If you experience a slip and fall on another person’s property, does that automatically mean the property owner is responsible for your injuries in Lake Wylie, South Carolina? In short, the answer is no. But there are some situations where the property owner could be held responsible for a resulting injury. In South Carolina, owners owe specific duties of care to people on their properties and, when owners breach these duties, they can be held responsible for the damages.
The Duties of Property Owners in South Carolina
This field of law is referred to as premises liability. In South Carolina, to recover damages in a premises liability case, the injured person must prove a couple of different things.
One of the most common examples of premises liability personal injury cases in Lake Wylie, South Carolina is a slip and fall in a store. If you are shopping at a store in South Carolina, you are considered an “invitee.” This means that the store owner owes you a duty of care and must avoid creating hazards and must work to discover such hazards or risks on their premises. In the case of a slip and fall, store owners can be found liable if you can prove that the owner or her employees created a slipping hazard, perhaps by spilling something on the floor, or that the owner knew or should have known about the substance on the floor.
You may also need to prove that the owner or employees failed to remove the substance or adequately warn shoppers of the danger. You are, of course, expected to watch where you are going, and a store owner cannot may not be held responsible if the substance was obvious. In other words, if a reasonable person would have noticed the substance, the owner of the property is not required to warn others of the substance or remove it.
Many personal injury cases in Lake Wylie, South Carolina occur when a shopper slips and falls on a wet floor that an employee has just mopped. In such cases, the employee creates a risk and has a duty to remove the risk or properly warn people about it. This is why you usually see “Wet Floor” signs in the freshly-mopped area. By doing so, the property owner has fulfilled his legal duty to warn you of the hazard. But if there is no wet floor sign and you slip and fall, the store owner may be held responsible for your injuries.
This can make recovery of damages in such cases challenging, especially if there is no video evidence or other witnesses.
Filing a Slip and Fall Personal Injury Suit in Lake Wylie, South Carolina
As with most states in the U.S., there is a time limit within which you must file your claim for your personal injury. This time period is known as the statute of limitations and for slip and fall cases in South Carolina, you have three years from the date your injury occurred to file a claim against most parties. If you choose to file a lawsuit against a property owner who is responsible for unsafe conditions on the property that resulted in your injury, you must ensure you file the complaint in court within the three-year time period.
You must keep in mind that your case can hinge on whether or not the property owner took necessary steps to keep the property safe and to prevent an accident from happening. So, some of the primary questions that your personal injury attorney will address include:
- Was the owner of the property negligent?
- Did the property owner’s negligence result in your slip and fall?
If you fail to file your personal injury lawsuit in Lake Wylie, South Carolina before the three-year time period is up, the court will dismiss the case and it will not be heard at all.
Not every instance of a slip and fall personal injury leads to a lawsuit being filed, yet it is still good to know what your options are. Even if your injury claim can be resolved with a settlement, it’s important to ensure you leave enough time to get the process started.
A South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help Your Case
The law on personal injury in Lake Wylie, South Carolina is not always clear cut, and every case hinges on the specifics of the property, the owner, and the available evidence. An experienced attorney from Elrod Pope can help you with your case and fight for the full amount of compensation you deserve. Our personal injury attorneys have the experience to present your case and help you determine the property owner’s liability and ensure you are reimbursed for your injuries. Contact our team today for a consultation.
Thomas E. Pope is a Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Medical Malpractice Attorney who practices in Rock Hill, Lake Wylie, and Lancaster, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 31 years now. Thomas E. Pope believes in protecting the injured. Learn more about his experience here.