Slip-and-fall claims, also known as trip-and-fall claims, when the incident involves tripping, rather than slipping, fall under the category of premises liability personal injury claims. This is because a slip or trip and fall injury occurs on the someone’s property. However, simply falling down on someone else’s property doesn’t automatically qualify you to compensation from that individual or their insurance policy. There’s a bit more to it than that. For instance, the incident has to have occurred through the negligence of the property owner or property management, it has to have caused injuries, and those injuries have to be associated with damages.
What You Need to Do After a South Carolina Slip and Fall Injury
When you slip or trip and fall on the premises (property) of someone else, there are a few things that you’ll need to do to make sure that your claim is not lost through inaction or inappropriate action. You’ll need evidence, so you want to take pictures of the hazard and the injuries, if visible. You also need to seek medical treatment right away to catch any harm that you aren’t yet aware of, or which is worse than you may think, and to have evidence of the injuries that resulted from the slip or trip and fall incident.
You will also need to gather the insurance and contact information of the property owner or manager, and the contact information of any witnesses who saw what happened. Then, you must begin filing your premises liability claim as soon as possible so that you have plenty of time to negotiate for a fair settlement before the statute of limitations on your claim runs out. This statute of limitations, or the timeline in which your claim remains valid, is at least two years, and usually three years for any slip and fall injury that occurs in South Carolina. You do not want to wait to get started until you are nearing that deadline. Waiting gives you less time to avoid going to court because you have less time to negotiate the claim. The longer you wait, the easier it will be for the property owner and/or their insurer to argue that your injuries are nonexistent or unrelated to the slip or trip and fall incident.
After seeking medical treatment, gathering evidence, and getting the insurance information of the potentially liable party, you would be wise to contact an experienced South Carolina personal injury attorney, like those at the Elrod Pope Law Firm. We can help you get started on your claim, evaluate your evidence, and seek fair compensation for your damages.
The Elrod Pope Law Firm Can Help You Establish Liability
In any slip or trip and fall claim on someone’s premises, you have to establish liability, which means that you have to prove that it was their negligence that caused the incident. Some ways that a property owner may be negligent in a slip and fall claim include not removing slippery ice, not repairing damaged carpet, not having adequate lighting in a walkway, not warning of known hazards, and not inspecting the property for hazards. These are just a few examples, but they give you an idea of what it means to prove liability. You must establish that the property owner failed to take reasonable precautions to avoid accidental injuries on their property.
Thus, if you are partially blind, for example, and the lighting in the walkway was adequate for a person of average sight, you might not have a valid claim when you accuse the property owner of having inadequate lighting. However, if the area is frequently used by or intended for people with impaired vision, then this could be an entirely different story.
Further, if you are in a grocery store, and someone else spills something, and you immediately come along and slip on it before anyone from the store had the opportunity to notice or clean the spill, they may not be liable. Similarly, if you slip and fall on ice during an ice storm, then the property owner had no opportunity to remove the hazard, and they are probably not liable for your injury. It all comes down to whether or not the responsible party took reasonable precautions that any other reasonable person would take. It is not reasonable to expect a property owner to stand out in the middle of an ice storm trying to remove the ice as it forms. This is why such a case would not likely be successful.
You Can Seek Compensation for All Damages if Your Claim is Valid
As long as you have a valid premises liability claim in which there was negligence on the part of the property owner and this negligence resulted in damages for yourself, you can seek and recover compensation for various kinds of damages. For instance, you can get your medical expenses covered, including an ER visit, hospitalization, doctor’s appointments, prescriptions, medical devices, etc. You can also get your lost wages covered if you had to take time off of work. If your property was damaged, this can be compensated, too. If you end up with a long-term disability, then your compensation will be even greater. If there is significant pain and suffering and/or psychological trauma, then you can get these damages covered in the non-economic damages portion of your claim, which your attorney will help to calculate.
The Elrod Pope Law Firm is Here to Help You Through Your Personal Injury Claim
At the Elrod Pope Law Firm, we have plenty of experience with different types of slip and fall personal injury claims in South Carolina. We know how to determine whether or not your claim is valid and how to make sure that you get the compensation you need. Call today to schedule a free consultation with one of our South Carolina personal injury attorneys.
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.