Legal Basis for Premises Liability Claims
Trips and falls happen all the time, but what about when they happen on someone else's property?
If an accident occurs on someone else's property that is caused by the owner's neglect or a dangerous condition that they failed to warn someone about or protect them from, it could result in a lawsuit. The victim can go after the owner for damages that may include medical expenses, lost wages, and physical and emotional pain suffering.
If you were involved in a premises liability accident, you need a good lawyer on your side. The Hopkins Law Firm Is a team of Charleston, South Carolina professionals with years of experience in personal injury law. Read on to find out about your rights if you were injured on someone else's property.
What Constitutes a Premises Liability Lawsuit?
In order to sue someone for a premises liability injury, you must show evidence that the property owner knew about the hazard and failed to warn anyone or do anything about it. For instance, if you fall on a wet floor in a grocery store and the staff had put up a sign warning people to tread carefully, you may not have a case. Clearly, the management knew about the hazard and was trying to keep people safe.
However, there are incidents where you will be able to pursue the owner for damages. Here are some examples.
- A slip and fall on a wet floor where no signage was present.
- A trip and fall due to the lack of banister or guardrail in a hallway or stairway
- A trip and fall due to potholes in a parking lot
- An assault that could have been prevented if the shopping complex or apartment building had better security
- An injury at a swimming pool or playground due to poor supervision or damaged equipment
When premises injuries occur, it can be difficult to prove that the owner was aware of the danger that caused they accident. That's why it's so important to have a skilled attorney on your side.
What are the Rules for a Premises Accident?
There are two basic rules that come into play when determining who is responsible for a premises accident. These are as follows.
The Owner or Occupier Must Keep the Property Safe
The owner or occupier has a duty to keep visitors safe when they are on their property. This means they must protect them from injuries that may occur due to the design, condition, or construction of the property. The owner has control over the property; the visitor does not. Therefore, it is up to the owner to make any repairs necessary. If they do not, and their negligent actions result in an injury, the victim has a right to sue.
The Visitor Must Not Endanger Themselves or Others on the Property
The visitor must do their part by not acting in a dangerous fashion while on the property. If they engage in activities that are considered careless, unexpected, and unauthorized and become injured, it is not considered the property owner's fault. For instance, if they slide down a stair banister that ends up collapsing, the owner will not be held responsible for damages.
Who is Responsible: The Owner or the Occupier?
If you are injured on a rental property, there may be confusion as to who to go after for damages: the owner or the occupier. This may vary based on whether the injury occurred on a commercial or private property. Here are some things to be aware of.
When a commercial property is rented, there are usually terms in the lease about liability and who is responsible if an accident occurs. If you are injured on a commercial property, notify the business. They will contact the insurance company of the party who is responsible for damages.
In a residential property, the landlord will be responsible for injuries that occur in common areas as well as those that are due to immovable objects within the apartment such as the floors, walls, and fixtures. The tenant will be responsible for injuries that are caused by movable objects in the apartment.
However, the tenant may be responsible for injuries inside the apartment if there was a hazard that they failed to tell the landlord about. For instance, if a broken floorboard caused the injury and the tenant never spoke to the landlord about repairs, they will be at fault for damages.
If the injury occurred in a private home, the owner will be responsible for injuries that occurred inside and outside the property. If the home is being rented, the tenant may be responsible as well.
Can I Sue the City if I Slip and Fall on a Public Sidewalk?
Yes. According to South Carolina premises liability law, people injured on sidewalks and in other public places are permitted to sue the city if the property was not properly cared for. However, there are some entities that are granted immunity, so they are protected from compensating victims for damages. It is best to talk to a lawyer to find out what your rights are before moving forward with a case against the city.
How Hopkins Law Firm Can You Help in Your Charleston, South Carolina Premises Accident
If you were injured on someone else's property, it can be difficult to prove the owner was aware of the situation and failed to take action. That is why it is so important to have a skilled attorney on your side.
The Hopkins Law Firm has over 30 years of experience representing people in personal injury and premises claims in Charleston, South Carolina. We have a track record for getting our clients the best possible outcomes. We will fight tirelessly to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
A premises accident can greatly reduce your quality of life. Take a stand against at fault parties. Call the Hopkins Law Firm to schedule a free consultation. They will see to it that justice is served.