South Carolina law obligates property owners to warn visitors of hazards on the property and to maintain a safe environment for visitors. Sometimes a property owner’s failure to live up to this obligation—either by negligence or recklessness—leads to injury. In such cases, the injured visitor might be entitled to compensation from the property owner.
If you, your child, or another loved one sustained an injury on someone else’s property, call an experienced attorney to determine your eligibility to recover damages. South Carolina has a three-year statute of limitations for claims arising out of injuries while on someone else’s property, so it can be important to act quickly. Call the skilled premises liability attorneys at the Hughey Law Firm in Greenville at (843) 881-8644 to schedule a free consultation to discuss how we might be able to help.
Hughey Law Firm’s Results in Premises Liability Cases
The team at Hughey Law Firm has years of experience handling premises liability cases. We have recovered millions of dollars in damages for our clients. Recent examples of our success in premises liability cases include:
- $1.5 million settlement for a client who was injured in a nightclub
- $1.5 million settlement for a client who had her leg crushed by a dock at a vacation rental home
- $650,000 for a client who had an amputation after an injury on another’s property
- $350,000 for a child who was trapped in a house fire
- $350,000 settlement for a client who fell on a slippery stairway
- $250,000 verdict for a client who fell in a stairwell
These examples do not guarantee results in any particular case, but the lawyers at the Hughey Law Firm aim to achieve the best possible outcome for every client.
Common Premises Liability Accidents
There are lots of different ways you could get hurt on someone else’s property. Some of the more common incidents that lead to the property owner having liability to an injured visitor include:
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents
- Elevator accidents
- Escalator accidents
- Poor building maintenance that leads to injury
- Lack of building security that leads to injury
- Swimming pool accidents
- Theme park accidents
- Fires and explosions
The Importance of a Visitor’s “Status” Under South Carolina Law
Whether or not a person can recover damages for an injury sustained on another party’s property hinges on the visitor’s status while on the property. Like many states, South Carolina separates visitors into three categories: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
- Invitees are those who have an express or implied invitation of the property owner. This includes people who visit places of business or go to public parks. Property owners have the most obligation towards invitees; they must maintain a safe environment and warn visitors of any hazards on their property.
- Licensees might be invited or uninvited. Social guests that include neighbors, friends, and family members are the most common type of invited licensees. Uninvited licensees have implied consent to be on one’s property and include mail carriers, package delivery persons, and the guy that reads your electric meter each month.
- Trespassers do not have permission to be on the premises, so the owner doesn’t have the same duty of care towards them. Property owners in South Carolina, however, cannot intentionally harm or set traps for trespassers. South Carolina law makes an exception for trespassers that are children. Property owners must maintain a safe environment for children who might wander on their property and get injured, or they might be held liable. The most common example of this is a trampoline or a swimming pool that draws in children, but isn’t fenced, so a child drowns or sustains a serious injury.
Common Damages Are Recoverable in a Premises Liability Case
South Carolina law entitles those who are injured on someone else’s property to recover a wide range of damages related to their injury. Here are some of the most common damages that a court might award in a premises liability lawsuit:
- Medical expenses including ambulance, emergency services, hospitalization, doctor visits, radiology, and medications
- Future medical expenses in the event of a permanent disability
- Lost wages for time missed from work
- Lost future wages if an injury prohibits someone from returning to work or requires them to change professions
- Rehabilitation and recovery expenses, including physical therapy and assistive devices such as wheelchairs, canes, and prosthetic limbs
- Modification costs to make the injured person’s place of residence more accessible by adding things such as ramps and handrails or other special equipment
- Cost of replacement services, such as domestic help for cooking, cleaning, lawncare, and other things that the injured cannot do after an accident
- Pain and suffering related to the injury
- Loss of consortium
Property Owner Defenses
Property owners and their insurance carriers will often do everything they can to avoid paying some or all of the damages to which you might be entitled. South Carolina courts apply a “modified comparative negligence” rule to premises liability cases. This means that the court reduces any awards by the percentage that it finds a claimant is responsible for his or her own injury. In the event that the court finds the injured party is more than 50 percent at fault, he or she is barred from collecting damages. This gives the defense motivation to shift the blame to the injured party by suggesting that the victim was distracted, the victim was in a prohibited area or the property, the hazard was brought to the visitor’s attention, and a variety of other scenarios. An experienced premises liability lawyer will anticipate these tactics and know how to fight against them.
Contact a Skilled Premises Liability Lawyer in Greenville
If you have sustained an injury on another party’s property, it can be important to retain a skilled premises liability attorney to help you recover compensation and protect you from counterclaims and attacks by the defense. Call one of the experienced premises liability lawyers at Hughey Law Firm at (843) 881-8644 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential options.