When Forest Acres property owners know about, or should reasonably know about a hazard, it is their responsibility to warn guests of, and then fix, the problem before anyone gets hurt. If you have been hurt because of a property owner’s negligence, reach out to a Forest Acres personal injury lawyer from Shelly Leeke. You will need financial compensation to cover the damages from your injury, and a Forest Acres premises liability lawyer will work hard to make that happen.
Understanding Premises Liability
When property owners or occupiers allow or invite you onto their property, they owe you a legal duty to preserve your safety. This means they have to warn you of potential injury-causing hazards that exist on the property. If you were to fall on a broken step the property owner was aware of but did not point out, that property owner could be liable.
The same rules apply to property “occupiers,” who rent or lease space but do not own it. However, there are some differences. For example, while tenants of apartment units apartment complexes must warn guests of hazards under their control–such as unsecured wires for plugging in electronic devices–landlords must keep common areas of the complex safe. If you fall down a poorly lit stairwell or trip on torn carpeting in a lobby area, the landlord is most likely liable for those damages under South Carolina’s tenant-landlord statute.
If you are hurt on another person’s property, it is important to partner with a Forest Acres premises liability attorney as soon as possible. The team at Shelly Leeke Law Firm has years of experience fighting for victims in premises liability cases. Your attorney will work diligently to get you the justice you deserve.
Property Owners’ Responsibilities
Property owners or occupiers have different levels of responsibility to their guests depending on the guest’s “category.” Responsibilities are highest toward guests who are “invitees” rather than “licensees.” And “trespassers” have little legal standing if hurt on a property.
Invitees enter a property for the benefit of the property owner. They are customers in retail or grocery stores, patrons at restaurants, or clients speaking to a financial advisor in a bank, for example. Their patronage provides “business” for the property owner.
Property owners must check their properties for less obvious dangers and take measures to correct them quickly. They must also plan for probable hazards. For example, grocery store owners should reasonably anticipate spills or broken glass when jars get knocked from a shelf and have clean-up procedures in place.
Licensees are those welcomed to a home for social reasons–guests at a dinner party or backyard barbeque. Those performing legal duties on the property, postal workers, for example, are also licensees. Workers on a property there to install carpet or paint walls also count.
When a danger exists that property owners should be reasonably aware of, they must warn licensees of those dangers. Weak railings and loose steps can cause falls or trips. Property owners must keep walkways free of debris and remove natural hazards, such as ice or wet leaves, in a reasonable timeframe.
Trespassers are on a property unlawfully. Therefore, they typically cannot hold property owners responsible for injuries they sustain on that property. The only responsibility property owners have is to refrain from causing them “willful or wanton injury.”
If the property owner has an “attractive nuisance” that is not properly secured, and the trespasser who is injured is a child or person with an intellectual disability, the property owner may be liable. South Carolina sees these trespassers as unable to recognize risks associated with attractive nuisances and puts the burden on property owners to restrict access to such enticing structures as:
- Swimming pools
- Play structures
Types of Premises Liability Cases
Any incident that causes injuries may be grounds for a premises liability case. Do not dismiss your injuries or the property owners’ responsibilities before consulting with a premises liability attorney in Forest Acres. Some of the more common types of premises liability cases involve:
- Slips, trips, or falls: A visitor slips on a wet surface, trips on uneven floors, falls over an obstacle placed in a poorly lit walkway or hallway
- Security failures: Customers or clients may be assaulted in parking lots or get caught in a brawl at an event with inadequate security. Landlords who do not equip their apartment units or complexes with proper locks and security may also be liable if intruders harm tenants
- Dog bites: In South Carolina, dog owners are held strictly liable if their pets bite or attack someone else, and many of these attacks occur on the dog owner’s property
- Dangerous conditions: When guests, tenants, or customers are harmed in fires, property owners can be held liable if the space does not have working fire alarms or accessible exits. Landlords may also be culpable if they fail to repair or replace faulty electrical wiring or broken appliances that cause fires, release carbon monoxide, or lead to other injuries
A Premises Liability Lawyer in Forest Acres Can Help
Getting the settlement you deserve is a process, and for the best outcome, have an experienced attorney from Shelly Leeke manage your premises liability case. Your attorney will:
- Investigate the incident to determine the cause and the at-fault party
- Collect evidence to prove the at-fault party’s negligence
- Assess your losses and make a settlement demand
- Negotiate a fair settlement with the at-fault party’s representatives, or argue your case in court if that party refuses to make a reasonable offer
Your accident will likely incur significant medical bills, lost wages during recovery time, and other expenses to accommodate your injury-caused needs. You will also experience physical and emotional suffering. A skilled premises liability attorney will factor every loss into your settlement demand and fight to secure substantial compensation.
Connect with an Attentive, Experienced Attorney
The team at Shelly Leeke Law Firm fights for the rights of injured residents of Forest Acres and other parts of South Carolina. We care about clients and justice and pour our legal knowledge, experience, and resources into every case. You should not suffer the financial consequences of suffering caused by a negligent property owner.
Connect with an attentive, experienced Forest Acres premises liability lawyer to get the help and compensation you need.