Virginia Public Property Premises Liability Lawyer

If someone was injured on public property in Virginia such as a school, a park, or a government building, there are specific rules that apply in this context.

These specific rules may be governed by issues such as government immunity, the Virginia Tort Claims Act, Federal Tort Claims Act, and other specific laws.

To determine how these specific rules may apply to your premises liability claim in Virginia, it is pertinent that you consult with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable Virginia premises liability attorney can build a case to help successfully recover on your behalf.

Determining Negligence

The negligence standard is the same whether the accident occurs on public or private property. The difference in the cases would involve how to notify the public entity and how to plead the case.

In addition, there may be certain defenses available for public property that are not available for private property, which can be best explored using a Virginia public property premises liability lawyer.

The liability laws as they pertain to public property vary between counties and cities, in addition to the courts.

Sovereign Immunity

Sovereign immunity refers to the fact that counties in Virginia are generally exempt from immunity when performing governmental duties and functions.

The sovereign immunity standard means that if during the course of their governmental function, a snow plow, for example, hits a person’s car that is parked on a city street or county street, a person cannot sue the county due to sovereign immunity. This may apply and arise in many other cases, including premises liability cases.

Classification of the Property

If the property classification is public property, this complicates the case. It means that the individual has to follow a specific procedure in their pleading and in how they notify the responsible party.

Additionally, their claim for damages may be subject to certain defenses that are not available to private property owners, specifically the defense of sovereign immunity. Such circumstances can be best explained when utilizing a public property premises liability lawyer in Virginia.

Recoverable Damages

A person can recover the same types of damages they may recover for any type of personal injury action in a public property premises liability case.

This would include special damages, which are generally medical bills and lost wages. General damages include pain and suffering. Also, there are certain circumstances for punitive damages.

Generally, punitive damages are not available for public premises liability cases, but an individual would want to discuss that with an experienced Virginia public property premises liability attorney based on the specific facts of their case.

Preventing Damages

There are a wide variety of factors that may prevent people from pursuing damages awarded they ultimately deserve. Most significantly, if they are not able to establish liability against the public property owner or the public property custodian, they may be unable to be awarded damages.

The reasons someone may be unable to prove liability include a notice defense and contributory negligence among others.  Also, the injured person’s treating provider may not be able to establish a “causal connection” between the injuries claimed and the mechanics of the premises liability action.

For example, if an individual slips and falls with little force and claims a broken arm six weeks later, there may be an issue with recovering damages for that injury. Such issues should be best handled using a Virginia public property premises liability lawyer immediately.