On any given day, the average American visits several businesses and stores ranging from gas stations to coffee shops, grocery stores to department stores. While we make the conscious choice to enter a store or business, the owner of the establishment is still responsible to maintain the property in a safe and secure manner. Unfortunately, many owners overlook the safety of their customers in an effort to keep maintenance costs to a minimum. In these cases, patrons may be exposed to hazardous conditions that can result in serious injuries from slips and falls.
In South Carolina, property and business owners are legally responsible for ensuring that their property is safe for visitors. The simple act of picking up items from the floor, cleaning up spills, and ensuring that fixtures, doors, and elevators are functioning properly is the owner’s responsibility. Slip and fall factors include:
Again, accidents happen, but many slips, trips, and fall-accidents can and should have been avoided. Property owners are responsible to act in accordance with local laws to fix safety-related issues they knew to exist – orshould have known to exist.
Many slip and fall accidents in South Carolina and Charleston occur in or around businesses. As a result, customers who slip and fall may recover a portion of the cost for their injury or loss – that is, if the business owner or establishment failed in their responsibility.
State law defers in the responsibility of property owners regarding premise liability depending on the classification of the visitor. Basically:
Visitors are distinguished into one of four classifications: invitees, licensees, trespassers, and children. Different standards of care apply depending upon the visitor’s classification.
Property owners owe the highest degree of care to invitees, those who enter a property or business with the express or implied permission of the proper owner. Customers to a store are considered to be an invitee. On the other hand, in some cases, a child who is an invitee can become a trespasser if the child enters a part of the building to which he or she should not enter.
A person classified as a licensee is a person who enters a non-business property with express or implied permission. Acquaintances who enter your home (i.e., social guests) are generally considered a licensee under South Carolina law.
A trespasser is an individual who enters a property without permission from the owner (for curiosity, to hunt, or for other purposes). A property owner’s liability for a trespasser is very limited, normally limited to only intentional injury or injury from willful or wanton negligence or misconduct.
For visitors classified as children, the only responsibility a property owner has is to refrain from willful or wanton negligence or misconduct.
As mentioned earlier, property owners still have certain duty to care for foreseeable dangers even if the injured party is classified as licensee or trespasser. If you are a licensee or trespasser, call one of our lawyers to discuss your case. You may still have a claim for injuries.
Proving that you are a visitor may not be easy. Such is why it is so important to hire a competent Charleston accident lawyer to help you get through the hurdles you may encounter.
At the Bostic Law Firm, we have the experience and knowledge to navigate premise liability issues. Nevertheless, it is important for injured victims to take immediate action to protect your personal interests. This do this, we will collect and take photos of your injuries and of the area where the slip or fall occurred, talking with witnesses and other shoppers, taking note of video camera, and more. We do all of this and more for you – with no up-front fees!
Remember this rule, if you are hurt any type of slip and fall accident, time is of the essence. The sooner you talk to an attorney the better your chances of receiving the compensation due you.
Our Charleston premises liability attorneys understand the anger and confusion you may feel when you or a loved one has been injured in a premises liability accident. Our experience and knowledge of state and federal personal injury law allows us to offer advice to our clients and secure the compensation you are entitled.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, it is important to contact an attorney quickly; documenting the current condition of the area in which the accident occurred can be important in building your case for compensation.
Our South Carolina personal injury attorneys will begin investigating your accident immediately. We will take photos of the dangerous situation, interview witnesses and review any video footage of the fall. Any evidence demonstrating negligence on behalf of the property owner will then be used to negotiate a settlement that covers your losses.
If a settlement cannot be reached, we will take your case to court to pursue a judgment in your favor.