When you are injured on another person’s property in Columbia, the property owner may be legally responsible for your injuries and for paying you compensation. Whether you experience a dog bite, slip on an icy walkway, fall down a poorly lit staircase, or sustain an injury caused by any other preventable hazard, contact a Columbia personal injury lawyer from Shelly Leeke Law Firm. Your lawyer will hold the negligent property owner accountable and seek a financial settlement to cover your losses.
Property Owners Must Maintain Safe Premises
South Carolina property owners are legally required to keep their properties safe for visitors. They owe visitors a duty of care, or an obligation, to preserve visitors’ safety by maintaining hazard-free premises.
The extent of the duty of care property owners owe their visitors depends on the “category” of the visitor.
Shoppers, restaurant clientele, amusement park guests, or anyone patronizing a business on-site is an invitee. Invitees command the highest duty of care from the business owner. Business owners must not only keep their premises free of obvious hazards but inspect their properties for possible hidden dangers and anticipate and work to prevent potential injury-causing conditions.
Licensees are social guests, such as friends and family members who attend a house party. They are not on the premises for business purposes or for the property’s owner’s financial benefit but have entered the premises with the owner’s permission.
Social hosts are not required to inspect their property for hidden dangers, nor do they have to anticipate potential dangers. They must, however, inform guests of any known dangers, such as a loose stair or railing.
A trespasser is on another person’s property without permission. Property owners do not owe the trespasser a duty of care. South Carolina law only requires that property owners “refrain from causing willful or wanton injury” to the trespasser.
Exceptions to this law exist, however, for child trespassers or trespassers with intellectual disabilities. If the property contains an “attractive nuisance,” an artificial condition the property owner could reasonably predict will attract children, the owner could be held responsible if the child or intellectually disabled trespasser is hurt by that condition.
Swimming pools are a common attractive nuisance. Property owners must take measures to secure their pools and prevent children from entering them without permission. If they do not take these measures and a child drowns or experiences a pool-related injury, property owners can face legal consequences.
Steps to Take When Injured on Someone Else’s Property
After an injury-causing accident, health and safety are the top priorities, so be sure to seek medical care. If your injuries are to the neck, back, or head, do not move. Wait for emergency medical care to arrive.
See a doctor as soon as possible, even if you do not require emergency care. Document your injury and ensure your safety. The effects of some serious injuries do not appear until later.
Delaying treatment could worsen the consequences and give the property owner the opportunity to cite your failure to seek prompt treatment, rather than their negligence, as the cause of your condition. If you can do so safely, take pictures and video of the scene of your accident and your injuries. Focus specifically on the cause of your injury, such as the protruding nail, icy walkway, poor lighting, or whatever element of the environment harmed you.
Collect contact information from witnesses. Then, contact a Columbia premises liability attorney.
An Experienced Premises Liability Lawyer in Columbia Brings the Best Results
When you partner with an expert premises liability lawyer in Columbia, you are more likely to secure a substantial settlement.
Skilled Legal Knowledge
Premises liability laws can be tricky. Whether a danger should have been “known” or reasonably predicted is often a source of argument between victims and at-fault parties. Your attorney has the legal background to navigate these arguments successfully.
Your Columbia premises liability lawyer also knows how personal injury cases move through the legal process. You can trust your lawyer to prepare and file all documentation and evidence accurately and within legal deadlines.
Experience in Valuing Settlements
The settlement amount you pursue depends on the severity and consequences of your injuries, the extent of your injury-caused losses, and the degree of the property owner’s negligence. Putting a collective fair value on these factors is essential but extremely difficult if you do not know where to start.
Your premises liability attorney in Columbia knows exactly how to start and finish this process and will give a thorough accounting of your losses. Lost wages, medical costs, emotional trauma, physical pain and suffering, and any other accident-related expenses will be acknowledged in the settlement amount.
Bold Negotiating Skills
South Carolina operates under a modified comparative fault system, meaning only victims who are less than 51% responsible for an accident can file an injury claim. If the victim can file but still bears some fault, the compensation collected will be reduced by their percentage of fault.
The at-fault party’s insurance companies will try to elevate your degree of fault, often falsely, to lower their payout. Or, they may use fear tactics to convince you to accept a low settlement as “a generous offer,” insisting it is the best you can expect.
Your Columbia premises liability attorney from Shelly Leeke Law Firm is an experienced negotiator with a history of success and is prepared to dismantle the insurance company’s false claims and lowball offers, ensuring you get the compensation you need and deserve.
Do Not Pay for Someone Else’s Negligence
Along with physical and emotional pain, injuries cause significant financial burdens. When a property owner’s carelessness causes your injury, that property owner must shoulder the financial burden and compensate you for the physical and emotional costs you are forced to bear. A skilled Columbia premises liability attorney from Shelly Leeke Law Firm is ready to help you secure a settlement and hold the negligent property owner accountable.