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Accidents Absence: Lack of Prior Accidents

This page is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court dealing with the topic of absence of prior accidents referred to herein as accidents absence and the related topic of premises liability.

Accidents Absence -Cases

1999 Wood v. Woolfolk Props., Inc., 258 Va. 133, 515 S.E.2d 304.

Plaintiff fell outside restaurant located in shopping center owned by defendant Bellgrade. Defendant Woolfolk is managing member of Bellgrade and provides property management and maintenance services to shopping center. Plaintiff fell on curb where there is transitional area that is slanted rather than perpendicular. Chief executive of Woolfolk made decision as to painting of curb area. Trial court allowed Woolfolk representative to testify as to absence of prior accidents. Court admitted this evidence solely for issue of notice. Trial court dismissed Woolfolk (manager) from suit on grounds that thrust of plaintiff’s claim against defendants was that curb area was dangerous or unsafe in design and not how it was maintained. This decision was upheld. Admission of prior accidents, however, was error and court applied general rule that lack of similar prior accidents is generally not admissible in negligence action. The admission of this evidence by trial court was reversible error.

1991 Goins v. Wendy’s Int’l, 242 Va. 333, 410 S.E.2d 635.

Food poisoning case. Accidents absence: Trial court erred in admitting evidence of absence of other complaints about food.

1952 Virginia Beach v. Starr, 194 Va. 34, 72 S.E.2d 239.

Court makes mention that no prior accidents reported.

1950 Holland v. Harrell, 190 Va. 613, 58 S.E.2d 1.

Absence of prior accident mentioned.

1948 Virginia Stage Lines v. Newcomb, 187 Va. 677, 47 S.E.2d 446.

Testimony admitted as to absence of prior accident.

1945 Stephens v. VEPCO, 184 Va. 94, 34 S.E.2d 374.

Evidence of there having been no prior similar accidents was admitted.

1945 Sanitary Grocery Co. v. Steinbrecher, 183 Va. 495, 32 S.E.2d 685.

Accidents absence:Evidence of absence of other injuries is not admissible when timely objection is made.

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Accidents Absence: Lack of Prior Accidents

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