Property owners and managers have a duty to keep the premises safe from hazards that could cause harm to visitors or patrons. If a property owner fails to notice or remedy a dangerous condition, they could be liable for any injuries that people suffer as a result.
South Carolina’s premises liability laws exist to help those who are hurt due to a property owner’s negligence. Whether you were hurt due to a slip-and-fall accident, a falling object, faulty elevator or escalator, inadequate lighting, a dog bite, negligent security, or any other potentially preventable incident, you have the right to seek compensation and justice.
The Clinton premises liability attorneys at Joye Law Firm know that nothing can undo the harm you’ve suffered. We are here to listen to you, help you understand your legal options, and help you hold the party responsible for your injuries accountable. Contact us at (877) 941-1019 to schedule a free consultation with us today.
How Can A Premises Liability Attorney Help Me In Clinton?
When you’ve been injured in an accident on someone else’s property in Clinton, you may not know where to turn for help. You may be forced to deal with mounting medical bills that you are unable to pay, especially if you also have been forced to miss significant time from work due to the accident.
While you might be aware that someone else’s negligence was to blame, you might not know who to bring your claim against or even how to go about pursuing a claim. That’s where a Clinton premises liability attorney can help.
An experienced premises liability attorney can evaluate your case to determine whether a property owner’s negligence caused your injuries by failing to remedy the hazards that caused the accident. Where multiple parties are involved in a property, such as leased premises, a premises liability attorney can determine which parties are legally responsible to provide you the compensation you deserve.
While you focus on your recovery, a premises liability attorney can get to work negotiating with the responsible parties and their insurance companies to secure a fair and full settlement for you.
Common Premises Liability Cases We Handle
Property owners or operators have a duty to make their property safe for visitors. This duty includes addressing any hazards that they know about or reasonably should have known about. When owners fail to protect visitors from harm, they could be liable for any injuries that they suffer. Some of the common premises liability cases include:
- Slip-and-fall accidents: These kinds of accidents can be caused by spilled liquids or food, rain, or ice and snow. Owners and operators of properties should clean up slipping hazards as soon as they discover them (or at least place warning signs around the hazard until it can be cleaned up).
- Obstructed walkways: Broken and uneven sidewalks can create trip-and-fall hazards, as can objects left in walkways or stairways, such as boxes, cords, or furniture.
- Falling objects: Objects can fall from shelves, and larger objects can fall if not properly secured to walls or floors. Construction sites are particularly prone to fall hazards, as heavy objects are frequently dropped from heights.
- Malfunctioning elevators and escalators: If an elevator or escalator is not flush with the floor when it stops, tripping hazards can easily result. Elevators can also cause severe injuries due to emergency drops or when door sensors fail to detect objects in the doorway.
- Inadequate security: If someone is the victim of an assault on another’s property because of insufficient security, a property owner or operator may be liable. Similarly, owners or operators of large event venues may be liable if they fail to provide enough security to control crowds.
- Bad lighting: Poor or malfunctioning lighting may prevent people from observing slipping or tripping hazards. Inadequate lighting also invites criminal activity.
- Recreational or amusement park accidents: Parks may have numerous slipping or tripping hazards. In addition, if rides or equipment at recreational and amusement parks are not properly designed, constructed, maintained, or operated, injury can result.
- Swimming pool accidents: Swimming pools pose obvious drowning hazards, and severe injury can occur if pools don’t post adequate warning signs to ward off diving in shallow areas. Inadequately maintained pools may also foster bacteria that can cause illness in swimmers.
- Dog bites: Dog owners may be liable when their dog attacks a person, even on the owner’s property.
Under What Circumstances Could I File a Premises Liability Claim?
To secure compensation for a premises liability claim, you must prove the existence of four circumstances to establish your entitlement to compensation, which includes:
- The property owner’s duty: The owner or operator of a property has a duty to keep their property safe from hazards; this duty is owed to anyone who comes onto the property. However, the extent of this duty depends on the visitor’s status. The law recognizes three statuses:
- An invitee — Someone who is on the property for the benefit of the owner or occupier and is owed the highest duty that requires a property owner to inspect the property for hazards and to remedy them in a timely manner
- A licensee — A person who has permission to enter property but does so for their own benefit and is merely owed the duty to correct or warn of known hazards
- A trespasser — Someone who has no permission to be on the property and to whom a property owner merely owes a duty to not willfully or recklessly injure.
- The property owner’s breach of their duty: A claimant must also prove that a property owner breached their applicable duty. Typically, this involves showing that they unreasonably failed to detect an existing hazard, failed a timely remedy of a known hazard, or failed to post warnings of a hazard.
- Causation: A claimant must also prove that the property owner’s breach of their duty caused the claimant to suffer damages. In some cases, a property owner may argue that a claimant was the cause of their own injury (for example, if the injured party failed to heed a warning sign or proceeded recklessly or without cause across a known hazard, such as running across a wet floor).
- Damages: Finally, a claimant must also prove that they suffered some damage, such as a physical injury or property damage.
Who is Liable for a Premises Injury in Clinton?
In many cases, the persons or companies occupying a property are not the owners of that property. Most businesses lease their space from real estate companies, while lots of people rent their homes. Sometimes injuries occur on public sidewalks or in public recreational areas that are owned and maintained by the government or a public agency.
As a result, when you’ve been hurt in an accident, it may not be immediately apparent who is liable for your injury. In most cases, it is best practice to assert your claim against both a property owner and the occupier of that property until you can sort out who was responsible for the hazard that caused your injury. This usually involves looking at lease agreements between lessor and lessee, along with applicable laws and statutes that govern premises liability for various categories of property.
- Commercial property: Factors that determine whether the business or the landlord of the property (if any) is responsible for your accident include where on the property your accident occurred and what the lease says about maintenance. For example, the business tenant may be responsible for the upkeep and repair of potential hazards inside the store, while the landlord is responsible for maintenance of parking lots or sidewalks.
- Leased residential property: If you are injured while visiting an apartment or other leased residential property, determining if the landlord or the tenant is liable depends on whether a fixed or moveable object caused your injury. “Fixed” objects can include entrances, hallways, stairs, and fixtures, floors, and appliances that came with the apartment; fixed objects also often include the common areas shared by multiple rented units. Conversely, “moveable” objects include objects placed in a rented residence by the tenant, such as furniture or rugs. However, a landlord may not be liable for a fixed hazard if they did not know or have reason to know about the hazard, typically when the tenant is responsible for contacting the landlord to notify them of the issue.
- Privately-owned residential property: Injuries occurring on residential property that is owned by the occupier are typically the responsibility of the owner. However, as many privately-owned residences are part of single-family homeowners, townhouse, or condominium associations, injuries that occur in the common areas may be the responsibility of the association; in turn, the association may contract out maintenance to a third party.
- Government property: The liability of the government or public agencies for injuries occurring on property owned by the government is often controlled by statute, which may limit the government’s liability or impose a requirement that an injured party provides the government with notice within a period as little as 90 days after their accident.
About Our Firm
The Joye Law Firm was established by our founding partner, Reese Joye, in 1968. Over the last 50 years, through our four offices across the state, we have worked to help South Carolina residents injured through no fault of their own obtain the compensation they deserve and need to recover from their injuries.
Our personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys collectively have nearly 250 years of combined litigation experience, with many of our attorneys, including partners Mark Joye and Ken Harrell, named South Carolina Super Lawyers.
In addition to serving our clients, we strive to give back to our community as well. We’ve created Joye in the Community, a program that encompasses our community service efforts, including our support of local education through the Joye Law Firm Annual Scholarship Program and organizations serving the well-being of others. Each year, we select a charitable partner, and for our 50th anniversary, we also chose a monthly charitable partner. We’ve been involved in fundraising for organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, and The Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center.
If you or a loved was injured while visiting someone’s home, patronizing a business, enjoying a park or recreational facility, or even simply walking down the street, call the experienced personal injury attorneys of the Joye Law Firm today at (877) 936-9707 or contact us online. We’ll set up a free consultation to discuss your legal options, what kinds of compensation you might be entitled, and how we can help you pursue your Clinton premises liability claim.