Slip and fall accidents are a surprisingly common way that people in Summerville and across South Carolina sustain serious injuries.
More than 800,000 people nationwide are hospitalized because of falls every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People who suffer serious falls are often left with painful injuries and expensive medical bills. Unfortunately, these incidents are often the fault of careless property owners or retail business owners who fail to correct unsafe conditions.
The Summerville slip and fall lawyers at the Joye Law Firm are ready to help if you have been injured in a fall that was caused by a property owner’s disregard for safety. Our law firm has represented tens of thousands of injured South Carolinians since opening our doors over 50 years ago. In that time, our Charleston and Summerville lawyers have secured numerous $1,00,000+ recoveries for victims of slip and fall and trip-and-fall accidents.
We can never promise a specific outcome to a case since every slip and fall case depends on the unique facts of the incident, but you can rest assured knowing that we know exactly what it takes to maximize your case. But what makes our Summerville attorneys really stand out is our dedication to client service. We treat our clients with compassion and respect. At Joye Law Firm, you’re more than a case number, you are a valued client. To get started, contact our office in Summerville for a free case review with an experienced slip and fall injury lawyer.
Slip and Fall Laws in South Carolina
Slip and fall cases in South Carolina are usually based on the concept of negligence. According to the law, property owners who disregard their legal responsibility to take reasonable precautions to prevent an accident may be held liable for the injuries that result.
The level of responsibility that a property owner has for an accident depends on the relationship between the property owner and the visitor.
The property owner’s level of responsibility for each type of visitor is as follows:
- Invitees – A customer in a Summerville store or restaurant would be considered an invitee. An invitee is on a business’s premises with the owner’s permission and is there for the owner’s commercial benefit. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees. Property owners must warn invitees of hazards on the premises and actively look out for potential dangers.
- Licensees – A licensee is on the premises with the owner’s permission but is not there for a commercial purpose. Social guests at a house party are generally considered licensees, as are meter readers and cable installers. Property owners must ensure licensees are warned about any known hazards on the property.
- Trespassers – A trespasser is anyone on another person’s property without permission. Property owners owe a minimal duty of care to trespassers. The law says they can only be held liable for willful or intentional injuries inflicted on a trespasser. However, South Carolina makes an exception for young children who are not old enough to recognize certain hazards such as an unguarded swimming pool.
There are a few other important things to keep in mind after you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident. In South Carolina, a property owner’s duty of care does not stop at the door. They can be held responsible for accidents in areas such as sidewalks, parking lots, and entryways. For example, if you slip on a pile of wet leaves on the sidewalk outside a store, the owner or manager might be liable for your injuries if they should have cleared the sidewalk.
In most cases, South Carolina’s statute of limitations on personal injury cases gives you three years from the date of a slip and fall accident to file a lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, your case will likely be dismissed. Missing the filing deadline would prevent you from pursuing compensation through the court system.
Finally, under South Carolina’s comparative negligence laws, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries even if you are found partly liable for your slip and fall accident. The opposing insurance company may try to tell you otherwise, but don’t let them. Hire an experienced lawyer that is familiar with litigating Summerville slip and fall accidents.
Where Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?
Slip and fall accidents can occur almost anywhere in Summerville. They tend to happen in places with high foot traffic and more potential hazards such as grocery stores, commercial stores, and hotels.
An individual may fall and suffer a serious injury in a:
- Restaurant or bar
- Grocery store
- Retail store
- Gym and fitness
- Parking lot
- Escalator or elevator
- Swimming pool
- Amusement park
- Sports venue
While these are some of the most common spots where slip and fall accidents happen, you have the right to pursue compensation after any fall on someone else’s property, provided they were at fault for the dangerous conditions that caused the fall and did not sufficiently warn you. Our Summerville injury lawyers can help you determine if you have grounds for a successful slip and fall case.
How Do Slip and Fall Accidents Happen?
Some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents in Summerville are:
- Wet floors – Slippery or uneven floor surfaces make it much harder for people to keep their balance and avoid falling. If a floor or walkway has spilled liquids on it, has recently been waxed, or is wet from being mopped and doesn’t have a warning sign, someone can slip and injure themselves.
- Uneven Floors — Uneven walking surfaces including unmarked drop-offs, steps without rails, loose rugs or floor mats, worn carpets, and broken pavement may cause a trip and fall.
- Blocked Aisles – Objects and debris cluttering the floor are serious safety hazards and can cause someone to fall. Boxes in aisles of retail stores and extension cords stretched across walkways can cause trip-and-fall injuries.
- Poor lighting – Lack of adequate lighting in stairwells or burnt-out lights can cause someone to misjudge a step and cause a slip and fall accident.
- Unsafe stairways – Poorly maintained stairways and loose handrails are other common causes of slip and fall accidents. A property owner may be at fault for a slip and fall accident for failing to maintain the property adequately and repair broken steps or loose handrails.
- Office or workplace accidents – both slip and fall and trip-and-fall accidents are common job hazards, even in office settings. If your fall occurred while you were at work, you may qualify for a South Carolina workers’ compensation claim.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall accidents can cause significant injuries.
Some common slip and fall accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Neck and back injuries
- Shoulder injuries
- Nerve damage
- Muscle damage and other soft-tissue injuries
- Joint injuries
- Knee injuries
- Broken bones
- Cuts and bruises
What To Do After a Slip and Fall Accident in South Carolina
Insurance companies are likely to deny liability or offer an inadequate settlement that doesn’t cover your medical bills or other expenses related to your slip and fall accident. Having an experienced Summerville personal injury attorney from Joye Law Firm present your claim and deal with the insurer can make a significant difference in the outcome.
Here are the steps to take after a slip and fall accident in South Carolina:
- Report the accident – Make a written report to the property owner or the business manager, if the property owner is unavailable. If you are seriously injured, you or someone nearby should call 911, which can also result in an independent report of the incident.
- Document the scene – Use your phone to take pictures of your injuries, the specific spot where the accident happened, and any hazards in the area that might have contributed to the accident. If your injuries prevent you from taking pictures, ask someone else to take photos for you, even if it is a few days later. You will also want to look around for any potential eyewitnesses and any surveillance cameras that might have recorded the accident.
- Get medical treatment – Of course, if you have severe injuries, you should go to a hospital directly from the accident scene. Even if you don’t feel seriously injured immediately, you should still see your doctor as soon as possible. You may have internal injuries that you have not recognized. Waiting too long to seek treatment could harm your health and will lead to complications when trying to recover compensation for your injuries.
- Save your medical records and receipts – Your medical records and receipts related to the accident are important pieces of evidence in a personal injury case. Save all of these documents to ensure you have a detailed account of your injuries and financial losses related to the accident.
- Do not give any recorded statements to insurance companies – You need to be extremely careful about your dealings with the property owner’s insurance company. The insurer may try to use any statement you make to minimize your claim. To protect your right to compensation after an accident, you should let your attorney handle all correspondence with the opposing insurance companies.
- Hire a slip and fall lawyer quickly – To have the best chance of seeking full compensation after a slip and fall accident, you need to speak with an attorney immediately. Significant evidence might be lost in the days and weeks after an accident. The property owner may repair the hazard after the accident so the unsafe condition is no longer evident. It’s important to contact a lawyer promptly. Your attorney can investigate the accident and handle the entire case on your behalf, giving you the time and space to recover from your injuries.
Slip and Fall Settlements: How Much Compensation Can You Receive?
The amount of money you may seek in a slip and fall settlement depends on your specific injuries, the insurance coverage available, and other factors.
A knowledgeable attorney can review the details of your accident and determine the types of damages that may be sought, such as compensation for:
- Medical bills including physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Lost wages with missed work
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Reduced future earning capacity
- Lowered quality of life
- Damaged personal property
Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney in Summerville Today
Trying to recover just compensation for a slip and fall accident by yourself can be a frustrating experience. The personal injury lawyers at Joye Law Firm are ready to help you, just as we have helped many other people in difficult situations. Contact us today to speak with a Summerville slip and fall attorney about your case.