There are many forms of personal injury claim, and slip and fall injuries are among the most common of them. While some slip and fall accidents lead to no serious injury or long term damage, others can have a tremendously harmful impact on the victim’s life. Depending on when, where, and why the slip and fall accident occurs, you may have a South Carolina personal injury claim against a negligent party.
Slip and fall injuries can be embarrassing, and you may be tempted to brush it off, and get on with your business, but you should be aware that some serious injuries don’t present serious symptoms right away. You could have real injuries that you aren’t even aware of until the next day or even later. For example, what may present as mild back or neck pain could be a serious spinal injury or whiplash, and you may only discover the severity of your symptoms when they get worse or don’t go away.
In the worst cases, slip and fall injuries can lead to disability, or even death, though this is less common. The person who is injured, or in cases where someone passes away, their loved ones, can seek damages in the form of a South Carolina personal injury claim.
Who Is Legally Responsible For The Injuries Associated With Your Slip and Fall Incident?
It is essential to establish negligence in any personal injury claim, which is to say that you have to determine and prove who is at fault for the incident that occurred, and therefore legally liable for the costs and damages associated with your injuries, which may go far beyond medical expenses.
To establish liability, you’ll need to begin by identifying the defendant, the person who caused the accident or was in some way responsible. In many slip and fall cases, this will be the property owner.
Once you’ve figured out who your defendant is going to be, you have to prove that he or she owed you a duty of care, which means that they were supposed to exercise reasonable care to ensure that no injuries occurred. In a slip and fall case, this might mean that they should have cleaned up a slippery mess or removed ice from their property to prevent injuries.
You then have to prove that the defendant breached that duty of care. In this kind of case, that would mean that he or she failed to do what they should have done, such removing the ice or cleaning the slippery mess as indicated by the duty of care that they owed.
Finally, you will need to prove that the breach of duty is what caused your injuries. So, you have to prove a causal link between the breach of the duty of care and the injuries that occurred. The person who failed to remove the ice or clean up the slippery mess, therefore, is responsible for your slip and fall incident, which is what caused your back injury (for example).
Circumstances Where The Alleged Liable Party Is Not Actually Liable
Now, we have to point out that there are other factors that may come into play, which could indicate that the alleged liable party did not in fact owe you a duty of care, and is therefore, not actually liable for your accident or injuries. For example, if you were trespassing on private property, you are not owed any duty of care by the property owner. If you were a legal visitor of the property owner, or if you were on the property for some other legal reason, such as someone who delivers mail or packages or checks the gas meter, then you are owed a duty of care.
It also matters when the incident occurred in relation to when the hazard occurred. For instance, if you slip and fall on ice during an ice storm, then the alleged liable party did not have a chance to remove the ice. If you slip and fall at a grocery store because of a spilled slippery mess, then they may be able to prove that the mess had been made only moments before, so they did not have a chance to address it. They might even have evidence that you, yourself, caused the mess, perhaps by spilling a drink.
What Should You Do If You Have Slipped And Fallen Resulting In Injuries?
If you have been injured through a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation through a South Carolina personal injury claim. These cases usually don’t involve a police officer response, so you won’t have a legal statement through this process. The best way to gather evidence is to take pictures, get the contact information of witnesses, and then – if the incident occurs in a store or other public area – seek out the manager to file a report. You should also seek medical attention, then talk to an attorney.
Contact the Connell Law Firm For A Free Consultation
Because it can be very difficult to win a slip and fall personal injury case in South Carolina, it helps to have the guidance and representation of a determined personal injury law attorney in Columbia. Contact the Connell Law Firm to schedule a free consultation and we’ll help you get started on the right track.