Everything you need to know about VA restaurant slip/fall incidents
Restaurants pose unique risks for a slip and fall incident. With grease used in cooking, water spilled from glasses on a serving tray and malfunctioning equipment, you should definitely stay alert and aware when visiting restaurants.
But if you do have the misfortune of slipping and falling while out to eat in Virginia, you should look into how you might pursue compensation for your damages.
Many factors will go into the court’s decision about whether or not you have a case. These factors include negligence, shared fault and the statute of limitations on filing a claim in Virginia.
We’ll break down everything you need to know about slip and fall accidents at a restaurant in Virginia so you can make an informed decision about the next steps in your case.
Slip and fall accident negligence
There are four elements of proving slip and fall accident negligence in Virginia. Here’s a look at those elements and how you can work with an attorney to prove them.
- Duty of care: the property owner or restaurant owner had a duty of care toward you. This means that you were a guest in the restaurant and not trespassing after hours. Trespassers only have limited rights when it comes to injury and property owner negligence. As part of this duty, the property owner must do all they can to prevent accidents.
- Breach of the duty of care: the property owner knew about the hazard or should have known about the hazard that led to your injuries but did not take the proper steps to prevent an injury. Breach of the duty of care can be improper action or a total lack of action.
- The property owner’s breached duty of care caused your injuries: there must be a causal relationship between the property owner’s negligence and your injuries. Outside factors cannot have caused your injuries, such as another restaurant patron shoving you into equipment.
- You suffered losses as a result of your injuries. If you suffer some injury to your pride as a result of slipping and falling but no other bodily injuries, you won’t be able to make a case against the restaurant owner. For you to have a personal injury case, you must suffer losses – such as medical bills, missed work, pain and suffering – to be able to pursue a case.
The best way to prove negligence in a courtroom is through the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney knows the nuances of proving negligence and will work with you to present the best case possible.
Shared Fault/Contributory Negligence
In Virginia, there’s a law called contributory negligence. Under this law, you can be partially at fault for your slip and fall injuries. In these cases, the injury victim has some responsibility for the accident.
This is a leading defense tactic that restaurant owners and their attorneys will work to prove. Your attorney will play a crucial role in showing that you were not negligent and that the property owner was the only negligent party.
Virginia’s laws concerning contributory negligence are very strict. If the restaurant owner can show that you contributed to the injuries in any way, you won’t be able to receive compensation for your injuries.
In other states, there is a comparative negligence rule. This means that you can be found partially at fault for the accident but still receive partial payment for your injuries. However, that is not the case in Virginia. If you’re found to have contributed to the accident, you won’t be compensated for your injuries.
Some ways a property owner might try to prove that you’re partially responsible for the accident include:
- You entered a part of the property where guests are prohibited. There was adequate signage to keep you out but you proceeded anyway. You had no expectation of care while in that area of the property.
- Your footwear was inappropriate or unsafe for the circumstances. That inappropriate footwear led to your accident.
- You were not paying adequate attention to your surroundings, which led to your slip and fall.
- The hazard that you slipped and fell on should have been obvious to you or had adequate signage posted.
- Using cones or signage, the restaurant staff made the hazard clear and took reasonable steps to protect their patrons, but you ignored those signs.
Statute of Limitations on Slips and Falls in Virginia
A statute of limitations is a law that puts a time limit on when a lawsuit will be heard in court. Individuals who are injured in slip and fall accidents have two years from the injury date to file a lawsuit in court.
The statute of limitations for slip and fall injuries that lead to the death of a loved one is also two years from the date of the incident.
To get your Virginia slip and fall accident lawsuit started to avoid issues with the statute of limitations, contactGore & Kuperman. We offer a free consultation to get to know you and your case. We’ll offer advice and legal counsel as to whether or not you have a case based on your circumstances.