Premises Liability Lawyer

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Premises Liability Lawyer

Have you sustained injuries because of a hazardous condition on someone else’s property in Greenville, South Carolina? If so, you may have grounds for a premises liability personal injury claim or lawsuit. 

Residential and commercial property owners have a legal duty to make their property safe for guests and visitors to prevent guests from getting hurt in avoidable incidents. You may be entitled to compensation if you were injured because a property owner neglected their duties. 

It’s not always clear when a property owner’s carelessness is significant enough to justify legal action. To better understand your options, review your case with a Greenville, SC, premises liability lawyer. We at Maxey McFarland Law will happily answer your questions and advise you about your rights and about your next steps. Learn more by calling us today at 864-387-8362 for a free case review. 

What Is Premises Liability in South Carolina? 

The legal theory of premises liability states that a property owner has a duty to ensure those with a legal right to be on a property are safe. Examples of individuals who may have a legal right to be on a property include:

  • Employees
  • Customers and other business guests
  • Social guests
  • Anyone else who may have a valid legal reason for being on a property, such as someone making a delivery 

A property owner must take reasonable steps to prevent hazardous conditions from harming any of the above parties. This generally involves: 

  • Monitoring the property for hazards
  • Addressing hazards thoroughly
  • When it’s impossible to address or eliminate a hazard, properly warning guests, or taking other such measures to protect them 

A person can sustain injuries if a property owner doesn’t fulfill the above responsibilities. The property owner doesn’t necessarily have to be the careless party who directly causes someone’s injuries. 

For example, maybe employees at a retail store fail to mop up a wet floor. Someone might sustain injuries in a slip and fall or similar accident because of the wet floor. Although the employees may have been negligent, the store’s owner is liable for the actions of their employees. Someone who sustains injuries in these circumstances may seek compensation by filing a claim with the store owner’s or property manager’s insurance. 

Common Examples of Premises Liability Cases 

To better understand how a careless property owner could endanger guests, consider the following examples: 

  • A commercial property owner knows the lighting in their parking lot is too dim for guests to see clearly at night. However, they don’t upgrade it in a timely manner. Because of this, you end up hurting yourself, tripping over a hazard you didn’t see.
  • A property owner doesn’t make upgrades to their electrical wiring despite knowing they need to do so. As a result, guests sustain injuries in a fire that could have been prevented had the upgrades been made in a timely manner.
  • An item falls to the floor at a store. Many minutes go by, and no employee stops to place it back on its shelf. Because no one was proactive, a customer trips over the item and sustains a concussion. 

There are also instances in which it’s not necessary to prove that someone failed in a duty to others to hold a property owner liable for injuries. For example, maybe someone gets hurt on another’s property as a result of a dog bite. Under South Carolina law, a dog owner or controller whose pet attacks someone else is strictly liable for injuries. You don’t have to prove an owner failed to act in a way that ensured the safety of others in order to seek compensation. 

Compensation Available in a South Carolina Premises Liability Case 

The compensation you may be eligible to receive can depend on the nature of your losses. Your losses may fall into two categories in a premises liability case: 

  • Economic losses
  • Non-economic losses 

Your medical bills and lost wages are economic losses because they have exact dollar values. 

Sometimes, economic losses also include losses you’ll technically incur in the future. For example, maybe you need long-term medical care due to your injuries. Perhaps your injuries also leave you unable to return to work in any capacity. Your personal injury lawyer can assess the value of those losses or engage an expert to evaluate the total amount of your future medical or income losses. Your future medical care and future lost wages could be included in your settlement or award. 

Your lawyer can also help you assign a potential value to non-economic losses. A non-economic loss is an intangible loss without an exact dollar value, such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life.  

Punitive Damages in a South Carolina Premises Liability Case 

Negotiating for a fair out-of-court settlement isn’t always possible. You may need to file a lawsuit to seek damages in a trial if the insurance company doesn’t offer a fair settlement. 

The jury may award punitive damages in a trial. Under South Carolina law, doing so is an option if a plaintiff’s injuries resulted from the defendant’s “wilful, wanton and reckless” conduct. 

Punitive damages don’t compensate a plaintiff for any losses they incurred. The point of awarding punitive damages is to punish a defendant. By punishing a defendant in this capacity, a court may deter them from engaging in similar reckless conduct in the future. 

What If I Sustained Injuries While at Work? 

Your job may take you to others’ properties on a regular basis. Perhaps you sustained injuries due to a hazardous condition on such a property. 

If you were operating as an employee when you sustained injuries, you’re typically eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. To receive workers’ comp benefits, you don’t need to show that you sustained injuries due to a property owner’s carelessness. You only need to show your injuries are work-related. 

Regardless, maybe your injuries did result from the carelessness of a property owner. Perhaps you sustained harm because they failed to address a hazardous condition or warn you about it. 

You may have grounds to file a third-party claim or lawsuit in these circumstances. In addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim, you can file a claim with a liable property owner’s insurance. 

Doing so may allow you to seek compensation for losses workers’ comp doesn’t cover. In South Carolina, workers’ compensation benefits only cover economic losses, like medical expenses. They don’t cover pain and suffering and other such non-economic losses. You would need to file a premises liability claim or lawsuit to seek compensation for such losses. A member of the team at our Greenville, South Carolina, premises liability lawyer can explain whether this is an option in your case. 

How a Greenville, South Carolina, Premises Liability Attorney Can Help 

Reviewing your case to explain potential legal options is just one way a Greenville, SC, premises liability lawyer may assist you. Other ways a lawyer can help include: 

  • Gathering evidence to show you sustained injuries because a property owner was careless
  • Gathering documentation of your losses (such as medical bills)
  • Handling administrative tasks, like completing and submitting claim paperwork
  • Negotiating with the insurance company for a fair settlement
  • Representing you at trial if the insurance company won’t offer the settlement you deserve 

A lawyer can also answer your questions regarding what you should and shouldn’t do while a case is pending. For example, a lawyer will usually advise you not to post about your case on social media. 

Posting on social media is unwise until you resolve your case. For instance, maybe you share a photo in which you appear to be engaging in strenuous physical activity. A claims adjuster might be monitoring your social media accounts. If they saw this photo, they could say it indicates your injuries are less severe than you claim. The insurance adjuster might use the post as evidence to justify offering less compensation than you’re seeking. 

Follow a lawyer’s advice when they explain how to avoid making such errors. Listening to your attorney can significantly improve your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve. 

How Long Do You Have to File a Premises Liability Lawsuit in South Carolina? 

a premises liability lawyer and a man having a conversation

Contacting an attorney to discuss your case sooner rather than later is critical. Under South Carolina’s statute of limitations, you have only three years from the date you sustained injuries to file a lawsuit. You will no longer have a right to pursue compensation in court if you miss the deadline. Avoid this by getting in touch with an attorney now. 

Contact a Greenville, South Carolina, Premises Liability Lawyer 

There are many ways you could sustain injuries on someone else’s property because they were careless. You may be eligible for compensation if this has happened to you. 

However, you don’t have to pursue compensation alone. Doing so is a complex process. In the aftermath of an accident, your recovery should be your top priority. Focusing on your recovery may be hard to do if you’re trying to figure out how to get the compensation you need. Let an attorney handle your case instead. At Maxey McFarland Law, a Greenville, SC, premises liability lawyer is prepared to offer the representation you deserve now. Find out more about how we can help by contacting us online or calling us at 864-387-8362 today for a free case review.

Last Updated: 03-13-2024
Written By: Will Maxey