Columbia, South Carolina, Personal Injury Claims Involving Premises Liability

May 18, 2017

Premises liability claims are personal injury claims in which a property owner has failed to maintain their property or has created hazards, and those hazards resulted in injuries to someone on the property. Of course, it is not as simple as stating that your injury occurred on someone else’s property and they owe you money. Rather, you’ve got to understand how to establish liability, get your incident thoroughly investigated, and determine whether or not there is any shared liability or comparative negligence. Then, you’ve got to prove that your injuries resulted from the given hazard and that they are worth a particular sum of compensation, based on your medical expenses and other losses.

Different Types of Columbia, South Carolina, Personal Injury Claims Involving Premises Liability

There are different ways that a premises liability claim could arise. For example, there are premises liability claims that involve dog bites, slip and fall accident, and even negligent security claims. In some cases, these claims involve hazardous chemical exposure, poorly lit areas, or defects in sidewalks or driveways. It could involve a steep or slick stairway, damaged electrical wiring, or a structure fire. Some cases involve children becoming injured by unfenced swimming pools or unsafe playground equipment. Depending on the hazard and depending on the injury, you could be left with significant medical expenses, lost wages from time off of work, long term treatment and disability, or even death.

There are also different types of premises liability claims based on who owns the property where the injury occurred. If you are on someone’s personal property at the time, then you may have a claim with the homeowner’s insurance or against the homeowner themselves. If you are on the property of a business, then you will have a claim with that commercial property owner’s insurance policy.

Further, the duty of care owed to you is different with a personal property owner and a commercial property owner. When you are on commercial property, such as a restaurant or a grocery store, you are owed a very high duty of care. You are a customer, who was invited, expected, and deserving of the highest standard of care. When you are on private property, such as a friend’s property, a neighbor’s property, or even the property of a stranger, there are more variables to consider. Were you invited? Were you expected? Were you allowed? Were you trespassing? You’ll need to address these questions and more to establish whether or not you have a valid premises liability personal injury claim.

The Cause of Your Injury is Important in Establishing Liability in any Personal Injury Claim

You cannot establish liability in a premises liability personal injury claim in Columbia, South Carolina, without pinpointing the exact cause of your injury. This is because it is entirely possible that you and you alone are the sole cause of your injury. It may be that you tripped over your own feet, that a hazard had adequate warning and you failed to see it, or that you actually created the hazard. Further, it could be the case that the property owner did take all reasonable measures to prevent or eliminate the hazard, and that they were not actually negligent in the case of your injury.

Some examples of cases where injuries may occur when the property owner took all reasonable precautions include the following:

  • The property owner conducted regular inspections to locate and correct hazards.
  • The property owner hired another person or company to correct a hazard, but that person or company failed to completely address the given hazard.
  • The property owner took reasonable precautions to eliminate hazards where people were expected, but people wandered into areas where they were not expected to be.
  • The property owner regularly removed ice or other hazards, but the incident occurred during an ice storm, and the property owner had no opportunity to address the hazard.
  • The injured party became injured through their own negligence in failing to tie their own shoes, becoming intoxicated, or being distracted. For example, walking through a yard while staring at your phone could cause you to trip over an otherwise visible obstacle.
  • The property owner took every precaution to block off hazardous areas, such as fencing a swimming pool, but the injured party intentionally broke into the given area. If you break into a fenced in area with a swimming pool or other hazards and become injured by those hazards, then you cannot expect the property owner to be held liable.

Establishing Who is Liable in Your Columbia, South Carolina, Personal Injury Claim

The best thing you can do after a personal injury occurs on someone else’s premises is to report the incident to the property owner or manager, gather evidence in the form of photos of the hazards and the contact information of witnesses, and seek medical treatment the same day. Then, you can contact the attorneys at the Connell Law Firm to schedule a free consultation. This is where the thorough investigation of your accident will take place. Your Columbia, South Carolina, personal injury attorney is going to gather your medical records, any police records that may have been involved, the contact information of your witnesses, and the photos that you’ve taken to figure out what happened and why.

When to Contact a Columbia, South Carolina, Personal Injury Attorney

Any time you’ve sustained injuries on the property of another person or company, you need to seek the advice of a skilled Columbia, South Carolina, personal injury attorney. This is the best way to find out if you were owed a duty of care, if that duty of care was breached, and whether or not you are entitled to compensation for the injuries that resulted. You want to get the ball rolling with your attorney as soon as possible so that you have plenty of time to pursue your claim. Call today to schedule your free consultation and learn more about your rights and options.