Despite popular belief, slip and fall cases in Virginia are very difficult. As we’ve written before, our laws are stacked against victims of negligent property owners. Given that, it’s important that you work with a law firm that knows how to navigate our difficult laws.
At Abrenio Law, we’ve been handling slip and fall cases for over a decade. To help, we must complete a thorough assessment of your case. If you’re reaching out to us regarding a slip and fall, below is a list of information we’ll need from you. Once you’ve had a chance to review and gather this information, reach out for your Free Consultation at Ph. 703-570-4180
What we need to know about your Virginia Slip & Fall Case.
Please make sure to review this list thoroughly. We will be in the best position to help you if you’ve review these questions and can provide us useful insight:
Can we prove how you fell and injured yourself?
To prevail in a Virginia slip and fall case, we must be able to clearly articulate the mechanics of your fall. This means that you must have a clear understanding of what caused you to fall. Further, it’s very helpful to provide photographs and/or video of the dangerous condition that caused your fall. If you have photos or video, email them to us before your Free Consultation s we talk about them during that consultation.
Can we prove that you had no fault in your fall?
In Virginia, our courts apply Contributory Negligence. Under that standard, if the property owner is 99% at fault for your fall, but you are 1% at fault, you are barred from recovery. That means that if a jury were to find that you weren’t looking where you were walking, or you fell on something that was “open and obvious,” you will have a difficult time in court proving the case.
Contributory Negligence will be an issue in your case regardless of whether you tell us or not. Therefore, if you’re concerned that you may have been partially at fault, you need to tell us immediately. We’d prefer to know what happened up front rather than learning about it after months of litigation, and you’ve spent a significant amount in litigation costs. (Read more about Contributory Negligence here).
We have to be able to prove that the property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition upon which you fell.
In many cases, injury victims call and tell us that they fell on liquid or a foreign substance on the floor, but they’re not sure how it got there. Because of this, it can be difficult to prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the substance, which can be devastating for your case.
In typical cases, we are able to prove that the property owner knew or should have known because an employee admitted to it. Statements like, “sorry, I meant to clean that up but didn’t have a chance,” are usually helpful. There also may be video that shows the substance on the floor for a period of time that you’d expect an employee to have discovered it and cleaned it.
If a store employee came up to you afterwards and made statements about the dangerous condition, make sure that you keep record of them because these will be vital in order to prove your claim.
Are your injuries serious enough to warrant litigation costs?
If you have a Virginia slip & fall case, you should expect that the insurance company will challenge your claim. This means that it will cost money in order to pursue your case. Given that, typically you must have suffered a serious injury to make the cost of pursuing your case make sense.
What this generally means is, at Abrenio Law, our typical slip & fall client has suffered a fracture of a bone, torn tendon, required surgery or some other form of serious injury. That’s because, if we are successful, the value of their claim would make the cost of the case worth it.
To be clear, if you only suffered a sprained ankle, for instance, you may still have a claim. But, in our view, you’d have to spend way too much money for the potential value of the claim.
Do you still have questions about your Virginia Slip & Fall Case?
Abrenio Law would love to talk to you in detail about your case. Make sure to give us a call at 703-570-4180. You can also learn about Owner James Abrenio by clicking here. Even if we aren’t able to help you, we will provide you an honest review of your case. We look forward to talking to you.
Were you just involved in a slip & fall and you’re not sure what to do?
If you or a family member were just involved in a slip & fall, the facts of your case are vitally important. Given that, you must do what you can to memorialize those facts as soon as possible. Here’s what we’d recommend:
- Take and preserve photographs and video of the dangerous condition that caused your fall. We understand that you may have not had the opportunity to do so. If, at all possible, return to the location (or have a friend or family member do so) and take pictures and photographs.
- Speak to any potential witnesses that may have witnessed your fall. Make sure to obtain their full name and contact information so you can contact them when needed.
- Put the owner on notice that you may have a claim. This means obtaining the contact information of the property owner so that you can instruct them to preserve any and all evidence (including video, photographs, witness statements, etc. regarding your case.
An important point: the “Litigation Letter.”
For many stores and other commercial properties, they maintain video surveillance systems for loss prevention. However, these systems tend to be erased regularly to preserve data storage space. So, you want to make sure any video of your fall is preserved right away. It may be the best evidence of your case.
In addition to simply giving verbal notice of your claim, Abrenio Law recommends providing written verification in the form of a “Litigation Letter.” It’s simply a letter letting the owner know of your claim and their duties. But also, you must create a means to verify this letter was sent. Therefore, we’d recommend sending it by Certified Mailing and keeping a copy of the letter and certification.
For informational purposes, here’s an example of a Litigation Letter. If you’ve still got questions, make sure to reach out.