Owning property is one of the biggest accomplishments you will have in your life, but it also comes with a lot of responsibilities. You are required to keep any property that you own in an adequately safe condition. It is your responsibility to protect people against the possibility of any accidents on the property that could result in injuries.
So, there are premises liability laws that protect victims and hold property owners accountable for the condition of their properties. If you have been injured on someone else’s property, or someone has been injured on your property, you need the help of a Charleston premises liability lawyer.
David Aylor Law Offices is home to skilled Charleston premises liability lawyers who have handled numerous cases with varying injuries. If you have been injured because of the negligence of a property owner, you could be entitled to compensation. We will research all aspects of your case, to ensure that we get you the settlement that you deserve.
How Premises Liability Works in Charleston, South Carolina
First, we need to determine who owns the property. For example; if you were injured in a parking lot because of faulty lighting, who is responsible? Is it the store that you were going into, or does another entity own the parking lot? In South Carolina, there are four different types of people that can come onto a property: licensees, invitees, adult trespassers, and children.
- Licensee: This is a person allowed to enter the property with consent from the owner. However, the owner has no obligation to make the premises safe for the licensee. The property owner does have to warn him of any dangers or concealed activities on the premises.
- Invitee: This person enters on the property with the invitation of the owner. In this situation, the property owner is responsible for the safety of the invitee. If the invitee is hurt on the premises, then the property owner is responsible for these injuries.
- Trespasser: If someone is on your property without your permission, they’re a trespasser. This person was not invited onto the property and is there because of their own interest. So, owners have a very small responsibility to make sure trespassers are safe on their premises.
The only time the responsibility to a trespasser is different, is if the trespasser is a child. If a property owner has reason to believe that a child could pass through their property, they must make sure the dangerous areas of the property are secure.
Is Premises Liability Law Complex?
Absolutely. In fact, you need an attorney that lists premises liability law as an area of practice. There are so many facets to these cases, and it’s important that you have an attorney who’s tried premises liability cases before. Even when a case seems straight forward, there are many gray areas. For example, if you are a worker on the premises of your job, you could start as an invitee and then lose that status through your type of work. You need someone that has experience handling these cases, so that they can research everything thoroughly.
Also, in many cases the occupier of the property is not the owner. So, if you are injured on a property that someone is renting, you need to deal with the property owner. There are a lot of rental properties in the Charleston area, especially because of tourism and colleges. It is the cause of the injury that will determine who is at fault. If the injury was because of an immovable object, then the landlord is liable.
However, if the injury was because of a moveable object, then it is probably the tenant. An example of a moveable object would be a piece of furniture. An immovable object would be a broken concrete outside of a door. So, you need a skilled attorney to be able to review your case and go over your options.
Defenses of Premises Liability Cases in Charleston
There are many defenses that can be used in a premises liability case. Just because there is a dangerous situation on a property, does not mean that the property owner is liable. The owner must have knowledge that the situation exists. Also, a visitor is responsible for seeing hazardous situations on their own.
For example, if there is a large hole in the ground, a visitor should be able to see that there is a hole in the ground. This is why yellow caution signs exist in grocery stores and malls. You have to factor in how much the injured person is at fault for their own accident.
Typical Types of Charleston Premises Liability Cases
If you have sustained an injury on a property because of the negligence of the owner, it could be a premises liability case. Some of the more common types of these cases include:
- Slip and fall accidents: If you slip and fall on a hard surface there is a good chance that you will hurt yourself. Whether you break a bone from catching yourself, or slip a disc, you could be facing some serious medical bills. These slips can occur on wet floors, uneven concrete, or even torn concrete.
- Poor security: There are situations on properties that occur because there isn’t enough security. So, crimes take place on the property that result in injuries. Even though the property knows there is a risk for crime on the premises, they refuse to have adequate security measures.
- Escalator and elevator accidents: Owners of buildings with elevators and escalators are responsible for ensuring the safety of these devices. A lot of injuries on these machines can occur because they were installed incorrectly by the owner of the property or a third party.
- Swimming pools: Pools are dangerous, and they can cause serious injuries or even death. A pool owner could be liable for injuries if a pool doesn’t have a fence or other safety features around them.
- Obstructed walkways: You can easily trip over something left in a walkway and injure yourself. For example, tripping over product while shopping in a store can cause injuries. Stores have a responsibility to keep walkways clear for the safety of their customers.
- Poor lighting: When on a property, it’s important that you are able to see where you’re going. Lighting is essential when walking on sidewalks, so that you can see any dips or ledges. Without lighting, it’s easy to trip and sustain injuries.
There are a lot of premises liability cases that take place on commercial and vacation properties. However, injuries on private or commercial properties could potentially be premises liability cases. You won’t know if you have a case until you meet with an experienced personal injury attorney.
If Someone Has Been in an Accident on My Charleston Property, What Should I Do?
You need to contact a Charleston personal injury lawyer immediately. There are many ways that your property is insured, and your insurance could cover the injuries sustained on your property. You need to meet with a lawyer as soon as possible with your insurance information, so you can see your options.
Contact an Experienced Charleston Premises Liability Attorney Today
These cases are too complex to handle on your own, and we’re here to help. If you have been injured because of the negligence of someone else, you’re entitled to compensation. Contact our offices today to schedule an appointment. Don’t miss out on your settlement by handling your case on your own!