When Is A Business Responsible For Your Slip And Fall Injury?

Maxey McFarland Law Firm > Blog > When Is A Business Responsible For Your Slip And Fall Injury?

Many people believe that if they suffer a slip and fall injury while visiting a store or if they trip and fall in the parking lot of a hotel, the business will automatically be on the hook for their injuries and damages. However, according to South Carolina law, this is not necessarily true. 

Business owners responsibilities

In South Carolina, business owners have a legal duty to business invitees on their property to ensure that their business premises are kept reasonably safe for business invitees. Business invitees are guests who are there for the business’ monetary gain. In other words, generally speaking, business owners have a duty to customers to ensure that their property is reasonably safe for their use. Business owners also have a duty to inspect their premises for hazardous conditions that would pose an unreasonable danger to their customers. However, business owners are only liable to customers for their injuries for hazards they knew or should have known about. These types of claims are typically referred to as premises liability claims.

Slip and fall injury cases in South Carolina

Premises liability cases are often difficult to prove in South Carolina. Injured customers have to prove that the business owner knew or should have known that there was an unreasonably dangerous hazard on his or her property. They must show that the hazard caused injury to the customer. Many premises liability claims fail because the injured person does not have evidence that the business owner or his employees had or should have had knowledge of the hazard. A classic example of this is a customer at a grocery store who slips in a puddle of water and injures his knee as a result.

For that customer to win his case against the business, he would have to prove that the business owner and/or his employees knew or should have known that water was on the floor. They must show that it posed an unreasonably dangerous hazard to the customer and caused them to slip, fall, and suffer an injury. It will be incredibly difficult for that customer to show where the puddle of water came from and how long it had been there. The business owner and his attorneys likely suggest that the plaintiff was comparatively negligent. That means they will argue that the plaintiff should have noticed the puddle of water and avoided it before slipping and falling.

Proving your slip and fall injury

However, a skilled personal injury lawyer can assemble a strong premises liability case by preserving evidence. They will obtain surveillance footage (if available). An attorney will secure witness testimony and obtain pictures of the incident scene. Depending on the facts of the case, a skilled personal injury lawyer may also retain an expert witness to inspect the incident scene for potential defects. Some of these defects include flooring materials that are excessively slippery, cleaning materials that render flooring unsafe after use, flooring material that has become overly worn down over time, or floors that are defectively designed. A skilled personal injury lawyer will also obtain the business’ safety rules, checklists, and records to determine whether the business followed its own rules regarding customer safety and floor cleanliness or whether the business had any such rules. 

Talk to a premises liability lawyer today

Call us at 864-387-8362 if you have suffered a slip and fall or trip and fall at a South Carolina business and suffered a serious personal injury. Maxey McFarland Law Firm has the necessary experience and knowledge to help you determine whether you have a premises liability case. If you do have a case, we have the ability to help you maximize your recovery.

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Last Updated: 01-31-2024
Written By: Will Maxey