West Virginia Trial Lawyers


Free Consultation

Charleston Premises Liability Lawyer

Charleston Premises Liability Lawyer

You’re walking down the street and trip over a cracked piece of cement, or you’re hanging out with your friends at a local restaurant and step through a broken stair on the outdoor patio. These accidents happen suddenly, every day, and often lead to injuries, mostly minor, but sometimes not.

When you suffer an accident or injury, you end up with medical bills, possibly lost work, or any number of other damages. And, when such an incident occurs on someone else’s property, you want the property owner to be held responsible.

While cases like yours should be easy, sometimes the laws can be confusing; that’s where a knowledgeable Charleston premises liability lawyer from Hendrickson & Long, PLLC, can help.

Common Premises Injury Cases

While the details of your specific case are unique, accidents just like yours happen all over our historic city, and our office is equipped to fight for you. Our lawyers handle a wide variety of premises liability claims due to hazards such as:

  • Broken stairways and handrails
  • Falling objects
  • Obstructed walkways
  • Slip or trip and fall accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Elevator or escalator accidents
  • Uneven walkways
  • Water leaks or flooding
  • Fires
  • Potholes or broken pavement in parking lots
  • Animal attacks or dog bites
  • Snow or ice accidents
  • Toxic fumes or chemicals
  • Inadequate security or improper safety measures

The injuries you’ve suffered, although they may be minor, are serious to our firm, and someone besides you should pay for the damage that occurred.

Who Can Be Held Responsible for Injury Incidents on Properties?

If you suffer an injury on someone else’s property and you’re considering filing a premises liability claim, you may be wondering who’s going to pay for your medical bills or other damages.

While most cases like this are relatively straightforward, some circumstances may end up making your claim more complicated. Depending on the exact details of your case, you and your lawyer may be able to file your claim against any of the following persons or groups:

  • Property owner
  • Landlord
  • Tenant
  • Property management company
  • Government entity (if your injury was in a public space maintained by the city or local governmental authorities)

With the help of a qualified attorney from Hendrickson & Long, PLLC, you can file your personal injury lawsuit and get full compensation for your injuries and damages suffered due to someone else’s negligence.

Some exceptions may apply, however. According to West Virginia law, property owners do not have a duty to protect visitors from open and obvious dangers, such as a large hole in the ground that you acknowledge is there and then step into it and fall.

In other words, if you saw the danger before your accident and then suffered an injury, the property owner will likely not be held liable.

How To Know if You Have a Case Worth Pursuing

When dealing with an injury that occurred on someone else’s property, it’s right to want to hold those at fault responsible, and while you may think you have an open and shut case, you might not.

No one doubts that you were injured while on property belonging to someone else; however, in order to have the best chance at compensation from a property owner, there are other factors at play, including the elements of negligence.

Determining Elements of Negligence

Sometimes, these cases are not that easy because certain elements must be proven to pursue a negligence case against the owner of a property.

These elements include:

  • Duty of care: The property owner or manager owed a duty of care to any visitors or patrons to keep up with maintenance
  • Breach of duty: The property owner or manager failed to meet this duty, creating or ignoring dangerous conditions on the property
  • Causation: You were directly harmed by the hazardous property conditions
  • Damages: Evidence of the injuries or damages that you have suffered

All four of these elements must occur in order to prove negligence, which is often what makes these claims tricky. In some cases, the property owner or manager may not be responsible for the unsafe condition of the property.

This is why hiring a Charleston premises liability lawyer from our office is essential to your case because we understand all the nuances of cases just like yours and what evidence is necessary to prove the aforementioned elements.

Why Visitor Type Matters

Another important component of a premises liability case is what type of visitor you were on the property: the reason why you were there.

For example, if you were shopping at a boutique when the injury occurred, you likely have a much stronger case than if you were injured intruding on a company’s parking lot after hours. The type of visitor you are determines if you have grounds for a case against the property owner.

There are generally three recognized categories for property visitors:


An invitee is a person who has express or implied permission to enter a property, such as patrons at a restaurant. Property owners owe invitees the greatest duty of care and should inspect their property regularly to ensure any known hazards are remedied immediately and warn visitors of any other existing issues that have yet to be fixed.


A licensee is a person who has consent to be on a property but just to visit for non-business reasons, such as a friend or family member joining you for a birthday party. Property owners have the same duty to fix or warn of known hazards, but unlike with invitees, the property owner isn’t required to regularly inspect the property for licensees.


A trespasser is someone who enters a property (building, home, land, etc.) without the owner’s permission. In this instance, property owners owe no duty of care whatsoever to the injured individual.

An exception to this is if the property has what’s called an attractive nuisance, such as a swimming pool.

Then, the property owner must have proper safety protocols in place to prevent reasonably foreseeable injuries. For example, a property that has a pool should also have a fence around it to protect children from falling in and drowning.

If you are unsure what type of visitor you were at the time your injury occurred, your attorney will help you go over all the evidence and determine what type of visitor you were and whether or not you can file a lawsuit.

Injuries Commonly Sustained in Premises Liability Claims

Due to such a wide range of accidents that occur on other people’s property, there is also a wide range of injuries or damage that are incurred. These incidents can happen anytime, anyplace, from your local barber shop to your neighbor’s front porch, and they often result in the following types of injuries:

  • Cuts and abrasions
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Burns
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Loss of limbs
  • Infection (especially in the case of dog bites or animal attacks)
  • Wrongful death (only in some rare cases)

If the injury or damage you suffered is not listed here, our office will still likely handle your case. Your lawyer will inform you during your free consultation if your case or injuries will make a solid case against the property owner.

Damages for West Virginia Injury Victims

As with most other personal injury claims, when you suffer injury or damage on a premises owned by someone else, you can claim compensation for both economic (financial) and non-economic (non-financial) losses. Those can be, but are not limited to:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical treatment
  • Lost wages
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Property damage

Additionally, in some cases, gross negligence is the cause of damage or injury. Gross negligence is defined in West Virginia § 55-7D-2 as “any voluntary or conscious conduct, including failure to act, by a person who, at the time of the conduct, knew that the conduct was likely to be harmful to the health or wellbeing of another person.”

If this can be proven in your case, you may receive compensation for punitive damages.

Why Hire a Premises Liability Lawyer?

Handling all the moving parts and complex details of a premises liability case can be a daunting task for someone who doesn’t have experience with West Virginia laws. When you hire one of our attorneys from Hendrickson & Long, PLLC, you are guaranteed to have a skilled and experienced lawyer fighting in your corner.

We will take on the task of determining if you have a case, presenting your case within the two years required, and gathering evidence (such as pictures of the scene of the accident, medical bills, proof of lost wages, witness statements, etc.), while you heal from your traumatic experience.

Let us handle your case so you don’t have another thing to worry about. Contact our office online or by phone and see how we can assist you and get you the full compensation you deserve.

Free Consultations


Call us or fill out the form on the right to tell us about your potential case. An attorney will get back to you as quickly as possible.