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Slip and fall accidents are a common cause of serious injuries, and they can happen to anyone, anywhere. If you have suffered a slip and fall accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. An experienced Charleston personal injury attorney can help you take the appropriate steps to get what you deserve. For help, contact the law firm of Mickelsen Dalton and schedule a free consultation.
If you have been a victim of a slip and fall accident in Charleston, it is important to seek the help of experienced trial lawyers who can help you get the compensation you rightfully deserve. Here’s why Mickelsen Dalton is the best choice:
If you have suffered a slip and fall accident, it’s important to seek the guidance of a skilled personal injury lawyer. They will help you in the following ways:
Slip and fall cases can happen anytime anywhere and they can result in serious injuries. Some of the most common injuries include the following:
A fall can result in a concussion, traumatic brain injury, or a traumatic injury to the head. These types of injuries can have long-lasting effects on the victim, and in some cases, may result in permanent damage.
This type of injury can result in debilitating pain and can even lead to paralysis. Victims may require rehabilitation or surgery, and in some cases, may never fully recover from their spinal cord injuries.
The most common bones that are broken and fractured in slip and fall accidents are wrists, hips, and ankles. While fractures may seem minor, they can still cause significant pain and take time to heal. Victims may require surgery or other medical treatment, and in some cases, may be unable to work for an extended period of time.
These injuries include sprains, strains, and bruises. Depending on the severity of the injury, victims may require physical therapy or other medical treatment to help them recover. Soft tissue injuries can also result in lost wages and emotional distress.
Slip and fall incidents are prevalent in everyday life, often caused by unsafe conditions. Here are some common examples:
Wet or Uneven Surfaces: Whether it’s a freshly mopped floor without warning signs, cracked pavements, or uneven office flooring left unaddressed, such conditions could cause people to trip or lose balance, leading to serious injuries.
Poor Lighting: Insufficient lighting can obscure visibility causing individuals to not see obstacles in their path – like missing a step while going down the stairs or failing to see a cord on the ground, causing you to trip.
Weather Conditions: Natural elements like rain, snow, or ice can make outdoor surfaces very slippery. If a business owner does not take reasonable steps to remove or mitigate these hazards—like salting an icy walkway—they could be held accountable for any accidents.
Cluttered Walkways/Floors: Storage areas at homes and workplaces that aren’t properly organized can easily pose tripping risks if not diligently maintained. For example, merchandise and debris left in walkways, displaced floor mats, or trailing cables can create a tripping hazard.
Lack of Proper Handrails or Guardrails: Staircases and platforms should always have sturdy handrails or guardrails to support individuals moving along them. The absence of these safety measures could increase the risk of falls, potentially giving rise to a valid claim.
Neglected Property Maintenance: Regular upkeep of a property is the responsibility of the owner. Any negligence – such as neglected sidewalk repairs, unattended leaks, or ignored building code violations – can be hazardous and lead to potential slip and fall accidents.
Understanding the most common causes of slips and falls is vital for prevention and can also help determine liability if you have been injured in such an accident.
A slip and fall accident can occur anywhere, from public places, such as grocery stores and restaurants, to private properties, such as homes and commercial properties. In South Carolina, slip and fall liability is a serious matter, and it’s essential to understand how to show that someone is responsible for your injuries.
While the above outlines the basic principles that must be proven to win a slip and fall claim, the liability can be slightly different depending on how the visitor on the property is classified. In South Carolina, there are three primary classifications:
An invitee is an individual who enters a property on the invitation of the owner or with their consent for purposes that provide benefit to both parties, like customers in a store.
The duty owed by a landowner or occupier to an invitee requires taking reasonable care. This means they need to keep premises safe and warn about known dangers not obvious upon ordinary inspection – these may be hidden defects like loose floorboards or railings.
For an owner or occupier to be held responsible, they must have had actual or constructive notice of the potential danger leading up to your accident.
Actual notice refers to instances where the owner knew about a dangerous condition but failed to address it adequately.
Constructive notice involves scenarios where such safety issues would’ve been discovered through reasonable inspection. So, even when an owner is not aware outrightly about danger present, they can still be found liable to this group of visitors.
Unlike invitees, licensees usually enter a property for their own purposes with the permission of an owner or occupant – like visiting friends or family.
While the duty of care towards a licensee is less extensive than that owed to an invitee, they’re not left unprotected. Under South Carolina law, owners and occupants are required to inform licensees about any known hazards on their property that aren’t immediately evident.
The primary difference is “…that the [landowner] has no duty to search out and discover dangers or defects in the land.”
When it comes to trespassers—individuals who enter a property without permission—property owners generally owe them no duty of care. They are, however, prohibited from intentionally causing harm or setting up hazards designed to inflict injury upon the trespasser:
“A possessor of land owes no duty to a trespasser except to refrain from causing a wilful or wanton injury.”
The rules differ for children somewhat due to their age and understanding. Children, particularly those who are too young to understand the risks associated with potential hazards on a property, may be owed a higher degree of duty by landowners in certain circumstances, even when they’re trespassers – this is commonly known as ‘attractive nuisance doctrine’.
Under this principle, if an owner knows (or should know) about attractive feature – like a swimming pool – that could lure kids to their property and potentially harm them, the owner might be held responsible for any injury suffered by a trespassing child if the owner did not take appropriate safety measures.
If you’re injured in a slip and fall that was a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover the following types of damages:
Economic damages: These are the tangible losses that result from your accident, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. South Carolina law allows plaintiffs to recover these costs, as well as the estimated cost of any future medical treatment or lost income that they may incur as a result of their injury.
Non-economic damages: These are the intangible losses that result from your accident, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium (the loss of companionship or the ability to live a normal life with a spouse). Since these damages are not tied to any specific financial loss, they can be challenging to quantify, but South Carolina law recognizes that they are real and can award compensation accordingly.
Punitive damages: In rare cases where “…the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that his harm was the result of the defendant’s willful, wanton, or reckless conduct,” punitive damages will be awarded. Unlike economic and non-economic damages, which are meant to compensate the victim, punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for their actions and deter others from acting similarly in the future.
Under South Carolina law, you generally have 3 years from the date of your injury to initiate a lawsuit – this is called the statute of limitations.
“…(5) an action for assault, battery, or any injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract and not enumerated by law, and those provided for in Section 15-3-545.”
In some instances, though, the timeline will be shortened. If your accident occurred on government-owned property such as a public library or post office, different rules apply. These cases fall under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act which says you only have 2 years from the incident’s date to file. You can extend this period by submitting a verified petition within one year.
There are also instances where the timeline can be extended, such as when the victim is a minor. Always make sure you speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible so you don’t miss your chance to recover compensation.
Handling a slip and fall claim alone while recuperating from injuries can be overwhelming. This is where we step in; we will work relentlessly for the justice that you deserve. Understanding the complexities of slip and fall claims is critical so you know what to expect, but the best thing you can do is work with a professional.
If you suffered an injury in a slip and fall accident in Charleston, it is essential to speak to a slip and fall lawyer to understand your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve. Contact Mickelsen Dalton to schedule a free consultation.