If you have fallen in a store or parking lot, do not let embarrassment stop you from taking action. At the Manchin Injury Law Group, our West Virginia premises liability lawyers are available to talk about your case and explore your rights.
While everyone has a responsibility to watch where he or she is walking, an owner must not ignore hazards on his or her commercial property. No matter how careful a patron walks across a floor or up a flight of stairs, a slippery surface or loose railing can send him or her crashing to the ground. Embarrassment is the least of his or her worries as the pain from the fall sets in.
Commercial property owners have an obligation to ensure the safety of their patrons from dangerous conditions and criminal activity. Call us at (304) 367-1862 to learn how our premises liability attorneys in West Virginia can help you.
Taking careful steps in a store or parking garage or on a sidewalk will not always prevent an accident. We build premises liability claims on hazards that aren’t visible, such as these situations:
Taking immediate action helps us gather the information and evidence we need to file a strong claim of premises liability. Statements from witnesses and immediate site visits by an expert from our network preserve recent memories and the property defect that led to serious injuries.
In the end, our West Virginia premises liability lawyers will remain at your side with compassion and dedication. We are dedicated to fighting for the best outcome in holding the responsible property owner accountable and maximizing your compensation.
The myriad hazards that can exist due to negligent property maintenance or usage can cause a wide range of injuries to visitors. At Manchin Injury Law Group, our experienced premises liability attorneys have represented clients with many different types of physical injuries, including life-changing injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and paralysis.
Some of the most common premises liability accident injuries in West Virginia include:
No matter what type of injury you or a loved one has been diagnosed with, consult with one of our premises liability attorneys for information about your legal rights. Our attorneys have experience advocating for clients for serious and permanent injuries. We can guide you to the best doctor in Fairmont and make sure you and your family have everything you need on the road to recovery. Our attorneys can also help you file a wrongful death claim if a premises accident took the life of a loved one.
Premises liability law distinguishes between three types of property visitors. This distinction is important, as the definition of each type decides which duties of care a property owner has over the visitor’s health and safety. Certain types of visitors come with greater obligations of property owner care than others. The type of visitor you were at the time of your accident can decide whether or not you have grounds to file a claim against a property owner in Fairmont, West Virginia.
An invitee is someone with an express or implied invitation to enter a property. An invitee is the type of visitor who is owed the greatest duty of care. A property owner in West Virginia has a responsibility to prevent injuries to invitees by inspecting their properties regularly, remedying known hazards in a timely manner and warning visitors of any existing injury risks. The failure to fulfill these obligations can lead to liability for related injuries.
A licensee also has the property owner’s consent to be on the property, like an invitee, but is asked to visit for reasons unrelated to a business or commercial purpose. An example is a social guest who is invited for dinner. A property owner has the same duties of care to fix known hazards and inform licenses of potential dangers on the property as with an invitee. However, the owner does not lawfully have to search the property for unknown or hidden health risks.
A trespasser enters a home, building or piece of land without the owner’s permission. This type of visitor is not owed any duties of care by the landowner; mainly, because the property owner is not aware of the trespasser and is not given the chance to prepare his or her property.
If the trespasser is a child, however, the property owner has a duty to prevent foreseeable injuries. If the property contains an attractive nuisance, for example, such as a swimming pool, the owner must protect wandering children from foreseeable injury risks (e.g. accidental drowning).
If you are not sure what type of visitor you were at the time of your premises liability accident, consult with an attorney in Fairmont for answers. An attorney can review the facts of your case to determine whether you were an invitee, licensee or trespasser. From there, your premises liability lawyer can help you understand the property owner’s duties of care based on your visitor classification, as well as help you gather evidence proving that the property owner did not fulfill his or her duties of care based on your visitor type.
In West Virginia, a law called the Open and Obvious Doctrine protects property owners from liability when a visitor is injured by an open, obvious and conspicuous hazard. Since the hazard or injury risk is open and obvious, it is assumed that a reasonable person would notice and avoid the hazard or proceed at his or her own risk.
If the Open and Obvious Doctrine Applies to a premises liability case, the injured party will be unable to recover financial damages – even if the property owner is to blame for creating or failing to remedy the injury risk. No matter how much or how little the injured victim was responsible for the accident, he or she will be barred from recovery if the circumstances abide by the Open and Obvious Doctrine.
If this doctrine does not apply, the injured party could still recover a portion of financial compensation even if he or she was responsible for the accident. This is West Virginia’s comparative negligence law, which states that an accident victim can still recover damages even if he or she shares fault for the accident with the defendant.
Damages is the legal term for the financial compensation you could receive for your specific losses if your attorney is successful in bringing your premises liability lawsuit in West Virginia. The value of each case is unique; it depends on the injuries and losses suffered by the plaintiff. In general, however, a premises liability claim involving serious or catastrophic physical injuries will be worth more money than a claim involving minor injuries.
If you get injured while on someone else’s property because of that person’s carelessness, you could be eligible for the following damages:
This is not a comprehensive list of all of the economic and noneconomic losses you may be able to recover financial compensation for from a defendant in a premises liability lawsuit in West Virginia. A premises liability lawyer from Manchin Injury Law Group can help you create a list of your unique losses to submit with your insurance claim. Then, we can help you and your family fight for the financial compensation you deserve. Discuss the value of your case with one of our attorneys today.
Government agents, employees, and entities might have a duty to serve and protect civilians, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they adhere to this duty 24/7. Every year, negligent and careless government property owners become defendants in premises liability claims in West Virginia. Mistakes and lapses in judgment in property ownership could lead to elements that are unreasonably hazardous for visitors. If you suffered an injury while on government property, let us help you. File your claim in West Virginia with help from the premises liability attorneys at Manchin Injury Law Group.
Sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine protecting governmental bodies from lawsuits. The rules of sovereign immunity hold that a federal, state, or local government will not be liable for injuries incurred on government-owned properties. It also states that victims cannot sue employees or owners of public places for injuries. Luckily for plaintiffs, the Federal Tort Claims Act amended this clause in 1948.
Under this act, injured victims can bring lawsuits against government bodies for injuries and accidents that occur on public properties. Unlike most states, West Virginia has not enacted its own federal tort claims laws regarding accident victims filing personal injury claims against government bodies. This doesn’t bar claimants from filing these claims. Rather, it means one could bring a claim against the government according to the same rules as non-government cases.
You must correctly name the defendant(s) involved in your case before you can file a claim. In a premises liability lawsuit, this will be the entity that owns, controls, or leases the property on which your accident occurred. On public property in West Virginia, the owner could be the state, city, or county. Examples of land owned by the government include public parks, landmarks, roads, and parking lots, as well as government agency buildings such as public hospitals, schools, and offices.
The defendant will likely be the government body that negligently failed to keep the public property reasonably safe for visitors. Government entities have all the same responsibilities as other property owners in the state toward invitees, licensees, and trespassers. If the owner of the public land did not repair known defects, search for unknown ones, and/or warn visitors of potential risks on a property, the government could be liable for damages. Note, however, that your claim could involve more than one defendant.
One of the most important distinctions between government and non-government premises liability claims in most states is a stricter deadline by which the claimant must file for the former. In West Virginia, however, claims against the government have a two-year statute of limitations, just like other personal injury claims. However, you may still want to provide the defendant with a Notice of Claim prior to filing a lawsuit.
Once you’ve ascertained the identity of your government defendant, gathered information and documents relating to your premises liability accident, and consulted with a West Virginia premises liability lawyer, it’s time to file your claim. You will file your claim with the civil court in the county in which your accident occurred. You will go to the small claims court if your case involves $5,000 or less in damages. Otherwise, you’ll go to the circuit courts.
Our West Virginia premises liability lawyers can help you understand your rights after an injury on public property. We can fill out all forms relating to your claim and file them well within the state’s deadline. We’ll stand by you during every phase of your case. From negotiating with major governmental bodies in pursuit of fair and just compensation on your behalf, to being available to answer your calls, we treat clients like family.
We offer a free initial consultation at our office in the Manchin Professional Building — our home since 1983 — conveniently located in Fairmont.
If you are unable to visit our firm, we can come to your home or hospital room.
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