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Assessing legal options after a slip-and-fall accident

Each year, many people in the Charleston area suffer injuries from slipping and falling. Whether the person just loses their footing or falls due to some kind of slippery substance or uneven flooring, serious injury can result from slip-and-fall accidents. When a slip-and-fall on someone else's property causes an injury that requires medical care, the victim may be unsure if they can pursue legal action against the property owner.

Under West Virginia law, the property owner has an obligation to take reasonable steps to make the premises safe for any invited guests or customers. Thus, the victim of a slip-and-fall accident must first assess whether the owner could have reasonably done anything to prevent the accident from occurring.

For example, if the victim slips and falls in a puddle of rainwater in a restaurant parking lot, the property or restaurant owner may not have been able to do anything to prevent the puddle. On the other hand, if the owner knew that the drainage in the parking lot was deficient and that dangerous puddles would frequently form, then the injured person may be able to show that the owner had a duty to repair the drainage problem.

Owners of commercial places like grocery stores or restaurants not only have a duty to take reasonable steps to remove or at least warn customers about dangerous conditions, but they must also periodically check the property for such dangers. For example, if a shopper falls on a banana peel in a grocery store, the owner may not be able to defend against a personal injury claim by merely pleading ignorance to the existence of the slippery piece of food on the floor.

Any Charleston area resident who thinks that they have suffered a slip-and-fall injury at the hands of a negligent property owner should thoroughly research their legal rights for getting compensation. West Virginia attorneys with experience in premises liability can help the injured to understand how the law may apply to their circumstances.

Source: FindLaw, "Proving Fault in Slip and Fall Accidents," accessed Dec. 26, 2014

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