Slip and fall accidents can occur at any time in South Carolina and for a variety of reasons. You might fall in your home, on the way to work or school, at the grocery store, or while dining at your favorite local hot spot. Elderly adults are especially at risk for slip and fall accidents and injuries.
Not all slip and fall accidents result in injuries or require a hospital stay, and not all slip and fall accident injuries require legal representation. Yet, when a negligent property owner fails to maintain a safe environment and someone slips and falls, they can sustain severe injuries and hold the property owner liable. Accident victims need a South Carolina slip and fall lawyer to advocate for them and help them recover fair compensation.
If you or someone you love has sustained injuries in a slip and fall accident in South Carolina due to a property owner’s negligence, you may qualify to receive compensation for your injuries and losses. South Carolina law gives you three years from your date of injury to bring a lawsuit against the careless property owner who caused you harm. Contact the South Carolina slip and fall lawyers at Hughey Law Firm online or at (843) 881-8644 for a free consultation to discuss your slip and fall case and the ways we can assist you going forward.
Hughey Law Firm’s Results in Slip and Fall Accident Claims
The award-winning legal team at Hughey Law Firm has been advocating for injured clients for more than a decade, including those who have suffered injuries in slip and fall accidents. The firm’s commitment to seeking justice and client service has led to tens of millions in settlements and jury awards for clients and their families, helping to eliminate or reduce the economic burden that often comes with a severe injury.
Some recent successful results we have helped slip and fall accident victims receive through settlements and court-awarded damages include:
- $497,500 for a client who suffered falls and a broken hip at a nursing home.
- $440,000 for a client who suffered falls and a broken arm at a nursing home.
- $435,000 for a client who fell over a rolled floor mat at a restaurant.
- $425,000 for a client who broke an ankle in a slip and fall accident.
- $415,000 for a client who suffered a fall on the stairs at church.
- $415, 000 for a client who suffered injuries falling on stairs without a handrail.
- $375,000 for a client who fell on a hazardous sidewalk.
- $215,000 for a client who needed surgery after suffering a fall at a nursing home.
- $200,000 for a resident who needed hip surgery after a slip and fall accident in a nursing home
The above case results are examples of financial outcomes in slip and fall accident cases; they do not guarantee specific results for your slip and fall accident claim. Each case has underlying facts and circumstances that can increase or decrease its value. The personal injury attorneys at Hughey Law Firm have the resources and knowledge to help build the best case possible against the negligent property owner who harmed our clients. Read on to learn more about your recovery options through a premises liability claim.
Common Hazards that Lead to Slip and Fall Accidents
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) estimates that one-third of those over age 65 fall each year, and many suffer hip fractures as a result. These falls result in more than 7,000 hospitalizations and 25,000 emergency room visits in South Carolina each year.
Slips and falls occur in many scenarios, but slip and fall accidents typically happen when dangerous conditions exist on the premises, such as spilled liquid, damaged or uneven flooring, and objects left in the walking path.
Here are some common hazards that can lead to dangerous slip and fall accidents:
- Wet and dry spills or product use including water, food, oil, grease, powders, sawdust, hay, and more
- Heavily polished tile, marble, and wood floors
- Falling debris and uncleared trash
- Broken or malfunctioning escalators
- Rotten wood on steps and stair rails
- Broken floorboards in old buildings
- Loose carpeting and broken tiles
- Uneven walking paths and sidewalks
- Poor lighting in stairwells and parking lots
The key element of establishing liability for a slip and fall accident is to show that the property owner neglected to take action to mitigate any potential risk to visitors on their property as any reasonable person would do.
Risk Factors That Make People More Prone to Slip and Fall Accidents
Along with dangerous conditions and preventable hazards, other factors also contribute to the likelihood of experiencing a slip and fall accident. According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), three risk factors increase the chances that a person falls and suffers injuries. They are:
Aging typically results in the loss of bone mass and muscle strength for many. This loss makes it more difficult to balance in general, and more difficult to recover balance after losing one’s footing.
Those who regularly exercise and have an overall high level of physical activity have better balance because they typically have more muscle mass. Those with sedentary lifestyles often have lower muscle mass, making it easier to fall when hazards are present.
Experiencing an unintentional fall can be an emotionally traumatic event. Some people develop a severe phobia of another fall. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that people who experience one fall are twice as likely to fall again.
Slip and Fall Accidents Lead to Multiple Types of Injuries
Victims of slip and fall accidents can suffer a wide array of injuries that range from mild to fatal. Some common slip and fall accident injuries include:
- Broken bones, particularly in the arms and wrists as people try to break their fall
- Fractured hips
- Sprains, strains, tears, and other soft tissue damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI), which can be mild and or severe and lead to chronic issues with pain, cognitive functions, and motor skills.
- Spinal cord injuries
- Psychological trauma, especially for older adults who suffer injuries in a slip and fall accident.
No matter how serious your injuries appear at the time of the slip and fall accident, you need to get a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Some injuries do not present symptoms immediately, but you need to get medical attention to make sure there are no underlying issues that could cause problems later, and you will need documentation that you sustained an injury and received treatment to file a slip and fall accident injury claim.
Visitor Status in South Carolina Slip and Fall Accident Cases
South Carolina law has four classifications for people who go onto another party’s premises: trespassers, invitees, licensees, and children. Property owners have different duties of care based on visitor status. Here is a broad view of how each visitor status impacts a landowner’s potential liability in a trip and fall accident case:
Under South Carolina law, adult trespassers have no rights if they suffer slip and fall accident injuries on another person’s property. Owners are legally prohibited from causing intentional harm or setting traps for trespassers, but they owe no further duty of care to them.
An invitee is a person who enters another’s property with an express or implied invitation. Specifically, invitees have a connection with the landowner’s business, and the owner benefits from the invitee’s presence. The law divides invitees into public invitees and business visitors. Public invitees enter on public land for public use, such as parks.
Other invitees fall under the category of business visitors because their purpose for being on the property is related to doing business with the owner. Business invitees include diners in a restaurant, patients in a medical office, shoppers at the mall, and many other places people conduct business.
Landowners have the most duty towards invitees to the extent they owe them reasonable care for safety. Landowners must warn invitees of hidden dangers they know or should know.
A licensee has consent to enter on another party’s property, but their presence is tolerated. Licensees are not always invited. Social guests are the most common licensees. Landowners have less obligation towards licensees. Under South Carolina law, a property owner must use reasonable care to discover the licensee and avoid causing injury, and to warn of any concealed hazardous conditions or activities. A property might be liable if a licensee slips, falls, and suffers injuries.
South Carolina law protects children, especially young children, when they trespass on someone else’s property. Old cars, swimming pools, trampolines, and play equipment are all items, referred to as attractive nuisances, that attract children to a particular property. If a child trespasses and suffers slip and fall injuries as a result of an attractive nuisance, South Carolina property owners potentially face financial liability for costs related to injuries.
Common Defense Tactics for Property Owners in Slip and Fall Cases
Property owners, business owners, and their insurance companies often do not want to pay out insurance claims, and especially not court-ordered damages from a personal injury lawsuit. If you file an insurance claim or take legal action after a slip and fall accident, the defense may use a variety of tactics to deny or devalue your claim.
As you go through the claims process, the property owner, their insurance company, and defense legal teams might employ the following strategies:
- Argue you were trespassing when you fell.
- Argue you were in a prohibited or restricted area of the property.
- Argue you ignored posted warnings and verbal warnings about the hazard or dangerous condition that led to your slip and fall.
- Argue you were distracted by your cell phone, another person, food, or some other common distraction that caused you to overlook the obvious danger in your path.
- Downplay the severity of your injuries and argue that you or your doctor are claiming your injuries are worse than they are.
- Argue you did not injure yourself on the property because you had preexisting injuries.
- Argue you were not at the location where you claim the slip and fall accident occurred.
- Argue that any other reasonable visitor would have noticed the dangerous condition and gone out of their way to avoid it.
Our slip and fall injury attorneys have seen these tactics before and they never surprise us. Since we understand the insurance company’s defense tactics, we can protect your rights and establish the property owner’s negligence.
With thorough accident investigation and case preparation, our lawyers will advocate for you and fight to give you the best odds of receiving maximum compensation through your slip and fall claim.
Recovering Compensation After a South Carolina Slip and Fall Accident
If you take legal action against a negligent landowner, come to an agreeable settlement, or the court rules in your favor during litigation, you might recover the following losses related to your slip and fall injuries:
- Medical bills and treatment expenses, including ambulance rides, emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgery, follow-up care, diagnostic imaging, prescriptions, and travel to and from the hospital/doctor.
- Rehabilitation costs such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and mental health services.
- Expenses for assistive devices such as wheelchairs or canes.
- Estimated future medical treatment costs when a slip and fall accident causes a permanent injury requiring ongoing care.
- Lost wages for missing work if applicable.
- Estimated future lost wages for catastrophic slip and fall accident injuries.
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering.
- Decreased quality of life.
- Loss of consortium with a spouse if applicable.
- Punitive damages, if the property owner intentionally caused harm.
If you have lost a loved one as a result of a fatal slip and fall accident injury, you might be eligible for compensation depending on your relationship with the deceased. A South Carolina slip and fall accident attorney, like those at Hughey Law Firm, could evaluate your case and advise you on the best course of action for receiving appropriate compensation.
South Carolina Slip and Fall FAQ
Often a slip and fall can seem like a minor incident, but many slip and fall accidents result in injuries that alter the victim’s day-to-day life. It is important for slip and fall victims to understand that they have the right to seek compensation for their injuries if the fall occurred because of another party’s negligence or while operating within the scope of their duties as an employee.
Read on for answers to some questions commonly asked about slip and fall accidents and to understand your options for recovery after a fall. For more specific information about your legal options, contact Hughey Law Firm.
Q: HOW FREQUENTLY DO SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENTS HAPPEN?
Slip and fall accidents result in over 800,000 hospitalizations each year in the United States, and one in five falls causes a serious injury. The elderly are especially susceptible to injury from falls, and each year three million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries. In fact, more than 95 percent of all hip fracture injuries are the result of a fall. Slip and fall injuries come with significant economic impact as well, with a recent year’s medical costs totaling more than $50 billion.
In South Carolina, fall-related injuries among older adults result in nearly 7,000 hospitalizations and 25,000 emergency room visits each year. The numbers, however, are significantly higher in some years. In one year, there were 417 deaths, 17,471 hospitalizations, and 134,448 emergency department visits from falls in South Carolina. Non-fatal injuries result in over $1.2 billion in hospital and emergency department charges annually in South Carolina, and fatalities from falls result in another $103 million in lost productivity and medical costs.
Q: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE IF I FALL AT WORK IN SOUTH CAROLINA?
If the fall happened at work in the scope of your duties as an employee, your lawyer could hold your employer responsible for your injuries. Your attorney will not need to show that the employer acted negligently, and recovery will be managed through the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission. Be sure to immediately report an on-the-job injury to your employer and request medical treatment. You risk losing benefits if you do not report the claim within 90 days of the injury. It is important to follow all administrative requirements to secure and retain your workers’ compensation benefits. A lawyer could assist you with filing your claim, advocating for your recovery, and appealing any adverse decisions.
Independent contractors are not eligible for workers’ compensation and must demonstrate negligence to recover for their injuries. If the independent contractor establishes negligence, they are potentially eligible for recovery of damages not available through workers’ compensation, such as emotional distress.
An independent contractor is free to control and direct their own work.
Factors used to determine this include:
- Any direct evidence of the right or actual exercise of control by the employer;
- Method of payment;
- Which party furnishes equipment; and
- If the party has a right to fire the individual.
Work with your attorney to analyze your status as an employee or independent contractor and to understand how this could affect your ability to recover from your workplace injury.
Q: SHOULD I ACCEPT A SETTLEMENT OFFER FOR MY SOUTH CAROLINA SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT?
The defendant or their insurance provider is likely to make one or more settlement offers before the case goes to trial. Settlement offers allow for a speedier resolution to the matter and provide a guaranteed recovery. However, they may be for an amount significantly below the full extent of your damages.
Work with your lawyer to analyze any settlement offer, taking into account the full scope of your damages and the strength of the evidence against the defendant.
Q: HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO FILE A SOUTH CAROLINA SLIP AND FALL LAWSUIT?
Plaintiffs must file any lawsuit for recovery of damages after a South Carolina slip and fall accident within three years of the accident. This is called the statute of limitations, and the clock begins ticking when the victim is injured. While three years sounds like a lot of time, it will pass quickly as you manage your injuries, secure evidence of the plaintiff’s negligence, and prepare a damages demand and court documents with the help of a lawyer.
Contact an experienced slip and fall attorney as soon as possible after your accident so that you do not lose your opportunity to recover damages for your injuries.
Q: HOW COULD AN ATTORNEY HELP ME OBTAIN DAMAGES FOR MY SOUTH CAROLINA SLIP AND FALL INJURIES?
Yes. A lawyer can be a valuable partner as you seek to recover damages from your slip and fall injuries. Your lawyer would work with you to analyze the facts of your premises liability case, determine which party is responsible for your fall, compile evidence to support your case, prepare a damages demand, communicate with the defendant and insurance companies, analyze settlement offers, and prepare court documents.
The team at Hughey Law Firm is here to help. Our firm understands the real issues our clients face. If you or a loved one were injured in a slip and fall accident in South Carolina, contact Hughey Law Firm today or through our website to schedule a free initial consultation.
Get the Legal Help You Need from a South Carolina Slip and Fall Attorney
Coping with the emotional and economic aftermath of a serious injury can be frustrating and difficult. You should not have to feel overwhelmed and mentally exhausted on top of the physical pain you have experienced from a slip and fall injury. A South Carolina slip and fall accident lawyer can guide you through the fall injury claims process and help you recover damages. Contact Hughey Law Firm at (843) 881-8644 for a free case evaluation. Let us work to help you get the compensation you deserve, from a settlement or jury verdict in your favor.
“Thank you Hughey Law Firm! It was a pleasure to work with you on my case! From the beginning, every contact I had with your firm was professional, kind, helpful, and painless! I always felt kept in the loop, and important to you as a client. If you are looking for a personal injury attorney with integrity, I would highly recommend Hughey Law Firm!”
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