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Constructive Knowledge

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Constructive Knowledge

Brien Roche

Constructive Knowledge Is Key

The term “constructive” is used on a frequent basis in the law.  It is comes from the word “construe”.  To “construe” something means to find the meaning. When you hear the term constructive knowledge or constructive fraud you are not dealing with actual knowledge or fraud. Rather you are dealing with something that is construed to be knowledge or fraud. In the context of constructive fraud, what that means is that you are not dealing with actual fraud. Actual fraud is lying with the intent to cause harm. With constructive fraud you are dealing with something that is “construed” to be fraud. It is not intentional but it does involve a false statement.

A Key Concept

Constructive knowledge or notice is a key concept in premises claims. Fairfax premises liabilty is a subject of other posts on this site.

As indicated above, what constructive notice or knowledge means is that the person does not have actual knowledge or notice. Rather, the person is construed to know of the thing at issue. This is because of the facts surrounding the event.

For instance, in one case from the Virginia Supreme Court, the plaintiff was injured when a door did not function as it was supposed to. The door struck him as he exited.  The plaintiff offered evidence of a witness who had gone through the same type of event. This prior event was two weeks before.  In addition, an employee of the building owner stated he had done repair work on the door before the event. That was enough to prove constructive notice to the owner of the building. That is the owner had constructive knowledge that the door may have a defect. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Lack of Proof Is A Frequent Problem

In another case from the Supreme Court the plaintiff entered a lobby of an office building on a rainy day.  There was a mat inside the front door to absorb water as persons entered.  The plaintiff walked on the mat and then stepped on the marble floor. The plaintif fell in a puddle of water.  The plaintiff said that the owner should have foreseen that water would be brought into the building. The plaintiff argued that because of this the floor would become slick and create a hazard.  The Court did not agree. The court ruled that the plaintiff had failed to present enough proof that the owner had actual or constructive notice of the water being present.  As such, the court reversed the verdict for the plaintiff.

The Proof May Not Be Direct Proof

In most cases where someone is trying to prove constructive knowledge or notice it is proved by what is called “circumstantial evidence”.  This is a matter of collecting facts that point to an event having occurred. Tracks in the snow that are the size of a deer hoof are circumstantial proof of a deer crossing that path. In a case reported by the Supreme Court the plaintiff fell at a open air event that had been in progress for four days.  The event sponsor had reason to believe that there might be water meter holes on the property. Under the terms of the lease of the property the sponsor had the duty to inspect the property.  The Court held in that instance a fact question existed as whether the sponsor had constructive knowledge of the presence of the hole that the plaintiff fell into.

Lack Of Proof Is Fatal

The concept of constructive knowledge most often comes up in premises cases where the plaintiff is required to prove actual or constructive knowledge of the defect.  That defect may be a door that does not work as it should. It may be a puddle of fluid on the floor.  The plaintiff has to present some proof that the person who controls the area knew or should have known of that “defect” before the plaintiff’s injury.  If the plaintiff fails to present that proof then the plaintiff cannot prevail.

Similar Prior Accidents and Liability

Similar prior accidents may be admissible at trial and may be compelling evidence to prove liability in your case. This evidence of similar accidents provides a clear method of quantifying the type and degree of danger that is associated with the product or place. This clearly demonstrates where the defect is and how it can cause injury.

In some cases, premises or product liability, you don’t find the precise defect that caused the injury. Evidence of prior accidents involving the same product or object may be key to proving notice. Notice or foreseeability may be the basis for liability. The plaintiff has to prove that the danger existed, that the defendant knew or should have known of the danger and that the failure to protect from or warn of the danger was unreasonable.

Similar prior accidents is admissible not only to prove the danger but to prove notice and causation.

The threshold requirement for admissibility of prior accidents is that the prior accident is the same or substantially similar to the one in this case. Also it must involve the same or similar product or object.

Similar Prior Accidents and Subsequent Accidents

This type of evidence is not necessarily just limited to prior incidents.  Evidence of similar incidents occurring after the plaintiff’s injury may also be admissible  This is so on the theory that it establishes dangerousness or a defective condition.
For more info on constructive knowledge and other topics related to premises liability see the other pages on this site. Also see the pages on product liabilty. In addition see the pages on Wikipedia.

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Constructive Knowledge

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Constructive Knowledge

Brien Roche

Constructive Knowledge Is Key

The term “constructive” is used on a frequent basis in the law.  It is comes from the word “construe”.  To “construe” something means to find the meaning. When you hear the term constructive knowledge or constructive fraud you are not dealing with actual knowledge or fraud. Rather you are dealing with something that is construed to be knowledge or fraud. In the context of constructive fraud, what that means is that you are not dealing with actual fraud. Actual fraud is lying with the intent to cause harm. With constructive fraud you are dealing with something that is “construed” to be fraud. It is not intentional but it does involve a false statement.

A Key Concept

Constructive knowledge or notice is a key concept in premises claims. Fairfax premises liabilty is a subject of other posts on this site.

As indicated above, what constructive notice or knowledge means is that the person does not have actual knowledge or notice. Rather, the person is construed to know of the thing at issue. This is because of the facts surrounding the event.

For instance, in one case from the Virginia Supreme Court, the plaintiff was injured when a door did not function as it was supposed to. The door struck him as he exited.  The plaintiff offered evidence of a witness who had gone through the same type of event. This prior event was two weeks before.  In addition, an employee of the building owner stated he had done repair work on the door before the event. That was enough to prove constructive notice to the owner of the building. That is the owner had constructive knowledge that the door may have a defect. Call, or contact us for a free consult.

Lack of Proof Is A Frequent Problem

In another case from the Supreme Court the plaintiff entered a lobby of an office building on a rainy day.  There was a mat inside the front door to absorb water as persons entered.  The plaintiff walked on the mat and then stepped on the marble floor. The plaintif fell in a puddle of water.  The plaintiff said that the owner should have foreseen that water would be brought into the building. The plaintiff argued that because of this the floor would become slick and create a hazard.  The Court did not agree. The court ruled that the plaintiff had failed to present enough proof that the owner had actual or constructive notice of the water being present.  As such, the court reversed the verdict for the plaintiff.

The Proof May Not Be Direct Proof

In most cases where someone is trying to prove constructive knowledge or notice it is proved by what is called “circumstantial evidence”.  This is a matter of collecting facts that point to an event having occurred. Tracks in the snow that are the size of a deer hoof are circumstantial proof of a deer crossing that path. In a case reported by the Supreme Court the plaintiff fell at a open air event that had been in progress for four days.  The event sponsor had reason to believe that there might be water meter holes on the property. Under the terms of the lease of the property the sponsor had the duty to inspect the property.  The Court held in that instance a fact question existed as whether the sponsor had constructive knowledge of the presence of the hole that the plaintiff fell into.

Lack Of Proof Is Fatal

The concept of constructive knowledge most often comes up in premises cases where the plaintiff is required to prove actual or constructive knowledge of the defect.  That defect may be a door that does not work as it should. It may be a puddle of fluid on the floor.  The plaintiff has to present some proof that the person who controls the area knew or should have known of that “defect” before the plaintiff’s injury.  If the plaintiff fails to present that proof then the plaintiff cannot prevail.

Similar Prior Accidents and Liability

Similar prior accidents may be admissible at trial and may be compelling evidence to prove liability in your case. This evidence of similar accidents provides a clear method of quantifying the type and degree of danger that is associated with the product or place. This clearly demonstrates where the defect is and how it can cause injury.

In some cases, premises or product liability, you don’t find the precise defect that caused the injury. Evidence of prior accidents involving the same product or object may be key to proving notice. Notice or foreseeability may be the basis for liability. The plaintiff has to prove that the danger existed, that the defendant knew or should have known of the danger and that the failure to protect from or warn of the danger was unreasonable.

Similar prior accidents is admissible not only to prove the danger but to prove notice and causation.

The threshold requirement for admissibility of prior accidents is that the prior accident is the same or substantially similar to the one in this case. Also it must involve the same or similar product or object.

Similar Prior Accidents and Subsequent Accidents

This type of evidence is not necessarily just limited to prior incidents.  Evidence of similar incidents occurring after the plaintiff’s injury may also be admissible  This is so on the theory that it establishes dangerousness or a defective condition.
For more info on constructive knowledge and other topics related to premises liability see the other pages on this site. Also see the pages on product liabilty. In addition see the pages on Wikipedia.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation