As a general rule, landowners in Virginia have an affirmative duty to ensure that their property is safe for visitors. Of course, the level of the duty imposed on a landowner depends greatly on the reason for the guest’s visit. For example, trespassers are owed a trivial duty compared to customers or those who are visiting for commercial reasons. In fact, customers are owed the highest level of care.
When a store fails to take the necessary precautions to keep their property safe, and a visitor is injured as a result of that failure, the landowner may be held liable for any injuries through a Virginia premises liability lawsuit. In order to prevail in a Virginia slip-and-fall case against a grocery store, the plaintiff must be able to prove certain elements. One of the most commonly contested elements in premises liability cases is that of the defendant’s knowledge of the hazard. A recent case shows how one plaintiff was able to establish sufficient evidence to survive a store’s motion for summary judgement.
The plaintiff slipped and fell on a “brownish, oily substance” while shopping with her husband at the defendant grocery store. According to the plaintiff and her husband, the spill originated from a bottle of juice they had put into their cart. In support of her claim, the plaintiff presented evidence showing that at the time of her fall, a store employee was cleaning up a similar spill in an adjacent aisle.
The store moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff had failed to establish that it was aware of the spill and had the opportunity to clean it up. The plaintiff argued that the fact a store employee was already cleaning up a similar spill indicated the store was aware of the spill. The plaintiff also pointed to the fact that, while there was a video camera that should have captured the plaintiff’s fall, only a few seconds of footage were preserved by the store.
The court ruled in the plaintiff’s favor, explaining that she only needed to give rise to a material issue of fact, and the evidence she presented to the court was sufficient to meet that threshold. The court explained that it is not appropriate for lower courts to weigh the evidence in an attempt to resolve the ultimate issue because that duty is reserved for the jury. Thus, the court held that the plaintiff’s case should proceed toward trial.
Have You Been Injured in a Virginia Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently slipped and fallen in a Virginia grocery store, or at any other commercial location, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for any back injuries, broken bones, or other injuries you have sustained. The dedicated Virginia personal injury attorneys at Charles B. Roberts, P.C. have extensive experience handling all types of cases, including Virginia slip-and-fall accidents. We provide all prospective clients with a free consultation to discuss their case and how we may be able to help them recover compensation for their injuries. To learn more, call 703-491-7070 to schedule your free consultation today.
See More Blog Posts:
Court Rejects Plaintiff’s Uninsured Motorist Claim in Recent Car Accident Case, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, June 5, 2018.
Court Discusses the Doctrine of Imputed Negligence in Recent Car Accident Case, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, May 4, 2018.