Property owners in South Carolina need to make sure that visitors do not suffer harm from unsafe conditions on their premises.
There are many different hazards that could make a property unreasonably unsafe. When a homeowner or property manager is aware of and does not correct a dangerous condition, guests, patrons, or other invitees could suffer serious harm.
If you suffered serious injuries or your loved one was killed in an accident caused by a dangerous property condition in South Carolina, you could be entitled to compensation for all of your medical bills, lost income, and other damages.
The South Carolina premises liability attorneys of Jebaily Law Firm represent people who have been hurt due to the recklessness or negligence of property owners. Our record of success includes $300,000 for a client who suffered a lower back injury in a premises liability accident.
Call us or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team today.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Dangerous Property Conditions in South Carolina?
In most cases of injuries sustained on someone else’s property, the property owner, manager, or other responsible party could be liable for the victim’s injuries. The duty of care depends on how a guest has been classified. South Carolina divides people into three groups:
- Invitee — People owed the highest duty of care. They are on premises by expressed or implied invitation of property owners, generally for the economic gain of the owner. These include customers in businesses.
- Licensee — A property owner owes a licensee a duty to warn them about any known dangerous conditions. They are on premises with the consent of property owners but for their own benefit. These include visitors to their neighbors’ homes.
- Trespasser — People generally owed no duty of care. They are on premises without a property owner’s permission.
While trespassers are not ordinarily owed a duty of care, an exception is made for trespassers who are children. A property owner has an obligation to ensure that any “attractive nuisance” (an object such as a swimming pool or trampoline that involves dangers a young child may not appreciate) cannot be accessed by children, and they can be held liable for failure to protect attractive nuisances.
Common Types of Dangerous Property Conditions in SC
Any one of a number of different property conditions could be potentially dangerous. Some of the most common kinds of accidents and hazards that cause injuries include:
- Amusement park accidents
- Broken handrails
- Faulty stairs
- Building collapses
- Cracked or uneven flooring
- Defects in pavement
- Dirty or debris-covered floors
- Elevator or escalator accidents
- Inadequate lighting
- Missing handrails
- Negligent security
- Snow and ice
- Stray electrical cords and wires
- Swimming pool accidents
- Torn floor mats
- Wet, slippery flooring
Following any kind of accident caused by a dangerous property condition, you should try to immediately photograph the hazard that caused your injuries. You want to do this before the property owner corrects the condition and evidence disappears.
It is also important for victims to immediately seek medical care. You should do this even when you do not think you were hurt, as some serious injuries can involve delayed symptoms.
Common Injuries Due to Dangerous Property Conditions in South Carolina
Dangerous conditions can cause a wide variety of possible accidents, including falls or collisions that lead to devastating injuries. Some of the different kinds of injuries victims may suffer can include:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Nerve damage
- Neck injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Head injuries
- Burn injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Many of these injuries require significant medical costs for many rounds of follow-up care and treatment. Cases of serious injuries can also lead to victims being unable to return to work.
Private Versus Public Property Claims in SC
Private property usually includes most businesses. These property owners often have a higher expected duty of care in maintaining premises that are safe for their customers. Most companies have insurance companies prepared to represent them in premises liability claims.
Private property also includes most people’s homes. You will often have to deal with a homeowner’s insurance company when seeking damages in such cases.
You want to avoid speaking to an insurance company without legal representation. Some insurance companies may offer quick lump-sum settlements to resolve cases. These initial amounts are almost always far short of what people are actually entitled to. Do not accept these offers without speaking to a lawyer first.
With public property, it is often a governmental entity that is responsible for maintaining the property. Tort claims against governmental entities in South Carolina are limited to $300,000 under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act.
Proving Fault in Accidents on Dangerous Property
Premises liability claims will generally require victims to prove the same four elements of a negligence action by a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, you will have to prove that the property owner owed a duty of care to the victim, the property owner breached that duty of care, that breach of duty directly caused the victim’s injuries, and those injuries resulted in damages for the victim.
Many cases are resolved through settlements. Some cases will go to trial and a victim could be awarded compensatory damages. Compensatory damages can include economic damages like medical expenses and lost wages, as well as noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering or emotional distress.
Contact Us Now for Help with a Dangerous Property Claim in South Carolina
Did you sustain severe injuries or was your loved one killed as the result of a property owner not fixing or warning you about a dangerous property condition? Make sure that you have a skilled personal injury lawyer for help holding the negligent party accountable.
Jebaily Law Firm has been helping all kinds of injury victims in South Carolina for more than a half century. You can have our attorneys discuss all of your legal options when you call us or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.