West Virginia law requires property and landowners to protect visitors from non-obvious dangers and hazards that could lead to serious injury. Negligent property owners who do not maintain safe premises put visitors at risk for injuries and sometimes death. Severe injuries cause massive physical pain for victims, but victims and their families also typically face emotional and financial stress due to injuries. You and your family should not have to suffer because of a careless property owner.
An experienced West Virginia premises liability attorney helps injured visitors hold negligent property owners accountable and seek compensation for injuries. If you have sustained injuries when visiting a home, business, or public place in West Virginia, contact Wagoner Desai online or at (304) 470-2056 for a free case evaluation to learn about your legal options.
Premises Liability Claims Include a Wide Range of Accidents and Injuries
Those who visit another’s property face various potential injuries and accidents depending on the extent of a property owner’s negligence. Some might sustain minor injuries such as sprains or simple fractures. Other victims face head traumas, brain injuries, multiple fractures, neck and back injuries, and more. A wide array of events gives rise to premises liability claims. Some common examples include:
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are the most common premises liability accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20 percent of unintentional falls lead to severe injuries. Falls are hazardous for older adults and children. They are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries and the number one cause of hip fractures in elders. Slip and fall accidents occur because of product usage or spillage, failure to remove snow, ice and other debris, and old or loose floor surfaces.
Dog Bite Injuries
Another common premises liability event is a dog bite injury. Even when a pet owner is not at their place of business or home, they still have a legal duty to protect others from dangerous animals. Small children face the most danger from dog attacks, because their small stature puts them closer to a dog’s jaws. Dog bites can lead to disease and infection, but wounds typically cause the most damage.
Dog bite victims, especially children, often suffer permanent scars and severe mental trauma that stays with them for life. When negligent pet owners do not train or control their animals, a West Virginia court might find them liable for damages after an attack.
Explosions and Fires
Fires and explosions do not occur frequently, but they often serve as grounds for a premises liability claim depending on the cause of the explosion or fire.
Many situations could cause a fire or explosion at a home or business, such as:
- Failure to extinguish cigars or cigarettes
- Flammable liquids
- Shoddy or old electrical work
Injuries from explosions and fires can be severe. Burn victims sometimes spend months in a burn unit, and some also need to be in a medically induced coma during recovery. Reconstructive surgery is often part of burn recovery, but victims still face permanent scars. These injuries can be physically painful and costly compared to other injuries, making it necessary to obtain legal counsel to seek compensation for damages.
Visitors enjoy the convenience of elevators and escalators when they visit large airports, shopping malls, office buildings, and other structures. These inventions allow people to move safely and quickly throughout a building when they work properly. However, poor maintenance and installation can lead to severe injuries when elevators or escalators have sudden stops or drops or other mechanical breakdowns.
Intentional Physical Harm
Maintaining safety on one’s property also includes adequate security. The meaning of providing security differs based on a particular property and can include a variety of measures. Without proper security, property owners put visitors at risk for international physical harm from intruders such as assault, rape, and murders. Some examples of common security measures include providing adequate lighting in public spaces and outdoor areas, enforcing a guarded or gated entry, or issuing key cards to visitors.
Swimming Pool Accidents
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates about 150 children under age 15 die each summer in swimming pools. This tragic statistic does not include injuries or adult deaths. Swimming is a fun pastime, and it’s great exercise. Yet, negligent pool owners put adults and children at risk for drowning and other swimming pool accidents.
Whether at a private residence, hotel, fitness facility, or school, some negligent practices that can lead to dangerous swimming pool accidents include:
- Inadequate supervision
- Improper chemical treatment leading to bacteria or toxic chemical exposure
- Poor maintenance of pumps, filters, drains, steps, diving boards, and concrete
- Failure to provide safety devices for swimmers in distress
Visitor Status in West Virginia Premises Liability Claims
In West Virginia, a property owner’s duty of care to a visitor relies on these two distinctions:
Trespasser vs. Visitor
Trespassers typically have no legal rights to seek compensation for damages if they suffer injuries on someone else’s property. Landowners and occupants can use justifiable force to remove trespassers, but they cannot willfully or wantonly harm trespassers.
Open and Obvious Hazards
Under West Virginia Law, landowners, lessees, or other occupants have no duty of care to protect visitors against open and obvious dangers that are reasonably apparent. This applies to business clients, social guests, delivery persons, and anyone with express or implied consent to enter a property.
Contact Wagoner Desai After Suffering Injuries on Someone Else’s Property
The skilled legal team at Wagoner Desai has the resources and knowledge to help you hold a negligent West Virginia property owner accountable for your injuries. We can help you through the claims process, investigate the circumstances of your injuries, and build a case against the property owner while you focus on recovering from your injuries. Contact us today online or at (304) 470-2056 for a free case evaluation and learn more about how we can help.
Wagoner Desai, PLLC
265 High Street 3rd Floor, Citizens Bank Building
Morgantown, WV 26505
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