You can encounter many different types of hazards when you enter another person’s property such as a dangerously slick floor or a broken railing. If the owner fails to address the condition or to warn you about it, and that negligence harms you or a loved one, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your losses. An experienced premises liability attorney from Joye Law Firm can provide the guidance and representation that you will need as you move forward.
Since 1968, our law firm has protected the rights of injury victims and their families in Charleston and surrounding communities in South Carolina. We go beyond seeking compensation for our clients. We work hard to improve the quality of their lives as well. To discuss how we can help you in your premises liability case, call us today or connect with us online and receive a free consultation about your case.
What are Common Charleston Premises Liability Cases?
Your case may fall in the category of “premises liability” if it involves the negligence of a property owner and/or the person who was in control of the property at the time of your accident and injury. The common premises liability cases that our attorneys handle on behalf of clients in Charleston are:
- Slip and falls – Many people suffer severe injuries when they slip or trip due to conditions such as items left in a walkway, spilled liquids, uneven sidewalks, torn carpet, broken railings, poor lighting, concealed holes, damaged stairs or ice in parking lots. Falls often occur in nursing homes due to the neglect of the facility’s owner and staff members.
- Inadequate security – All too often, the owners or managers of hotels, motels, apartments, stores and office buildings fail to provide proper security for visitors even though there is a foreseeable risk of violent crimes taking place on the property.
- Elevator and escalator accidents – Owners of stores, shopping malls, hotels and office buildings have a duty to ensure that their elevators and escalators are in safe, working condition. All too often, injuries occur because the owner or a third-party vendor negligently installed and/or maintained the elevator or escalator.
- Falling objects – These accidents frequently occur at construction sites. Workers may drop tools or materials when they work from heights. They also occur in stores and warehouses, where carelessly placed items can fall from shelves. Victims often suffer head, brain and eye injuries.
- Swimming pool accidents – Children and other visitors can drown or suffer serious injuries when the people who own or oversee private and public pools fail to properly maintain them or to provide adequate supervision such as lifeguards. A pool owner or manager may also be liable if they fail to put up a fence and gate that will prevent young children from gaining access to a pool.
Most premises liability claims arise from accidents on commercial property, including vacation properties that one finds throughout the Charleston and Myrtle Beach areas. However, they can also arise from incidents on residential property. They may involve claims against homeowners, landlords and/or tenants. Joye Law Firm thoroughly investigates premises liability cases. We work hard to determine all parties who should held liable for our clients’ injuries and to identify all insurance policies and sources of compensation that are available to our clients.
How Do You Prove a Charleston Premises Liability Claim?
To establish that a property owner and/or the party in control of property owe compensation to you for your injuries, you must prove:
- The party owed a duty of care to you
- The party breached that duty of care
- The breach of duty caused you to suffer your injuries.
Your status as a visitor may be an issue in your case. This is because the duty of care that a property owner owes to a visitor depends on the visitor’s status. For instance:
- If you are an invitee such as a customer at a store or a patient in a doctor’s office, the owner owes the highest duty of care to you. The owner must inspect the property, repair any dangerous conditions or warn you about any concealed, non-obvious dangers that the owner knows or should know about.
- If you are a licensee such as a social guest, the owner owes a slightly lower duty of care to you. The owner must warn you about any hidden hazards that the owner knows or reasonably should know about.
- If you are an adult trespasser, the owner owes no duty beyond refraining from willfully or wantonly causing you to suffer injury. However, if a trespasser is a child, the owner must take precautions to keep the child safe from a dangerous artificial condition on the property which the owner knows or should know about. For example, a swimming pool owner generally should put up fencing and a gate to keep young children out of the area.
In addition to challenging a visitor’s status, an owner may challenge whether a breach of duty actually occurred. Joye Law Firm works hard to collect evidence that can establish whether a breach occurred, including:
- Witness statements
- Photos of the scene where the injury occurred
- Footage from video surveillance cameras
- Building and/or property maintenance records
- Past customer complaints or police reports
- Medical records (showing the nature and extent of a client’s injuries).
A property owner’s failure to comply with local building codes or its own policies may establish negligence. Our lawyers also may consult with engineers, architects and other experts who can review a case, determine how a property owner breached the duty of care owed to a visitor and assess how that breach caused the visitor to suffer injuries.
Owners often try to shift blame to visitors. They may argue that the visitor suffered injury due to an “open and obvious” hazard, or they may claim that the visitor assumed the risk of exposure to a hazard. However, Joye Law Firm will aggressively challenge any attempt to put undue blame on you and fight for all compensation you are entitled to receive.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Charleston Premises Liability Lawsuit?
The value of your premises liability injury claim will depend on the specific facts of your incident, the extent of your injuries and the insurance policies available to provide compensation. The attorneys of Joye Law Firm will identify all insurance policies that apply in your case, and we will work tirelessly to seek the maximum amount for you. The damages we pursue on your behalf may include:
- All of your past and future medical expenses
- Any rehabilitation-related expenses
- Long-term disability
- Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
As we pursue a settlement or verdict for you, we will always pay close attention to what is important to you. We want to go beyond recovering money – we want to improve your quality of life. We will charge no legal fees unless we recover compensation for you.
Get Help Today from a Charleston Premises Liability Attorney
You typically have three years from the date of an injury to bring a premises liability claim in South Carolina. This is called the statute of limitations. If you fail to act on time, you could lose your right to recover just compensation for your injuries. Don’t let this happen to you. Contact Joye Law Firm today. We will provide a free consultation through our Charleston office and start work on your case right away.