When you go to a business to shop their inventory or just mill around, they become liable for your safety because you are on their premises. Though they are not liable for absolutely any injury you might suffer on their property since they cannot prevent every type of injury, there is an expected duty of care that they must provide for you.
After an injury at the fault of a business in Charleston, you might not know who to turn to. Thankfully, the West Virginia personal injury lawyers at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress know exactly how to help you. Keep reading to learn more about when a business is liable for your injury and how one of our attorneys can guide you through your claim.
How to Prove Your Personal Injury Claim Against a Business
Above we talked about the duty of care that a business is expected to provide its customers. When it comes to proving your personal injury case against a business, this duty of care is a main component of your case. In order to make a claim, you must have these three elements:
- The business owed a duty of care to their customer
- The business breached the duty of care
- That breach of care is what caused your injury
In West Virginia, the duty of care is limited to only hazards or dangers that are hidden to visitors, which can make your claim against a business tricky. West Virginia property owners are not legally obligated to protect people on the property from dangers that are open or obvious to both the property owner or occupant.
This wording makes it difficult to pin down what is considered open or obvious. An open or obvious hazard would be something that the visitor acknowledges and recognizes as a danger, like a large step in a clothing store. Although they could trip on the step, it is considered an open and obvious hazard because it is not hidden, and so the visitor is most likely at fault for their injuries if they trip and fall on the step.
Breached Duty of Care Examples
Since our state focuses on hazards that are open and obvious, a business could be at fault for an injury if they try to hide a danger to their visitors, and that danger ends up causing an injury. For example, if a restaurant has a foot-sized hole in the floor, but covers it with a rug, then they are hiding the hazard. So then if a customer’s foot goes through the hole and they break their ankle, the customer would not be liable for their injuries because the restaurant hid the danger.
In other scenarios, distraction could lead to your injury. Your lawyer might argue that other factors like loud music and dim lighting in a clothing store could distract shoppers from a big step in front of them, causing them to trip and get injured. In this case, the business could be at fault because even though the large step was obvious, and even might have been painted yellow to alert visitors of it, the music and lighting provided enough of a distraction that they couldn’t notice the hazard.
At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, our experienced personal injury attorneys can expertly help you navigate our state’s premises liability laws and figure out how to best prove your case. We know how difficult the time after an injury can be for you and your family. You could have medical bills, lost wages from missing work, trouble healing physically and emotionally, and plenty of other complications to overcome. With us by your side, you will be able to focus on recovery while we handle the legal side of things and getting you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today so that we can start talking about your potential claim.