In South Carolina, property owners are responsible for maintaining safe conditions for anyone visiting legally. This concept extends to both residential and commercial property owners and is enforceable through civil law. If you or someone you love sustained injuries in an avoidable accident on another person’s property, you may have the opportunity to recover compensation for your losses. A Columbia premises liability lawyer at Rikard & Protopapas can help.
What a Columbia Premises Liability Lawyer Does
A premises liability attorney practices personal injury law, or tort law, helping victims harmed in incidents caused by someone else’s negligent or intentional action. When you hire one of our attorneys to represent you in a premises liability case, we take on the duties the process requires of you to prove your claim:
- Providing sufficient evidence to show that the property owner is responsible for damages
- Identifying, valuing, and collecting proof of your economic and non-economic losses
- Negotiating with the property owner’s insurance company to reach a settlement
- Preparing the case for trial when necessary
As your legal team, we also offer compassionate support and understand the need to act fast and recover financially.
Examples of Premises Liability Accidents
An experienced Columbia premises liability attorney handles accidents occurring under various circumstances. The most common premises liability cases include slip and fall incidents, which can occur anywhere but often happen in restaurants, grocery stores, and other commercial properties with heavy foot traffic.
Other common cases under the umbrella of premises liability include staircase accidents, falling objects, elevator and escalator accidents, amusement park accidents, and injuries involving swimming pools. Our Columbia premises liability lawyer will investigate the accident, determine who is at fault and liable for damages, and gather the evidence necessary to support the claim.
How a Columbia Premises Liability Attorney Proves Negligence
As the plaintiff or claimant, you are responsible for proving your claim that the property owner is liable for your losses. First, one of our Columbia personal injury attorneys at our firm will show that the property owner owed a duty of care at the time of the accident and that they breached that duty by allowing an unsafe condition to exist. Then, our legal team will connect the property owner’s action to the resulting accident and injuries, proving them liable for damages.
South Carolina’s Definition of a Lawful Visitor
South Carolina law recognizes three general classifications of visitors in a premises liability case:
- Invitees have a legal allowance to enter a property, such as a customer in a supermarket. Property owners owe them the highest degree of care.
- Licensees include social guests with permission from the property owner to be on the property. The owner owes them reasonable care not to cause harm.
- Trespassers do not have permission to enter a property, and owners only owe them a duty not to injure them willfully.
Most plaintiffs in premises liability cases are invitees or licensees.
What To Do in the Aftermath of an Accident on Someone Else’s Property
You can act immediately after the accident to protect your claim and support your attorney’s efforts to build a solid claim. Take these steps:
- Document. Take photographs of the hazard and any visible injuries.
- File a report. If the accident occurred at the business location, immediately alert the supervisor and ask them to file an incident report and give you a copy.
- Seek medical assistance. Even if you feel well enough to walk away from the scene, you should seek medical attention immediately to document even minor injuries.
- Preserve evidence. Collect contact information from eyewitnesses and avoid washing clothing worn during the accident.
- Contact a Columbia premises liability lawyer. The sooner you contact an attorney, the more beneficial it will be for your case.
Keeping up with your medical visits, following doctor’s orders and avoiding posting about your case online also helps validate your claim and can support efforts for a faster settlement.
Recoverable Damages From a Premises Liability Case
Compensatory damages refer to the losses associated with a personal injury. These include your economic damages, which cover monetary losses from your accident and injuries, and non-economic damages, which address the psychological impact of your case. Examples of compensatory damages include:
- The cost of medical care, including emergency expenses, inpatient and outpatient visits, surgeries and medications, necessary medical devices, and ongoing treatment
- The value of current and future lost wages, including lost promotional opportunities and loss of earning capacity
- The physical pain and suffering associated with your injuries and treatment
- The cost of replacement services needed during recovery, such as in-home care or transportation
- Emotional distress or mental anguish often associated with severe injuries
Proving these losses is sometimes challenging, especially while healing from injuries and worrying about financial concerns. A Columbia premises liability lawyer will ensure the fair and accurate value of your losses so you can recover every dollar owed to you. Most premises liability cases end in settlement rather than going to court, and having legal representation can speed up the process.
Modified comparative negligence law may apply
A common argument from the defense is that the plaintiff played a role in causing the accident and is at least partially liable for damages. Even if the court agrees, you still have the right to recover some damages under South Carolina’s modified comparative negligence law.
The court will assign a percentage of fault to both parties and deduct an amount equal to your portion of responsibility from the total damages. The state threshold for eligibility is 51%, which means you cannot be more than 51% responsible for the accident to recover any losses.
Contact a Columbia Premises Liability Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you suffered an injury in an accident on someone else’s property in South Carolina, a Columbia premises liability lawyer at Rikard & Protopapas is available to hear the accident details and offer advice. We understand the financial, emotional, and physical devastation these incidents can cause and work with clients and their families to recover every cent of compensation they deserve. Contact the firm of Rikard & Protopapas in Columbia, South Carolina, to schedule your free consultation with an experienced premises liability attorney.