One of the most common forms of personal injury claims in South Carolina is the premises liability claim. This involves the liability of property owners when injuries occur on their property. Property owners are legally required to exercise reasonable care to prevent injuries to those who may come onto the property. If you have been injured on someone else’s property, call the Elrod Pope Law Firm to learn how we can help you to pursue a premises liability claim.
Premises Liability Personal Injury Claims Come in Many Different Forms
While premises liability claims fall under the broader category of personal injury claims, there are also multiple subcategories of premises liability. These include dog bite claims, slip or trip and fall claims, negligent security claims, roadway and sidewalk defect claims, asbestos and other hazardous exposure claims, poorly lit walkway and stairway claims, etc. The owner of the property is responsible for the conditions of the property. If hazardous conditions caused you to become injured, then you may have a premises liability personal injury claim. The responsible party can be charged with paying compensation for your medical expenses, property damages, and lost wages.
Commercial Property Owners and Private Property Owners
When it comes to premises liability claims, there is a distinction between commercial property owners and private property owners. If it is a business, a grocery store, a restaurant, a motel, etc., then you are dealing with a commercial property owner. If it is someone’s private home, then you are dealing with a private property owner. This matters because it can affect the duty of care owed to you, the available insurance coverage, and the amount of compensation you may be able to recover. In most cases, you’ll end up with a settlement from an insurance policy. This could be a business insurance policy or a homeowner’s insurance policy. However, you are going to have sort out liability before you can go further.
Establishing Liability in a South Carolina Premises Liability Personal Injury Claim
If are injured, it does not necessarily mean that somebody else is responsible or legally liable for your damages. For instance, if you tripped on your own shoelace, then you are the only one responsible for your injury. If you were intoxicated at the time of your injury, then you may encounter the challenge of establishing whether or not your own conduct caused your injury or whether there was a hazard.
In the case of a business liability, if you slipped on ice in a grocery store parking lot and it was in a common walkway that the business made no effort to address, then you may be able to prove liability. However, if the business didn’t have time to address it (it happened during an ice storm, for example), then you may not be able to prove liability. Or, if the ice was located somewhere that people would not be expected to walk, then again, you may struggle to prove liability. If the business can prove that they took steps to remove all ice, then you may not be able to prove that they were negligent.
Establishing Whether the Property Owner Engaged in Reasonable Conduct
This is where we reach the point of establishing whether the property owner engaged in reasonable conduct, meaning that they took reasonable steps to keep the property safe. Once you have established that a property owner owed you a duty of care to keep their premises safe, then you must prove that they did not take reasonable steps to uphold that duty of care. This could mean that they took no steps to remove ice, did not warn of hazards, or did not fix damaged flooring, for example. In some cases, you may be partly to blame for your injury, but that doesn’t mean that you do not have a claim at all. If you were intoxicated, but there was also a big hole in the yard where a party was taking place, then you may be partly responsible for not paying attention to where you walked. However, the property owner may also be partly responsible.
Methods of Determining Who Was Liable for Your Premises Liability Personal Injury
It is necessary to investigate any premises liability personal injury claim to determine who is truly liable. This can involve speaking to witnesses who saw the incident occur, looking at any incident report that may exist, and looking at the weather reports from the day in question if the incident was related to the weather. It will also involve looking at any police reports that may have been filed and viewing your medical records for evidence of the actual injury and a better understanding of that injury.
The Chester, South Carolina, Personal Injury Attorneys at the Elrod Pope Law Firm Can Help
If you have been injured on someone else’s property, and you want to find out if you may have a valid premises liability personal injury claim, contact the Elrod Pope Law Firm for a free consultation. Our skilled Chester, South Carolina personal injury lawyers will review your case, look at the evidence, and help you to establish liability. We’ll then take you through the process of filing a personal injury claim and/or litigating the case. The sooner you get in touch, the sooner we can get started on your premises liability claim and avoid running out the statute of limitations. Give us a call today, and get the advice and guidance that you require.
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.