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Charleston Premises Liability Lawyer

Being injured can be incredibly difficult, altering the course of your life in an instant. Finding yourself grappling with this and trying to find a path through the complex legalities of the situation can feel really intimidating. Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with it alone. A premises liability lawyer can help you in many ways and make sure your rights are protected and justice is sought. If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact the Charleston personal injury lawyer team at Mickelsen Dalton and schedule a free consultation.

Why Hire Mickelsen Dalton LLC For Your Premises Liability Case?

If you’re looking for a premises liability attorney in Charleston, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s why you should entrust us with your case:

  • At Mickelsen Dalton, every client’s needs are given personalized attention and tailor-made legal solutions according to your case. There are no boilerplate solutions here. 
  • Our law firm has an impressive track record of securing over $40 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients in just four years. This demonstrates our capabilities to fight successfully on behalf of our clients.
  • Bringing wrongdoers into the spotlight is another strength demonstrated by Mickelsen Dalton’s attorneys. Our vision goes beyond merely winning cases; we also seek justice for you and for the community by aiming to prevent similar incidents from recurring. 

For help with any type of premises liability matter, contact us today to schedule a free consultation

Charleston Premises Liability Attorneys

Premises Liability Claim Resources

How a Lawyer Can Help With a Charleston Premises Liability Claim

A premises liability lawyer can provide critical assistance when dealing with a premises liability claim in several ways. Here’s what they can do for you:

  • To begin, a lawyer will patiently listen to your story and assist you in determining if there’s ground for a premises liability claim. 
  • Next, they will meticulously investigate the incident, digging up essential evidence such as accident reports, surveillance videos, or witness testimonials that sustain your argument. 
  • Based on collected evidence, they will then evaluate who is legally responsible for your premises liability accident and thus liable to pay compensation.
  • Lawyers use their experience and expertise to assess the damages you’re entitled to based on things like past, present, and future medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any other costs incurred as a result of the premises liability accident.  
  • Experienced premises liability attorneys are well-versed in strategic negotiation with defendants and their insurance companies. It’s unfortunately common for insurance companies to try to pay out as little money as possible on claims, even when they know they’re responsible. A premises liability lawyer will do everything they can to counteract this and get you the compensation you deserve. 
  • If settlements aren’t possible, a lawyer will be prepared to represent you in all court proceedings and present your case to a judge and/or jury. 

If you need help with a premises liability matter, don’t hesitate to contact our Charleston premises liability lawyers to schedule a free consultation. 

What is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is the legal principle that property owners and occupants can be held accountable for accidents or injuries that occur on their property. If you are harmed due to unsafe conditions while on someone else’s premises – such as a home or business place – the owner of these spaces could be liable for your damages.

The most common examples of premises liability cases include the following: 

Slips and falls on wet surfaces: This is one of the most common premises liability issues. If a floor in a store or other public establishment has been freshly mopped or had a spill not cleaned up, causing it to be slippery and without any warning signs, you can slip and injure yourself. In this case, you may be able to seek compensation from the establishment.

Icy sidewalks: Property owners are expected to clear ice from their walkways. In cases where they fail to fulfill this duty and an individual slips on that icy surface, the property owner may be responsible for any resulting injuries and losses.

Dog bites: The responsibility for keeping pets under control resides with the pet owner. If a dog bites you, the owner will likely be liable for your damages, unless you were trespassing or provoked the dog into reacting aggressively. South Carolina follows a strict liability law for dog bites, meaning the owner is automatically liable and you don’t have to prove that they were negligent in most circumstances:

“If a person is bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog while the person is in a public place or is lawfully in a private place, including the property of the dog owner or person having the dog in the person’s care or keeping, the dog owner or person having the dog in the person’s care or keeping is liable for the damages suffered by the person bitten or otherwise attacked.”

Negligent security: Negligent security is a subset of premises liability law that aims to hold property owners and occupiers accountable for crimes and violent acts that occur on their properties due to a lack of security. 

For example, someone is shot outside of a nightclub. If proper security measures, such as bouncers, video surveillance, or adequate lighting aren’t available, the nightclub may be held responsible for the crime, even though a third party committed it.

Liability of Different Categories of Visitors

In premises liability claims, the law requires different levels of care depending on the status of the visitor.  The three categories include the following:

Invitee

An invitee is an individual who has lawful permission to enter a property usually for commercial reasons. For instance, shoppers at a department store fall into this category. 

Property owners owe invitees the highest duty of care. Not only should there be warnings about potential hazards, but owners are also obligated to routinely inspect their property and immediately address any dangerous conditions found.

Licensee

A licensee refers to individuals who enter properties with owner consent, but no business incentives tie them together. Examples include friends visiting your house socially.

The owner’s legal obligation towards a licensee is to ensure that they exercise reasonable care for the visitor’s safety. The owner must warn visitors of any hidden dangers which they are aware of but might not be obvious.

Trespasser

A trespasser is defined as a person who unlawfully enters or stays on another’s property without the owner’s permission. This includes not only encroachments into private homes but also unauthorized presence on commercial properties, open fields, or even fenced areas.  

In most cases, this person or people will not have any legal rights to claim compensation for injuries incurred, as they were not supposed to be on the property in the first place. 

However, exceptions do exist, most commonly including the attractive nuisance doctrine. Under this law, if a child or someone with intellectual disabilities is drawn onto the property due to an attractive feature—such as a swimming pool—and suffers injury because it’s unprotected or unsafe, the property owner can be held liable even if the person was trespassing.

“…a possessor of land is subject to liability for physical harm to children or a person with an intellectual disability who are trespassing thereon caused by an artificial condition upon the land if:

  • (1) the place where the condition exists is one upon which the possessor knows or has reason to know that children or persons with an intellectual disability are likely to trespass;
  • (2) the condition is one of which the possessor knows or has reason to know and which he realizes or should realize will involve an unreasonable risk of death or serious bodily harm to children or persons with an intellectual disability;
  • (3) the person because of his youth or intellectual disability does not discover the condition or realize the risk involved in intermeddling with it or in coming within the area made dangerous by it;
  • (4) the utility to the possessor of maintaining the condition and the burden of eliminating the danger are slight as compared with the risk to children or the persons with an intellectual disability who are involved; and
  • (5) the possessor fails to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the danger or otherwise to protect the children or the persons with an intellectual disability…”

Types of Damages That Can Be Claimed in Premises Liability Cases

In a premises liability case, you might be eligible to claim various types of damages, most often including economic and non-economic damages. 

Economic Damages

These are direct, measurable costs arising from the premises liability accident. The most common forms include medical expenses, which typically covers all medical treatments required as a result of injuries sustained, such as emergency room visits, surgical interventions, or rehabilitation therapy. Lost wages are also common, which are awarded as a way to help offset lost income from being injured.

Non-Economic Damages

These types of damages are more subjective, and a monetary value cannot be objectively determined. They usually include “pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of society and companionship, loss of consortium, injury to reputation, humiliation, other nonpecuniary damages, and any other theory of damages including, but not limited to, fear of loss, illness, or injury.”

Calculating Economic Damages

Damages for pain and suffering are calculated differently than financial losses. There’s no universal mathematical formula, but there are two common methods used: 

Multiplier Method: This technique involves summing up economic costs – medical bills, lost wages, etc. – and then multiplying that total by a number, usually between 1 and 5, depending upon the severity and impact of injuries. The more severe the injury, the higher the multiplier. The result can be then used for non-economic damages.

For example, economic damages equal $100,000 and the injury is moderately severe, earning a multiplier of 3. The non-economic damages would then equal $300,000 (3x$100,000).

Per Diem Method: Under this system, a specific amount of money gets assigned on a daily basis starting from the injury date until the victim reaches ‘maximum recovery.’ It can be difficult to determine what this per diem amount should be, though sometimes it’s the amount of money a victim would make at work each day. 

Evidence Used in Premises Liability Claims

Types of Evidence Used in Premises Liability Claims

Acquiring effective evidence is crucial to strengthen your premises liability claim. Some of the most critical types include the following:

Police Reports: If law enforcement was called to the scene, they likely created a report documenting what happened. In this report, they typically explain the accident scene and give a brief description of their version of events. This sometimes includes who they believe is liable, which can be helpful for your case in some circumstances.  

Accident Scene Photos: Capturing pictures of the scene detailing hazardous conditions present can serve as evidence of what caused your accident.

Medical Records: Your medical records can include treatments and prognosis, and usually outline the extent and nature of your injuries. A doctor can also sometimes explain in a more pointed way how your injuries could have been caused by the accident.

Witness Statements: If anyone else witnessed the incident take place, their testimony can corroborate your claims, strengthening your case. This is even more true if the witnesses are unbiased third parties.

Video Footage: This is one of the best ways to document the incident and conditions leading up to it. Any footage from surveillance cameras nearby—either by public or private entities—can offer a factual account supporting what happened.

Deadline For Filing a Premises Liability Claim in Charleston

When you encounter a premises liability accident in South Carolina, it is important to remember that there are time limits for pursuing an injury claim, referred to as the statute of limitations. This law establishes that you have three years from the date of your accident within which to file your legal claim.

In some cases, there are exceptions to this deadline, most notably the discovery rule. The discovery rule allows for delaying the start of the three years until you become aware (or should reasonably be aware) of your injury and/or the cause.

Contact Mickelsen Dalton in Charleston SC To Schedule a Free Consultation 

Dealing with the aftermath of a personal injury can undoubtedly be complicated and scary. Understanding your rights and knowing how premises liability laws work will be crucial in your path toward justice. Consulting with an experienced attorney affords you access to accurate information and can mean the difference between obtaining the compensation you’re entitled to and obtaining nothing. Our law firm is here to help. Contact Mickelson Dalton today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your legal options.