a case, a Morgantown slip and fall attorney must also establish that the injured person was lawfully on the premises.
Liability in a Morgantown Slip and Fall Lawsuit
One of the major issues in a Morgantown slip and fall lawsuit relates to the injury victim’s relationship to the property. This is common in most states, but West Virginia takes a unique approach to landowner liability.
Most states group property visitors into three categories: licensees, invitees, and trespassers. The court must then identify the purpose of the plaintiff’s visit to determine what duty the defendant owed them. West Virginia law simplifies this process by considering all victims either trespasser or non-trespasser at the time of the accident. This distinction is crucial. While property owners owe a duty to a non-trespasser, they typically owe no duty to trespassers. The viability of a slip and fall lawsuit often hinges on whether the plaintiff was trespassing or not.
The duty owed to a non-trespasser is significant. Property owners must regularly review their land for hazards, taking appropriate action when they discover a hazard. This can include removing the hazard or posting warnings relating to the potential danger. A landowner owes this duty to everyone on the property lawfully, from social guests to customers to employees. This standard applies to private property as well as businesses open to the public.
Many slip and fall lawsuits turn on whether the defendant took reasonable steps to prevent a slip and fall accident. The law allows for a reasonable amount of time for a property owner to respond to a hazard. For instance, a jury might expect a store owner to clean up a spilled drink much a faster than they would a farm owner to fix an unexpected sinkhole in a field.
Discuss Your Options with a Morgantown Slip and Fall Attorney
When you enter the property of another person, you deserve to do so without the fear of suffering a preventable fall injury. If you were on the property lawfully, you might have grounds to recover monetary damages from the property owner. To talk about the strength of your case with experienced legal counsel, contact a Morgantown slip and fall lawyer right away.