Premises Liability Claims in South Carolina
Many slip and fall accidents cause victims little more than a moment of embarrassment. For some people, however, a slip or fall accident can result in severe injury. At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A,. we are committed to helping victims injured in slip and fall accidents receive fair compensation for their injuries and suffering. Our firm has helped countless clients hold negligent property owners liable for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Slip and fall accidents are more common and more serious than most people think. The costs associated with the multitude of slip and fall accidents that happen every year in South Carolina are astronomical. If you have been injured in a fall accident that was caused by negligence on the part of the property owner, you may be entitled to compensation for all your injury-related expenses and effects such as pain and suffering, short and long term disability, and lost wages.
What are slip and fall accidents?
Slip and fall accidents involve a victim slipping or tripping and suffering an injury on someone else’s property. Slip and fall claims are personal injury claims handled under the doctrine of premises liability.
What are types of slip and fall accidents?
Property owners and managers have a legal responsibility to keep their property reasonably free from unnecessary risks and hazards. These can include:
- Wet floors and walkways. One of the most common types of slip and fall accidents involves falls caused by wet floors and walkways. Retail stores and public buildings that fail to address wet surfaces or warn customers of slippery surfaces can be held liable for injuries. Carpets, plastic runners, bag stands for wet umbrellas, and caution signs warning passersby of a wet surface can significantly reduce the chance of an accident or injury. Spills in public places should be covered until they are cleaned up, and wet floor fans can be used to help expedite quick drying of wet surfaces. When those responsible for maintaining the space fail to take adequate steps to protect those they invite onto the property, they should be held accountable.
- Snow and ice on sidewalks, parking lots, and roadways. Snow and ice may be unavoidable, but it is the responsibility of the property owner to remove these dangers as soon as possible following a storm or cold weather event. Snow and ice removal should be followed by salt or sand applications to reduce the risk of slips and falls. Areas cleared of snow and ice can quickly refreeze once the sun goes down or temperatures drop. Adding a layer of salt or sand can keep ice from reforming on these surfaces. Parking lots with black ice can be dangerous places for vehicles and pedestrians that mistake icy areas for wet surfaces. Reapplication of abrasives to these areas can reduce the likelihood of a slip and fall accident.
- Poor lighting in parking lots. Broken bones, serious sprains, cuts and lacerations, and head injuries can result when people fall into a pothole or trip over a wheel stop that may not be visible during nighttime hours. Property owners are responsible for providing adequate lighting in these areas as well as fixing potholes and painting wheel stops in bright, reflective colors to help avoid accidents.
- Poorly maintained handrails. Loose, damaged, or missing handrails on stairways can cause people to tumble down stairs and suffer traumatic brain injuries and broken bones. Homeowners, retailers, and managers of public spaces should conduct regular inspections and routine maintenance on stairways and handrails to reduce the risk of injuries.
- Torn carpet and damaged flooring. Uneven floor surfaces can result in a person losing their balance and falling onto their head, back or spinal area. Torn carpet edges can cause a person to trip and fall forward, often leading to head and facial injuries and broken arms and hands. Property owners can be held responsible for these injuries when they fail to fix loose handrails or broken stairs in a timely manner.
Are slip and fall cases hard to win?
Slip and fall cases can be challenging to pursue successfully. A victim will need to take certain steps to help prove the property owner’s liability. These could include:
- Taking photos and videos at the scene
- Collecting witness information
- Gathering documentation, including medical records
A qualified slip and fall attorney could help gather and prepare evidence to demonstrate liability. For instance, a premises liability lawyer could subpoena to obtain footage from security cameras. Assistance from an experienced slip and fall lawyer could make it much easier to prove negligence and receive appropriate compensation.
How do you prove negligence in a slip and fall accident?
In order to succeed in recovering damages, a victim must prove the negligence of the property owner or occupier caused the slip and fall accident. The victim should be prepared to demonstrate that:
- The property owner or occupier owed the victim a duty of care
- They breached this duty of care
- The breach caused the accident
- The accident resulted in damages
An knowledgeable attorney can help satisfy these requirements and build a strong case.
Who is responsible for a slip and fall accident?
Generally, the property owner or occupier is responsible for injuries resulting from a slip and fall accident. Owners and occupiers have a duty to keep their premises safe for all visitors, and if they fail to fulfill this duty, they will be liable for harm that occurs as a result. The extent of the duty owed generally depends on the circumstances of the case.
South Carolina Premises Liability Law
Premises liability laws in South Carolina have strict mandates and deadlines. Because the laws applicable to slip and fall cases are complex, it is wise for an accident victim to consult an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer who can work to ensure that the case meets the burden of proof and complies with deadlines established by the statute of limitations.
Victims of slip and fall accidents should seek medical attention for their injuries as soon as possible. This can help ensure proper treatment of the injury as well as provide valuable documentation of the circumstances regarding the accident. Additionally, pictures of the accident scene and witness testimony should be gathered soon after the incident. Both provide vital forms of evidence needed to help prove the negligence of the property owner. Medical records and documentation of all diagnostic tests and results are also critical when pursuing a claim. An experienced premises liability lawyer will be able to establish the right legal strategy and determine if it is in the best interest of the plaintiff to pursue a trial or negotiate a settlement.
Columbia Premises Liability Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Victims of Slip and Fall Accidents Claim Compensation
If you have been a victim of a slip and fall accident caused by negligence, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Call our premises liability lawyers in Columbia at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. at 803-929-3600 or 866-881-8623, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. We serve clients in South Carolina with five offices conveniently located throughout the state, including the communities of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, Newberry County, Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.