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Whenever you lawfully visit property owned or managed by another person, that person takes on a “duty” under law to protect you from certain types of harm while you are on his or her land. However, the specific duty that a landowner holds under premises liability law can change significantly from case to case. Many people find it difficult to navigate the complicated web of state statutes and court decisions that make up premises liability law.
Assistance from a West Virginia premises liability lawyer can be invaluable after an accident from poor property maintenance. Once retained, your capable personal injury attorney can explain how the law applies to your situation, help you determine a fair value for all your recoverable losses, and make the case against the defendant.
West Virginia law imposes different requirements on landowners when it comes to maintaining their land in reasonably safe condition, depending on why a visitor is on that land to begin with. To start, landowners generally have no duty to protect adult trespassers from accidental injuries on their property. They may still be liable for injuries to trespassing children under certain circumstances, and they also cannot do anything to intentionally and knowingly hurt a trespasser.
If someone is a “licensee,” such as a personal houseguest who is visiting solely for his or her own benefit, property owners must provide advance warning about all hazardous conditions they are aware of on their property. This duty of care extends even further for so-called “invitees” if their visit also benefits the landowner. In this scenario, the landowner may be liable for failing to discover hazardous conditions which he or she should have known about through regular inspection of his or her property.
A West Virginia property liability lawyer could help a plaintiff identify which type of visitor they were.
Theoretically, landowners in West Virginia are not liable for injuries caused by hazards which were “open and obvious” to any reasonable person, as per West Virginia Code § 55-7-28. It is worth noting that this state statute was put in place as a direct response to a state Supreme Court ruling which declared a previous version of this rule to be unconstitutional.
A dangerous property lawsuit or settlement demand against a liable landowner can incorporate both economic and non-economic forms of harm like:
Unlike with some other types of civil litigation, there are no artificial “caps” placed by state law on how much money an injured visitor can demand for non-economic damages. Support from a seasoned lawyer is still vital to getting the biggest recovery possible from a premises liability claim in West Virginia.
Without guidance from an experienced legal professional, it is going to be difficult to hold a negligent landowner liable for the harm he or she has caused you. Even if it seems obvious through available evidence that he or she holds all the fault for your accident, their defense team will try to put blame on you.
Schedule a free consultation with a West Virginia premises liability lawyer to gain clarity and learn your next steps. Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law will help you in this difficult time.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law