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Premises Liability Attorney in Greenwood, South Carolina

Premises liability is a legal concept holding property owners and operators responsible for any injuries people experience because of negligence or inattention to dangers. Slips and falls are often associated with premises liability.  

Suppose a customer enters a store, slips down an aisle, and falls because someone spilled a liquid on the floor. The shopper suffers injuries to the head and neck. You question whether the store owner/operator is liable.  

The answer to that would depend on when the spill happened and how “reasonable” were the efforts of the owner to maintain a safe environment. In any case, the injured customer should file a claim against the store’s commercial liability insurance to recover for the injuries sustained. That claim could eventually lead to a personal injury lawsuit.  

The property owners and operators have an obligation to maintain a safe environment and warn others if conditions pose a danger. That’s why you will see “wet floor” warnings and blockades in public facilities. Private homeowners also have a duty of care toward others and must warn of dangerous conditions to those legally on their property.  

If you or a loved one has been injured on another’s property and wish to pursue a premises liability claim to recover medical expenses and losses in or around Greenwood, South Carolina, contact our premises liability/personal injury attorney at Powers Law, LLC. We proudly serve clients throughout upstate South Carolina, including Saluda, Edgefield, McCormick, Abbeville, Laurens, and Newberry. 

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What Is Premises Liability?

Property owners or operators can be held responsible for injuries occurring on their property. Depending on the nature of the property and the legal classification of the person who is injured, there are different levels of responsibility and liability. Injuries can range from slips and falls to swimming pool accidents, animal attacks, and more.  

South Carolina law divides a visitor into three classes: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.    

Invitees are owed the highest level of care as this category refers to customers at a retail establishment such as a store or restaurant. The owner/operator must maintain a safe environment to prevent injuries and can be held to the standard of using reasonable measures to ensure their property is safe. The owner/operator can also be held liable if they know of a dangerous situation but didn't take necessary precautions. 

Licensees are generally social guests, perhaps those you’ve invited to your home for dinner. Licensees are owed a lower duty of care. For instance, if the homeowner knows of danger, they must alert any social guests. Say a handrail on the stairway is loose. The guests must be warned, but the rail does not necessarily need to be fixed.   

Trespassers are the third category. They have no right to be warned or protected. If someone trespasses, they are generally doing so at their own risk. The exception is children who stray onto your property. 

The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

When it comes to children, a legal principle known as the attractive nuisance doctrine comes into focus. Children can be attracted to your property and become injured because they see something they want to explore.   

You must take steps to mitigate the danger to children from any “attractive nuisance” you have. Fence things off or make them inaccessible. 

Elements for Establishing Liability

In a premises liability situation, the owner/operator obviously has an obligation to maintain a safe environment and warn people of any dangers. However, guests on a property do have an obligation to act in a proper way. If a shopper decides to jump from one level of an escalator to another and is injured, the store owner/operator would not likely be responsible for irrational behavior leading to injury. 

  • To prevail in a premises liability case, you will need to show that:  

  • There was a dangerous condition on someone else’s property.  

  • The property owner (or whoever was in charge) was negligent.  

  • As a result, you were injured or suffered property damage. 

It is vital to speak with a reliable personal injury attorney to get the assistance you need.  

Comparative Negligence in South Carolina

In any insurance claim or legal action in South Carolina, you need to be aware that the state relies on the modified comparative negligence standard. In a car accident, both drivers may share some of the fault for what happened. If you’re rear-ended, but your brake lights didn’t work to warn the other driver, you could be assigned part of the fault. Likewise, if you slip and fall in a store because you’re busy reading text messages on your phone and couldn’t see an object that fell in front of you, you could also be assigned part of the fault. g 

Modified comparative negligence means that you cannot obtain compensation from the other party if your fault is more than 50 percent, which is why it is often called “the 51 percent rule.” As a practical matter, say you are assigned 30 percent of the fault, your claim or lawsuit for $50,000 would reduce by 30 percent, and you’d get $35,000.

Premises Liability Attorney Serving Greenwood, South Carolina

If you or a loved one has been injured in a dangerous condition on someone else’s property in South Carolina, contact us immediately at Powers Law, LLC. We will listen to your story, investigate, and advise you of the proper steps going forward. We will negotiate with the insurance company or initiate a lawsuit to help you attain the just compensation you deserve. Reach out today to learn more about your options.