Understanding Premises Liability Law
South Carolina premises liability law is based on common-law and statutory law but is rooted in negligence. To prove liability for negligence, your Columbia Premises Liability Lawyers must show an injured party was the victim of the following:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- The defendant breached that duty
- The plaintiff suffered a personal injury as a result of the defendant’s breach
Premises liability law is distinct from common negligence, providing additional guidance beyond basic negligence. The duties owed by a defendant to an injured party are defined in South Carolina by the condition of the property and the activities being conducted by both the injured party and the defendant. Further, beyond conditions and activities, the proper analysis to be used is determined by the nature of the plaintiff’s presence on the property.
Types of Columbia Premises Liability Claims
Under South Carolina premises liability law, property owners are required to appropriately warn visitors and guests of their property of any unsafe conditions to prevent injury. Any occupant or owner of land or a building can be held liable for a premises liability claim. Parties who may be held liable for a premises liability claim include:
- Small and large business owners,
- commercial property managers, i.e. malls, condos, apartments, etc.
- grocery stores
- box stores
- gas stations
Premises liability injuries are caused by many conditions, including:
- Swimming pool drownings and unfenced swimming pool injuries
- Defective or dangerous conditions
- Improperly maintained premises
- Elevator or escalator accidents
- Slip and fall
- Wet floors
- Accidents involving ATVs or Golf Carts provided by occupants
- Improper or insufficient security
Classification of Columbia Premises Liability Injury Victims
Under South Carolina law, the amount an owner can be required to pay as compensation to a victim depends, in part, on how the victim is legally classified:
- Invitees: Invitees enter the land of another individual at the express or implied invitation of the occupant of the land. Often, this arises when the person entering the land is doing so for the mutual interest of the parties or to the interest of the occupant. An occupant or land-owner owes a duty of reasonable care to an invitee, which carries a duty to warn of “latent” or hidden defects and dangers. The owner must have actual or constructive knowledge of the defect to give rise to this duty. Constructive notice means that the occupant or owner has reason to believe that condition exists, and it would be discovered following reasonable inspection. An example of an invitee is a customer in a store or a contractor working on a property with permission of the owner.
- Licensees: Licensees are allowed entry to a property by the consent of the owner or occupant. The duty of care owed to a licensee is not quite as heightened as that owed to an invitee. Owners and occupants have a duty to warn licensees of conditions that are actually known to the owner or occupant. There is not a requirement to actively inspect and discover dangerous conditions on the land or to make unknown conditions safe.
- Trespasser: Trespassers enter land belonging to another without any invitation, right, or lawful authority. They enter for their own purposes, for pleasure or convenience. Trespassers are merely owed by the owner of occupant a duty of not being harmed by willful or wanton conduct or conditions.
- Exception for children: An exception to the rule, as it applies to trespassers, is if the injured party is a child. If the owner or occupier knows or should know that trespass by children is likely, and they are likely to encounter or be attracted by a condition that is unreasonably dangerous, that owner or occupier may be subject to liability.
As you can see, there are various factors and analyses that must be applied when looking at a premises liability case. Such an analysis can be overly complex and difficult for an injured party and their family to navigate. A premises liability lawyer can help you analyze the situation and determine liability. Whether you have been injured on somebody’s hunting land, a store, a friend’s rental property, or any other property of another, contact an attorney today to see if you may be entitled to compensation.
How Much Will A Columbia Premises Liability Lawyers cost?
Do not hesitate to contact our Columbia premises liability lawyers. Strom Law Firm will not charge for an initial consultation and will be able to help assess any legal rights to potentially recover financial compensation. Strom Law Firm also will serve as a protection from insurance companies trying to contact you for a quick and low settlement.
Columbia Premises Liability FAQ
Did you suffer an accident on public or private property? Do you suspect the property owner could have done more to prevent your injury? If so, you may have questions about your legal rights. Below, we provide answers to some of the most common premises liability FAQs.
1. I suffered a serious accident on a friend’s property. Do I still have the right to file a Columbia premises liability claim?
You have the right to file a claim after an accident on private property, including property belonging to friends and family members, just like you would if you suffered a serious injury in a business.
To file a claim after an accident on private property, you may need to work with an attorney to establish:
- That you had the legal right to visit the property. In general, this means you received an invitation to visit the property or had an open invitation to visit the property. On the other hand, ifyou appeared unexpectedly on the property without an invitation, you may not have grounds for a Columbia premises liability claim.
- That the property owner failed to inform you about known dangers on the property. For example, if a property owner has a swimming pool but fails to maintain its light properly, or fails to properly secure the pool, and a child falls in, this could result in a claim against the owner. . Similarly, if a property owner fails to warn you about potential hazards on the property, and you sustain injuries as a result, you may have grounds to file a Columbia premises liability claim.
- The property owner committed some act of negligence that ultimately led to your injuries. Private property owners should properly maintain their properties to reduce the risk of injury to visitors. If property owners fail to properly maintain their properties, those owners may bear liability for injuries that occur. For example, even if a property owner failed to properly maintain rotting stairs in an apartment complex, or failed to remove a dead tree, and you are ultimately injured as a result, the owner may still bear liability for any injury that you sustain due to the owner’s lack of maintenance and care.
2. Can a Columbia business face liability if someone attacks me on the property?
Hotels and bars, in particular, may have a responsibility to ensure visitors do not suffer attacks on the business’s property. These cases can be complex, and usually include a number of different issues, and factors. However, if you face an attack at a place of business, and the business has inadequate security to protect victims or reduce the risk of attack, you may have grounds to file a Columbia premises liability claim against the business for injuries that you sustained in the attack.
3. Can I file a claim if I suffered injuries in an “employees only” area of a Columbia business?
To file a successful Columbia premises liability claim, most of the time, you will need to establish that you had the right to enter the property. Employees of a business might receive special information about potential hazards or areas that they should avoid. Whether and to what extent you have a claim for injuries is fact-specific, and depends almost entirely on the circumstances, for example if an employee gave you permission to go into an employee only area. Contact an attorney, however, to discuss your injuries, especially if you did not find the area clearly labeled.
4. How long does it usually take to settle a Columbia premises liability claim?
You should not expect a fast resolution to a premises liability claim.
Several factors contribute to the time intensity of a case: s.
- You may need time to recover from your injuries before you file your claim. Suppose that you suffered severe electrical burns due to exposed wiring. Burn victims often have a long road to recovery, and complications along the way, including failed skin grafts, can extend the time needed to recover. The risk of infection also runs high for burn victims. Likewise, victims with spinal cord injuries may not even know how much they will eventually recover until several months after the initial injury. Since your medical bills are often an important part of your request for compensation, your attorney may wait until you have progressed through your recovery and have a better idea of what your eventual recovery and long-term medical expenses will look like before filing your Columbia premises liability claim.
- Your attorney may need time to investigate your claim. Did the property owner know about the hazard that caused your accident? Did other parties share liability for your accident? Have other victims suffered similar accidents at the establishments where you suffered your injuries? All of these factors can impact the compensation that you may ultimately receive for your Columbia premises liability claim. Your attorney will need time to fully investigate your accident before you can file a Columbia premises liability claim. The more complex the investigation or the harder it proves for your attorney to compile needed evidence, the longer it may take before you can start your claim.
- You may need to go through several rounds of negotiation. When you file a Columbia premises liability claim, you may start by putting together a demand package, which usually includes a list of the financial damages you suffered as a result of your injuries and the compensation you’re seeking as a result. Your attorney will help you determine how to include factors like pain and suffering, lost wages, and financial losses as well as additional categories of damages. The insurance company then has the chance to respond. Often, the insurance company will not accept your initial demand and will submit an offer of its own. The first offer may come in much lower than you expect, necessitating further rounds of negotiation. Each round of negotiations will add time to your claim.
- If you need to go to court, it can take even longer. If you have to go to court, you will need to wait for a court date and then go to court to present your claim. Depending on the current burden in the court system, it can take some time before you can get in to have your case heard by the court.
5. Will I have to go to court to settle my Columbia premises liability claim?
Some insurance companies prefer to reach an agreement out of court if possible, since going to court over your claim can increase the insurance company’s costs and leave the company dealing with further negative publicity. In some cases, however, you may need to take your case to trial. Having an attorney on your side can prove vital in presenting your claim to the court and pursuing compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
6. How much does it cost to hire a Columbia premises liability attorney?
Many people who have suffered a serious injury due to another party’s negligence worry about the expense associated with hiring an attorney. You may already have substantial medical bills piling up, and you may lose your income during your recovery. Hiring an attorney, however, can prove more affordable than you may think. Most attorneys will start with a free case review: a chance to go over your claim, determine what led to your injuries, and decide whether to take your case. Then, many attorneys will accept your case on a contingent fee basis—the attorney will accept payment of a percentage of your award or settlement, rather than requiring payment as you receive legal services.
As the victim of a severe accident due to another party’s negligence, you should ask yourself about the cost of failing to have an attorney, not just the cost of having one. An attorney gives advantages to your Columbia premises liability claim.
Not only can having an attorney increase the compensation you may recover, , but your attorney can:
- Give you a better idea of the true value of your claim. Many people have no idea how much compensation to seek after sustaining serious injuries in a premises liability accident. You may not know how to fully calculate your medical bills or how pain and suffering damages typically factor into your claim. An attorney can give you a better idea of what funds you should really expect.
- Investigate your claim. Did you know that more than one party may share liability for your injuries? Suppose, for example, that you suffered an accident in a store. While the business operating in that space may bear liability for any injuries you suffer, depending on how your accident occurred, the owner of the premises may also share liability for your injuries. An attorney can fully investigate your claim and identify any other parties who may have contributed to your injuries.
- Offer valuable legal advice. Do you know what you can post on social media about your accident, especially if it involves a familiar business or public location? Did you know that if you suffer an injury at a government-owned facility, you may have a more limited time to file a claim concerning your injuries? What should you say when you talk to the insurance company? An attorney can provide valuable legal advice as you navigate your claim and even take over negotiation on your behalf.
7. I had an accident in a Columbia hotel or business, but I don’t live in Columbia. Where should I file my Columbia premises liability claim?
Typically, if you suffer an injury in Columbia, you can file your premises liability claim in Columbia. Contact a Columbia attorney who will work with you as you file your premises liability claim, especially if you live far away. Often, an attorney can take care of any in-person visits or conversations for you, which means that you will not have to travel back to Columbia to deal with your claim. You can authorize your attorney to act on your behalf, which may make it easier to manage your claim from a distance. Many attorneys will connect with you over the phone or through video chats to make it easier for you to get answers to your questions from a distance.
8. What should I do if the Columbia premises owner or the insurance company that covers the property offers me a settlement?
Have an attorney take a look at any settlement offer provided by the premises owner or the owner’s insurance company. In many cases, the insurance company will issue a low settlement offer and try to pressure you to take it quickly. If you accept that offer, your ability to recover any additional funds is likely over.. Often, that offer does not reflect the full value of your losses. An attorney can give you a better idea of how much compensation you really need to cover the cost of your injuries and help you make a better decision about when to accept a settlement offer.
Contact Strom Law Firm, LLC, online today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your accident and your eligibility to seek compensation for your injuries.
Columbia Attorneys for Premises Liability Injuries
Strom Law Firm is experienced in representing victims of premises liability accidents and other accident injuries. Our lawyers are ready to meet with you in person at your convenience. You can also contact us online or by phone at 803-252-4800 to schedule a time to talk with a member of our team.
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