It is the responsibility of a property or business owner in St. Andrews, SC to take care of their space. If you get hurt due to an owner’s negligence, hold the at-fault party responsible. To do so, hire a St. Andrews personal injury lawyer.
The Shelly Leeke Law Firm has more than a decade of experience with personal injury lawsuits in South Carolina. Our St. Andrews premises liability lawyer will not charge you anything unless we win or settle your case. To learn more, contact us today.
Types of Property Visitors
The liability of a property or business owner depends on the type of visitor who got hurt. There are three categories of property visitors in South Carolina. These are:
An invitee is anyone who has an owner’s permission to visit a property and does so for this individual’s benefit. For example, you can shop at a grocery store in St. Andrews. In this example, you are an invitee at the store.
With a licensee, an owner lets an individual visit their property but warns them about any potential dangers in advance. For instance, if a neighbor invites you to their home for dinner, you are a licensee. If you suffer a slip and fall accident and injury during your visit due to no fault of your own, you can sue.
In most instances, if you trespass on someone else’s property and get hurt, you cannot hold the owner responsible. There are some exceptions, like a swimming pool or another “attractive nuisance” that draws kids to a property. If a child is injured in an accident involving an attractive nuisance, their parents may be able to submit a claim against the owner.
If you are hurt on someone else’s property and unsure about whether to sue for damages, partner with a lawyer. The Shelly Leeke Law Firm can connect you with an experienced St. Andrews premises liability attorney right away. Get in touch with us today.
Examples of Premises Liability Cases
A premises liability claim is a type of personal injury lawsuit. The claim must be submitted within three years, per South Carolina Code §15-3-540. Premises liability cases include:
- Dog bites
- Elevator or escalator accidents
- Faulty stair or railing accidents
- Pool accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
In a premises liability claim, you are eligible to request any amount of economic and non-economic compensation. You can request economic damages for medical bills, lost wages, and other losses that you can quantify. Non-economic damages will be awarded for pain, suffering, and other subjective harm.
A judge or jury will award punitive damages if it wants to deter an at-fault party from future negligent acts. Punitive damages are awarded in conjunction with economic or non-economic compensation. According to South Carolina Code §15-32-510, the maximum amount of punitive compensation that will be awarded is $500,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded, whichever amount is greater.
Who to Hold Accountable in a Premises Liability Lawsuit
A property or business owner is the most common defendant in premises liability cases. If you get hurt on an owner’s property, you can file a claim against their insurance policy. You can also submit a lawsuit against the owner.
Your premises liability lawyer in St. Andrews reviews the facts relating to your accident and injury. They identify any at-fault parties and then file your lawsuit accordingly. Your attorney encourages you to seek economic and non-economic damages from anyone who caused your injury.
South Carolina’s negligence laws apply to your case. You must show that the defendant had a duty of care toward you and breached this duty, which resulted in your injury. Also, you must prove that you suffered losses due to the owner’s negligence.
How a Property or Business Owner Will Dispute Your Claim
A property or business owner and their insurance company want to protect their best interests — not yours. They will do whatever they can to avoid paying you damages. As part of their efforts, they may use an assumption of risk or comparative negligence legal strategy.
If there is an assumption of risk, the defendant argues that you knowingly entered a risky situation, which led to your accident and injury. To build this argument, the defendant will look for ways to show that you knew about an inherent risk before you visited their property and got hurt. They will attempt to show that you knew about this risk but visited the property regardless.
Under South Carolina’s Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act, you cannot recover compensation if you are primarily responsible for your injury. As an example, you can get hurt on another person’s property, but a judge or jury finds you to be 51% responsible. In this situation, you will not be able to get any damages.
Why Hire a Premises Liability Attorney in St. Andrews
A premises liability claim is complex — and if you are not careful, you risk making mistakes that will compromise your lawsuit. Instead of leaving anything to chance, hire a lawyer. Then, you will be able to access a wealth of legal resources.
Your lawyer levels the playing field between you and the defendant. They understand South Carolina’s premises liability and personal injury laws and how to apply them to your case. Your attorney will calculate your damages and put you in the best position to secure a fair amount of compensation.
After your claim is filed, your attorney negotiates a personal injury settlement on your behalf. If you cannot reach a settlement, you and your attorney bring your lawsuit to trial. At this point, your lawyer advocates for you, protects your legal rights, and helps you compel a judge or jury to rule in your favor.
Get Started with Your Premises Liability Lawsuit
The Shelly Leeke Law Firm has a team in place that is empathetic to your legal needs. We are here to answer your legal questions and help you decide if now is the right time to file your premises liability lawsuit. To schedule a free case consultation, contact us today.