Due to unforeseen hazards, people can easily trip and fall while shopping at a store, going through an office building or walking on a sidewalk. They can even suffer fall injuries while visiting a neighbor’s home. All too often, these slip and falls occur due to the property owner’s negligence or the negligence of another party who was in control of the premises and responsible for its maintenance.
If you recently suffered injuries in a slip and fall in Manning or one of the surrounding communities in South Carolina, the attorneys of Land Parker Welch LLC want to help you. We are a family-run law firm that is dedicated to helping injured people to recover the compensation they are due. To discuss your case and learn more, contact us today and receive a free consultation about your slip and fall case.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in South Carolina
When you enter someone else’s property, you have the right to expect the premises to be safe and free of hazards. For instance, you should expect that:
- The floors will be dry.
- You will not encounter a sudden, unmarked change in elevation.
- The aisles and walkways will be free of unexpected obstacles.
- Display shelves won’t give way if you touch them.
- The steps will be evenly spaced and up to code.
- Stair railings will be sturdy and secure.
- The lighting will allow you to see where you are going.
- Ice and other weather hazards will be cleared in a timely fashion.
When business owners and homeowners fail to identify and warn patrons or guests of hazards, they put others at risk. After an injury, it is important to speak with an attorney from a personal injury law firm near you in order to determine your legal rights and options.
How Do You Prove a Slip and Fall Claim?
South Carolina law allows you to recover compensation for injuries if you can prove that another party was negligent. The concept of negligence requires you to prove the following basic elements in a slip and fall claim:
Duty. First, you need to prove that the business or property owner owed you a specific duty. This duty will depend on your relationship to the property owner. South Carolina law puts visitors into three categories:
- Invitees – This category includes customers and those on the property for some mutual benefit. A property owner owes the highest level of care to an invitee. A business owner, for instance, must warn customers of dangers and take reasonable steps to keep the property free from hazards.
- Licensees – Social guests fall into this category. The property owner must only warn of potential hidden defects that would not be readily obvious to others.
- Trespassers – People who enter property without permission of the owner or any lawful purpose fall into this category. In general, the owner has no duty to protect trespassers. One exception exists for child trespasser. If there is something about the property that could reasonably attract young children such as a trampoline or pool, the homeowner typically must take reasonable steps to protect against small children from getting hurt by the “attractive nuisance.”
Breach. Next, you must prove that the property owner violated his or her duty in some way. For instance, hiding a defect or failing to fix a broken step could serve as a breach of duty. If the property owner had actual “notice” of the defect, then it would be negligent to simply ignore it. Sometimes, notice is constructive. This means that a hazard may have existed for so long that a reasonable property owner would have been expected to know about it.
Causation. It is not enough to prove you got hurt on someone’s property. You also must prove that the fall actually caused your injury.
Damages. Finally, you must substantiate your injury by showing the amount of loss or financial impact of the injury.
Our firm will move quickly to interview witnesses, gather physical evidence and research legal theories to support your case. We can handle all of the slip and fall settlement negotiations and, if necessary, take your case to trial.
What Types of Damages Can You Recover in a Slip and Fall Claim?
Damages fall into three broad categories:
Economic damages. These are things that can be measured monetarily such as:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Future lost earnings
- Other out-of-pocket expenses.
Non-economic damages. These damages include things that are more subjective such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress.
Punitive damages. These damages are available in only the most egregious cases of reckless or willful and wanton behavior. They are intended to punish the property owner and deter the owner from doing the same thing again. For instance, these damages may potentially be sought in a case where the owner intentionally hid an unsafe condition with the knowledge that it would likely hurt someone.
How Long Do You Have to File a Slip and Fall Lawsuit in South Carolina?
In most cases, you will only have three years from the date of your injury to bring a lawsuit against the property owner in South Carolina. There are a few narrow exceptions that can actually reduce this time frame such as where you are suing a state or municipal agency.
If you pursue your case against the negligent party for the death of a loved one, you will have only three years from the date of death in order to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. For these reasons, it is imperative that you contact a slip and fall injury lawyer right away.
Our South Carolina Slip and Fall Attorneys Are Here for You
The Manning slip and fall attorneys of Land Parker Welch LLC want to help you and your family to pursue compensation. To learn more about your rights and legal options, contact us today. Our initial consultations are free. We also will charge no attorney fees unless we secure compensation for you.