Suppose you tripped on a broken stair leading into a restaurant and broke your ankle, only to find out the stair had been broken for weeks without repair? Premises liability law in South Carolina states that if you are injured while on property that belongs to someone else, the property owner can be held responsible if the accident was caused by the owner’s negligence. Property owners have a legal duty to ensure that their premises are safe for guests, customers, clients, employees, and other visitors. Failure to fulfill that responsibility would be considered negligence. Under premises liability law, victims can seek compensation for their hospital bills, lost wages, and other expenses.
Common types of premises liability include: slips/trips and falls, injuries caused by hazardous conditions on the property, dog bites, and swimming pool accidents.
In order to recover on a premises liability claim in the state of South Carolina, the injured person must prove several things:
1. A duty of care owed by defendant to plaintiff
2. Defendant’s breach of that duty by a negligent act or omission; and
3. Damage proximately resulting from the breach of duty.
Under common law principles, the duty owed by a landowner will vary depending on the visitor’s legal status while on the owner’s property at the time of the incident. What ultimately determines the nature and scope of duty owed is the status, or classification, of the injured person.
South Carolina recognizes four classifications of persons present on the property of another:
1. Adult trespassers: Individuals who do not have permission to enter the property grounds or establishment.
2. Invitees: Guests of a business establishment, such as hotel guests. The property owner owes the highest duty of care to an invitee. That duty is the duty to use reasonable and ordinary care to keep the premises safe and to protect the invitee from injury caused by unreasonable risk that the invitee may not discover on his or her own.
3. Licensees: Social visitors who are not considered patrons of the establishment. This can include friends or family members. The duty owed to a licensee by invitation is the duty to exercise reasonable care to warn the guest of dangerous conditions that the property owner is aware of, but that are not easily discoverable by the licensee.
4. Children: Children are owed different degrees of duty depending on their mental capacity.
Property owners owe the highest duty to invitees, then licensees, then very little to trespassers. Adult trespassers are those on the owner’s property without permission. Generally, an owner owes trespassers no duty of care because he has no reason to expect them to be on his property. Therefore, he does not have to warn or protect them from potentially harmful conditions on the property.
If you were injured on the Property of Another:
In order to prove that the owner of the premises where the injury occurred is liable, you’ll need as much proof as possible, including:
Take action now
If you have been injured on the property of another and want to bring your case to court, you need to take action now. If you wait too long to bring your claim, evidence could be lost, memories fade, witnesses move away, or worse, the statute of limitations could expire on you claim barring you from recovery.
CONTACT A PREMISES LIABILITY LAWYER IN CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
It’s always good to seek the services of a qualified attorney when it comes to matters of premises liability claims. If you need help, contact the Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A. today by calling (843) 937-8000 to speak with a legal professional from our law office about your case. We offer no-obligation, free consultations.
If we believe you have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit, your personal injury lawyer will outline the process involved in filing a lawsuit, help determine what parties should be sued, and will proceed to prepare your case.
The information provided on this website is intended to help you better understand general information about the law. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer. Every case is different, and you should consult a lawyer before applying the information contained herein to any particular circumstance affecting you.