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What Duty Does a Business Owner Owe Customers Under Virginia Law to Prevent Accidents from Happening on the Store’s Premises?

yellow wet floor sign

You’ve slipped and fallen, breaking your shoulder and suffering other injuries in the process at the same time at a grocery store. The store manager immediately rushes over to tell you that she is not sure how you fell, but it must have been your fault because no one at the store had any prior complaints or notice that the floor was slippery or that there was some sort of condition that could have led to your fall. She further reports that the portion of the store in which you fell was just cleaned and that you must have stepped oddly or tripped over your own feet. At the time, you think nothing of this because you are in so much pain that you just want to get to the emergency room and get treatment, but later on, her comments seem odd to you. This gets you to thinking: what responsibilities exactly does the store have in this situation? As it turns out, businesses like stores have a fairly high burden to meet to take steps to prevent injuries or accidents exactly like this from occurring to their customers under Virginia law.

What Duty Does a Business Owe Me to Prevent Injuries on Their Premises in Virginia?

In any negligence claim, an injured party must prove breach of a duty by the defendant. In the context of a slip and fall claim like the one described in the hypothetical scenario above, what duty the property owner (in this case the grocery store, assuming it owned rather than leased the property) owed the injured person and what the property owner did to satisfy that duty is everything in winning or losing a case for either side. Duty is a legal term that means what steps the property owner is required to take to protect another person who comes on the property from harm. In the case of a property owner or lessor like the grocery store owner, the duty is what steps they are required to take in order to protect those who are at the store while they are on the store premises from suffering any injuries. If the jury finds the business did not take those steps and someone was injured as a result of the business’s failure to take those steps, then it may be liable for an injury to that person.

For anyone who visits a store for the purpose of doing business at that store, the person is what is known as an invitee. This status comes along with the highest duty that a property owner can owe someone under Commonwealth law. For an invitee, the landowner owes the invitee the duty of using reasonable care to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition and to warn the invitee of any hidden dangers. Therefore, if there had been a jar of pasta that had fallen immediately before you walked into the store aisle in which you fell or the floor there had just been mopped and the store employee had utilized too much water, leaving puddles behind, immediately before you fell, a jury may find the store did not live up to its duty to maintain its premises in a reasonably safe condition.

Contact the Experienced Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman if You or Someone You Love Has Been Injured in Virginia

Given the importance of proving how a business or other property owner failed to live up to his, her or its duty to an injured person, it is important to have an attorney who knows exactly how to best prove to a jury that the business at which you slipped and fell failed to meet its duty to you to ensure you receive maximum compensation for your injuries suffered as a result of that business’s negligence. Our experienced Virginia personal injury attorneys have recovered millions in compensation for our clients who have been injured due to someone else’s negligence and we often deal with businesses who may try to argue that a slip and fall incident was either our client’s fault or that the store met its duty to our injured client where it clearly did not do so.

If you live in the Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach or Roanoke, Virginia, areas and have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, then please contact Kalfus & Nachman PC by phone today at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation regarding your particular situation.

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