If you have been injured on the property of another person in Florence, SC, you may have a legal case against them. Someone else may have to pay for your damages if their carelessness was to blame for your injuries. First, you would need to prove that they were at fault. Call our Florence personal injury attorney at McCall Law to learn about the following legal steps in premises liability cases, such as serious slip and falls.
Examples of Premises Liability Cases
Premises liability cases represent a very broad part of personal injury law. Your daily life is broken down into many different relationships with those around you. Many people could end up owing you duties, even if you never meet them. They could be liable to you when their own carelessness is the cause of your injuries.
One common place where you may be injured is on the property of another. These cases could include:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Negligent security
- Swimming pool accidents
- Hotel accidents
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Fires and explosion
- Dog bites
When someone invites you onto their property, they assume a certain legal relationship with you, regardless of whether they intended it. They do not have to give you an explicit invitation — they just need to hold their property open to you. For example, when a store opens for business, you become an invitee as soon as you enter their property.
The duty of care is owed to you by the person who is in control of the property. If a store owner has leased the property, they would be the ones who owe you the duty of care. In a premises liability case, the duty of care is to act reasonably under the circumstances.
For example, in a slip and fall case, a reasonable property owner would do the following:
- Avoid creating any dangerous conditions on the property, such as leaving equipment or packages in a store aisle
- Inspect their property at reasonable intervals and remedy any dangerous conditions, such as cleaning it up when a customer breaks a bottle and spills something on the floor
The property owner does not have a legal obligation to prevent every single dangerous condition (at least those that others have created). They do not have to guarantee your safety on their property — they just need to make reasonable efforts to keep you safe.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are much more serious than you may think. If you are reading this after you have been injured in a slip and fall, you might realize that a fall can change the course of your life. You could suffer a serious injury when you fall and hit your head.
There are some cases where accidents do happen, but many slip and falls are the result of someone else’s carelessness. Here are some of the most frequent causes of slip and fall accidents:
- Slippery floors
- Loose floorboards
- Debris left in a passageway
- Loose strings on a carpet
- People tracking water and ice into a building
- Uneven flooring
- Cracks in the floor
- Exposed wiring
All it takes is one slight unexpected obstacle in your way to cause a serious fall. Although the insurance company may try to blame the fall on you, it is physically impossible to look down at every second when you are walking.
You may not know the exact cause of a slip and fall right after the accident has happened. Your lawyer could perform further investigation to learn the cause and document your case.
The Statute of Limitations in a Premises Liability Case
In South Carolina, you have three years from the date that you were injured or knew that you should have been injured to file a lawsuit. If you miss the deadline, you no longer have a legal right to financial compensation — even if someone else was responsible for your injuries.
How an Attorney Helps You in a Premises Liability Case
The insurance company is bound and determined to make your life as difficult as they can because it is in their financial interests to do so. They are extremely tough in slip and fall cases because they receive so many claims. The insurance company also knows that a slip and fall case is not the easiest claim to prove.
The first thing that an attorney would do in a premises liability case is gather the evidence that you need to prove your claim. You need to file a strong initial claim that has enough proof to get the insurance company to admit liability. If you end up in a lawsuit, your attorney could get additional information through the discovery process that could include store video camera surveillance footage and maintenance logs.
Your attorney could negotiate a settlement on your behalf. The insurance company will go out of its way to minimize your injuries, especially when you have been in a slip and fall accident. They will often say that it is “just a fall” when they know full well that you have suffered serious injuries. Your attorney would know how much your case is worth and advise you to reject settlement offers that pay you less.
Your lawyer’s presence alone would send a strong signal to the insurance company that it is not “business as usual.” When you hire a lawyer, it shows that you are serious, and the insurance company cannot walk over you. If they try, your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf and take the matter out of the insurance company’s hands.
Contact a Florence Premises Liability Lawyer Today
If you have been injured in a premises liability accident, contact McCall Law today to discuss your case and the potential for a settlement or financial award. You need to make this call as soon as possible after your injury because you could lose valuable evidence.