Columbia Slip and Fall Accident Injury Attorney
Accidental slip and falls are some of the most common injury-causing accidents but can be difficult to win without an experienced Columbia slip and fall lawyer. While every now and then a slip and fall is just an unlucky situation or clumsiness, often, it may be caused by the negligence of a property owner or other party.
Businesses and homeowners have certain duties to keep their property safe for visitors, and when they fail to live up to that duty, accidents happen. Although common in pop culture and comedy, when you slip and fall, it is no laughing matter. A slip and fall often result in a violent collision between your body and the ground, which can lead to serious injury for the most healthy among us, let alone the damage a slip and fall can cause for our elderly neighbors.
It is important to speak with an attorney following a slip and fall, because, at the time of the accident, you may not even realize the fall was the fault of somebody else. We can investigate the matter further to determine the facts. Whether you’ve slipped on a wet floor at a grocery, tripped over a raised sidewalk, or suffered from a slip and fall in any number of other ways, contact a Columbia personal injury lawyer at Strom Law Firm immediately.
Typical Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in Columbia, SC
Slip and fall accidents occur due to a variety of factors. Some of these factors may suggest negligence of another. Some of the more typical slip and fall accident causes follow:
- Failure to properly light a space
- Uncovered wiring
- Debris on the ground
- Faulty stairs
- Broken or raised pavement
- Absence of handrails
- Hidden or unclearly marked steps
- Uneven floors
- Worn down and torn carpet
Is My Columbia Slip and Fall Injury Serious Enough for a Case?
Seeking compensation for any injury, whether through an insurance claim or a lawsuit, can be difficult. Slip and falls, believe it or not, can be even more difficult than most claims. Because slip and fall cases are usually brought against a property owner’s insurance policy, they will almost always fight back and be willing to pay a defense lawyer to do so. Extensive fact-finding and, likely, significant finger-pointing will follow. Slip and falls often end up in litigation, which can be stressful and frustrating.
For the above reasons, it is important to consider the extent of your injuries. You probably do not want to deal with the troubles of a lawsuit over minor scrapes and bruises. But, if you suffered a significant injury to your head or any other part of your body, it is probably worth doing whatever you can to recover compensation for your expenses and troubles.
Slip and falls can be tough cases to prove, but you should not let that keep you from pursuing compensation when necessary. Negligent property owners should not get away with their reckless conditions simply because a lawsuit may be difficult. At Strom Law Firm, our Columbia Slip and Fall Lawyers always offer a free initial consultation where we can discuss the above factors and decide on the best path forward.
Premises Liability Analysis in Slip and Fall Cases
Under South Carolina law, the extent of a duty that the owner might owe an injury victim is in accordance with the following:
- Invitees: Invitees enter the land of another individual at the express or implied invitation of the occupant of the land. An occupant or land-owner owes a duty of reasonable care to an invitee, which carries the duty to warn of any “latent” or hidden defects or dangers. The owner must have actual or constructive notice of the defect to give rise to this duty. Constructive notice means that the occupant or owner has reason to believe that the condition exists, and the condition would be discovered with a reasonable inspection.
- Licensees: Licensees are allowed entry to a property by the consent of an owner or occupant. The duty of care owed to a licensee is not quite as strict as that owed to an invitee. Owners and occupants have a duty to warn licensees of conditions that are actually known by the owner or occupant. There is not a requirement to actively inspect and discover dangerous conditions or to make any unknown conditions safe.
- Trespassers: Trespassers enter land belonging to another without any invitation, right, or lawful authority. They enter exclusively for their own purposes. Trespassers are merely owed by the owner of an occupant a duty to not be harmed by willful or wanton conduct or conditions.
Injuries Often Suffered in Falling Injuries and Accidents
- Broken Hips and Dislocations– Broken hips and hip dislocations are other common injuries resulting from slip and falls. Hip injuries can be completely debilitating for those suffering from one. The CDC estimates that ~95% of hip injuries are caused by falls. Most often, this injury is suffered by elderly individuals. The consequences of fractured, broken, or dislocated hips can be devastating, sometimes deadly. A daunting statistic, 20% of those injured by a hip fracture pass away within a year of their accident.
- Shoulder Injuries – Shoulder damage is a common result of a slip and fall, given the way people naturally try to land on their side in a fall. Anybody that has suffered a shoulder injury knows that they can be painful, debilitating, and downright inconvenient. Many of those who suffer shoulder injuries never fully heal, resulting in chronic pain and disability. For significant shoulder injuries, surgery followed by a long course of physical therapy may be required. These procedures and follow-ups are time-consuming and expensive.
- Head Injury – Often, during a slip and fall, a victim’s head will strike the floor with the full momentum of the fall. Traumatic brain injury is yet another injury from a slip and fall that can alter a person’s life forever. When somebody falls backward, their momentum often causes their heels to swing over their head, leading to their head hitting the ground hard, with the full force of gravity. Traumatic brain injury often leads an accident victim with only one choice: pursue compensation for their altered lifestyle, lost income, and medical expenses.
- Back Injuries and Spinal Cord Damage – Slip and fall accidents can sometimes result in herniated discs, broken backs, and spinal cord damage. Anybody who has suffered a back injury knows that it can affect every aspect of your life. The back and spine are central to the entire body, and an injury to them renders many activities impossible for an injured party. Aside from the effect a back injury has on your ability to perform certain actions, back injuries are incredibly painful, and sometimes permanent. If your injury requires back surgery, you will have a long and expensive road to recovery.
- Fractures, Sprains, and Strains – While fractures and sprains are not thought of as the most severe injuries, they can be painful and lead to short-term and long-term complications. Often, fractures or sprains can result in chronic pain, infection, and other issues in a slip and victim.
If you have had to pay the physical and financial costs of any of the above injuries or other personal injuries, a Columbia slip and fall lawyer can help you seek the compensation you are owed.
Columbia Slip and Fall FAQ
When you head to a family gathering or the grocery store, you do not expect to suffer a slip and fall accident that results in debilitating injuries, astronomical medical bills, and life-long care that affects you and your family. Unfortunately, these accidents do happen, and Columbia is full of places where a slip and fall accident might occur.
If you have suffered an injury because of a slip and fall, you can seek compensation. However, many people do not understand or know what their legal options are following this type of accident. That is why this blog post will go into detail about slip and fall accidents; specifically, answering the frequently asked questions many slip and fall victims face and explaining how a Columbia slip and fall accident attorney can help you.
What do I need to do after a slip and fall accident in Columbia?
Many times after a slip and fall accident, individuals have no clue what they are supposed to do. However, it is essential to realize that the actions you take following a slip and fall accident are not only crucial for your health and safety, but to protect your legal rights as well.
Next time you are involved in a slip and fall accident, you need to:
- Report the accident: If you slipped and fell on someone’s property, you need to report the accident to a property manager or the property owner. If you can, make sure to file an injury report. However, before you make any statements, ensure you only provide the facts and avoid saying anything that can indicate you were at fault for the accident.
- Get medical assistance: Even if you do not believe your injuries were serious, you still need to see a doctor. Many serious injuries are not readily apparent, and delaying medical treatment can worsen the condition and result in devastating effects. Additionally, getting looked over by a doctor can help your legal claim. These doctors can write their findings in their medical reports, which can provide evidence of your damages and the extent of your injury.
- Gather evidence: If you can, take pictures or videos of the accident scene. Make sure to document your visible injuries, the dangerous condition that caused your slip and fall accident, and any other factors that contributed to your accident.
- Get witness details: If anyone was present at the scene and saw your accident, make sure to get their name and number. Their statements can provide you with crucial evidence in terms of proving liability.
- Keep records: The best thing you can do for your legal claim is to save any document or report related to your accident. This includes medical reports, bills, receipts for treatments, and even work or school absence reports. In addition, keep your clothing from the accident. Do not wash it or try to mend any rips or tears. Their condition can help explain the injuries you sustained.
- Write in a journal: Following an accident, write down everything about the accident and your recovery in a journal. Jot down thoughts about the treatments you are receiving, how you feel, your setbacks, what you had to miss out on because of the injury, and other aspects of your life that have changed because of this slip and fall injury.
- Contact an experienced Columbia slip and fall accident attorney: Contacting an experienced slip and fall accident attorney as soon as possible is the best way to protect your legal rights. These lawyers can quickly get to work investigating your accident, gathering critical evidence, and fighting for the damages you deserve.
What are some of the most common slip and fall accidents in Columbia?
Slip and fall accidents can result from numerous scenarios.
However, in Columbia, the most common slip and fall accidents we encounter include:
- Wet floors
- Uneven surfaces
- Loose mats
- Loose floorboards
- Freshly mopped or waxed surfaces
- Poor lighting
- Defective sidewalks
- Cluttered areas
- Poorly constructed staircases
- Missing handrails
- Icy areas
- Poorly lighted areas
Even though these accidents can occur anywhere, these hazards are often found at construction sites, Columbia shopping malls and retail stores, business offices, restaurants, private homes, stadiums, parks, sidewalks, and parking lots.
What are the different levels of liability in a Columbia slip and fall accident?
In South Carolina, when it comes to slip and fall liability, the obligation of the landowner is typically based on the classification of the individual that enters the property.
In general, there are four classifications, including an invitee, licensee, trespasser, and children.
- Invitee: An invitee is someone on the property to do business with the property owner. For instance, a grocery shopper can be considered an invitee. Under these circumstances, the property owner owes the customer the duty of exercising reasonable care. This reasonable care can include refraining from constructing dangerous conditions, repairing hazardous conditions promptly, or warning visitors of these dangerous conditions.
- Licensee: This is an individual who has the privilege of entering another person’s property for their own benefit. For example, house guests are often considered a licensee. Under this classification, the property owner owes the licensee a duty of reasonable care to conduct activities on the property in a manner that will not harm the licensee, and to warn the licensee of any known dangerous conditions. However, the landowner does not have to search out and discover dangerous defects on their land to make the premises safe for a licensee. In comparison, this duty to search out dangerous defects is owed to an invitee.
- Adult trespassers and children: In Columbia, a landowner has no duty to keep their premises in a safe condition for the trespasser’s benefit. They do, however, have a responsibility to refrain from willful or wanton misconduct. In contrast, children are owed varying degrees of duty depending on their capacity and age, even if they are trespassers.
Working with an experienced Columbia slip and fall accident attorney can help you figure out if a duty was owed to you and whether you can pursue damages for the harm you endured.
How much time do I have to pursue a Columbia slip and fall claim against the liable party?
If you are injured in an accident, you need to ensure you bring your lawsuit promptly. The statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time you have to bring a claim for an alleged offense.
If you do not bring your claim within this period, you may not pursue legal action for your injuries. In South Carolina, the time limit to bring a slip and fall claim is three years from the date of the accident. However, depending on the circumstances of the case, this time may be shortened or extended.
For instance, if you are bringing a claim against the government. You only have two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. For these reasons, you must speak with a Columbia slip and fall accident attorney as quickly as possible. These lawyers can help you determine how much time you have to file and start the legal process, so everything is filled within the allotted time.
If I want to succeed in a slip and fall case in Columbia, what do I need to prove?
If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident in Columbia, you need to prove that the defendant was negligent and their actions resulted in your injuries before you can collect damages.
To prove this negligence, you need to show:
- The liable party owed you a duty of care.
- The liable party breached this duty through a negligent omission or act.
- This breach was a direct result of your injuries and damages.
When you work with a knowledgeable Columbia slip and fall accident attorney, they can promptly investigate the accident and start gathering the necessary evidence needed to establish these negligence elements.
What if I slipped and fell at work, can I file a lawsuit against my employer in Columbia?
If you are hurt on the job, in many cases, you may file a workers’ compensation claim to help pay your medical bills and replace any lost wages. However, because you can file a workers’ compensation claim, you cannot file a lawsuit against the employer unless the actions of another third party somehow caused the accident.
In that instance, you may bring a suit against that other company. Due to these complexities, if you have been injured in a slip and fall accident while working, speak with a skilled slip and fall accident lawyer who can help you figure out what legal actions you can pursue against those liable.
What type of damages can I collect following my Columbia slip and fall accident?
If you were injured in a Columbia slip and fall accident, you may pursue damages. These damages include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages: These verifiable losses resulting from an accident are easily quantified.
Typically, these damages include:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses. These can consist of emergency medical treatments, ambulance rides, surgeries, doctor visits, and prescription medications
- Past, current, and future lost wages resulting from not working following the slip and fall accident.
- Lost earning capacity
- Rehabilitative services including vocational and physical therapy
- At-home nursing care
- Replacement services such as house cleaning or child care services
- Medical devices such as crutches or wheelchairs
- Personal property damages
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages: These subjective losses resulting from the accident are not easy to quantify.
- Pain and suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of a limb
- Loss of enjoyment of life and activities
Punitive damages: In rare instances, South Carolina courts may award punitive damages. However, unlike the other compensatory damages, which compensate the victim for their losses, punitive damages are instead intended to punish the defendant for their willful, wanton, or reckless actions and deter them from committing these actions in the future. Additionally, these damages are typically capped at the greater of three times the victim’s compensatory damages or $500,000.
Why do I need to contact a Columbia slip and fall accident attorney following my slip and fall accident?
Slip and fall accident lawsuits are complicated. Not only do you have to have a solid understanding of the slip and fall laws in South Carolina, but you also need to provide extensive and detailed evidence to show liability and damages. That is why working with an experienced and skilled slip and fall accident attorney is crucial for your claim. These lawyers can go over your case in detail, as well as answer any questions you may have and provide you with the legal options you can take.
In addition, our attorneys can also:
- Investigate the accident thoroughly, gather critical reports and evidence, and interview relevant witnesses that can help show what happened and who was at fault.
- Bring in the experts such as accident reconstructionists, economists, engineers, and doctors that can help substantiate your claims.
- Handle the negotiations and discussions with the other side, ensuring your case is treated fairly.
- Take your case to trial and fight for maximum damages if the defense is unwilling to negotiate.
If you or a loved one was injured in a Columbia slip and fall accident, you should not take on these complex legal proceedings on your own. Instead, contact an experienced Columbia slip and fall accident attorney at the Strom Law Firm today to help develop the best plan for moving forward.
Contact a Columbia Slip and Fall Lawyer Today
If you have suffered the unexpected devastation of slip and fall injuries, it is important to be compensated by the responsible party. Injuries from slip and falls should be taken seriously, and those that cause them should meet their obligations to keep their property safe. Strom Law Firm is experienced in representing victims of Columbia slip and falls and other accidents. Our Columbia Slip and Fall Lawyer 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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