Columbia, South Carolina is a very popular tourist destination. As the capital city of South Carolina, it brings those who want to visit the state house and other government-related attractions as well as visitors seeking a peek into the relaxed, picturesque way of life enjoyed by South Carolina residents. A few of the most popular attractions in and around Columbia include the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, Fort Jackson, the natural allure of Lake Murray, and various shopping and foodie destinations in the city.
When individuals are on vacation, they are not always as conscious of safety hazards as they perhaps should be. This can be attributed to two factors: being in a new, unknown place where one is not aware of the specific dangers present and being in “vacation mode,” a mental state of relaxation that can sometimes lead to obliviousness. Even with these factors present, property owners have the responsibility to protect visitors to their property from harm by removing any potential hazards. When an injury occurs because care was not taken to secure merchandise on shelves or affix outdoor features properly to buildings, the property owner may be liable for the victim’s damages. These damages can include medical bills, lost wages, and other damages associated with the injury collectively known as “pain and suffering.” If you have been injured by a falling object, whether that object was an item for sale, a piece of a building or sign, a piece of debris falling from a construction site, or a ladder or scaffold that was not properly secured, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages through a premises liability claim. To learn more about your rights and the personal injury claim process, work with an experienced Columbia premises liability lawyer.
Injuries Caused by Falling Objects
When a falling object hits a human victim, it can cause him or her to suffer a variety of injuries. The severity of these injuries depend on the speed at which the object fell, the angle at which it hit the victim, and the weight of the object. In some cases, victims die as a result of the impact of a falling object or their injuries sustained in such an accident.
Examples of injuries that can be sustained in this type of accident include:
- Broken bones;
- Muscle, organ, and tissue damage;
- Burns, as can be the case if the falling object was a hot tool or piece of metal; and
- Traumatic brain injuries.
These injuries can have permanent effects on victims, such as paralysis. In less severe cases, a victim can suffer an injury that takes months to heal, forcing him or her to stay out of work for a prolonged period of time.
Premises Liability and Personal Injury Claims
The duty of care that a property owner owes to a victim injured on his or her property is dependent on why the victim was on the property.
Individuals who are on the property to make purchases or conduct business, those who are there with the owner’s implied or explicit invitation, are owed the greatest duty of care. This means that it is the property owner’s responsibility to determine any potential injury hazards and remove them before they can harm an invitee. When a hazard cannot immediately be removed, the property owner must overtly warn visitors about it in order to prevent an accident.
A slightly lower duty of care is owed to licensees, which are individuals who enter piece of property with the owner’s permission or consent. For these individuals, the property owner must take reasonable care to remove hazards or warn visitors about them in order to prevent an injury.
Trespassers, individuals who enter property without the owner’s permission or consent, are owed the lowest duty of care. For a trespasser, a property owner only has the responsibility of abstaining from any intentionally wanton or violent contact meant to cause the trespasser harm.
When a property owner breaches the duty of care he or she owes to a victim based on the victim’s status, he or she may be deemed liable for the victim’s damages. In a premises liability claim, the victim must prove that a breach occurred and that the property owner could reasonably have prevented the injury if he or she had taken greater care to do so.
If You Are Injured by a Falling Object
If you need immediate medical attention, call 911 to have an ambulance dispatched to the scene. Your health and safety should always be your top priorities. If you do not need medical care right away, it is in your best interest to seek medical attention for your injury as soon as you can after the accident occurs. Receiving medical care in a timely manner is important for two reasons:
- The sooner you receive medical care, the easier your recovery will be for you physically; and
- In your personal injury claim, you will need to demonstrate that you were truly injured and in need of medical care. If your record shows that you waited a month or longer to seek a diagnosis and treatment, it will appear that you were not in much pain and thus not in need of much compensation.
You will also need to prove your claim’s validity by providing the insurance company with which you file your claim with ample evidence of your accident. This evidence can include photographs, video surveillance, testimonies from witnesses, and the official police report, if one exists. Your lawyer can help you obtain these documents if necessary.
Work with an Experienced Columbia Falling Debris Injury Lawyer
If you have been injured by a falling object or piece of debris in Columbia, you could be entitled to receive compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. To learn more about your rights as a victim and the personal injury claim process, contact Joye Law Firm to set up your free initial consultation with a member of our team of experienced falling debris injury attorneys. If you cannot come to us, we can come to you. Do not wait to make the call and start discussing your case with us.