Whether you are visiting a friend’s house for dinner or shopping at a retail store, if you are injured as a result of some preventable danger, you may have the opportunity to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for your harms.
To win your lawsuit, you will have to show that the property owner failed to meet a duty of care that they owed you. These duties depend on the circumstances that brought you to their property. If you hope to recover, you likely only have three years from the accident date to act, so if you have questions, we recommend that you seek answers soon.
You can find those answers with one of the experienced South Carolina personal injury attorneys at Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers. To get a free initial case assessment for your injury compensation, call us today at (803) 451-4000.
Premises Liability in South Carolina
Property owners owe duties of care to people who are on their property to keep them safe from injury. However, the standards that define these duties depend on the reasons why that person is on the property. There are three different classifications of a person who enters another’s property: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
Liability for Invitee Injury
An invitee is someone who the property owner welcomes onto their property for the purposes of financial benefit. Generally, any patron that comes onto commercial property, such as office spaces, retail businesses, restaurants, movie theaters, and sports arenas, would be considered an invitee under South Carolina law.
The property owner owes the highest standard of duty of care to invitees. To satisfy their duty to invitees, property owners must take reasonable steps to discover foreseeably dangerous conditions on the property and prevent any subsequent harm to the invitees that might stem from these conditions. Such conditions might include icy patches on outdoor walking paths or faulty steps on staircases, to name a few common examples. Even if the owner is not aware of the hazard, they may still be liable if a court finds that they should or would have discovered the condition if they had behaved reasonably.
Liability for Licensee Injury
Licensees are like invitees in that they are invited onto the property, but without the purpose of financial benefit to the property owner. The classic example of a licensee would be a dinner guest at a person’s home. Social guests don’t get all of the protection that invitees might, but they are still owed duties under South Carolina law.
For licensees, the property owner owes a duty to use reasonable care to avoid directly causing the licensee any harm. The property owner also must warn the licensee of any concealed dangerous conditions which the owner is aware of or should be reasonably expected to discover. In other words, the property owner is under no obligation to make any changes to their property but must warn the licensee of any foreseeable dangers and avoid any actions that could injure the licensee.
If someone enters personal property without permission in South Carolina, the property owner generally does not owe them a duty of care, except for certain exceptions that will be covered below. However, property owners may not attempt to cause trespassers intentional harm through the use of traps. If the trespasser suffers an injury on private property that the owner did not intentionally cause, the property owner won’t be liable.
Suing for “Attractive Nuisance” Injuries for On Someone Else’s Property in South Carolina
Perhaps the most common exception that creates liability for injury to a trespasser on private property in South Carolina is the doctrine of attractive nuisance. An attractive nuisance is a feature or condition on a property that might tempt someone to enter the property without recognizing the possibility of danger. When attractive nuisance is applied, it is almost always in situations where the injured victim was a child who wandered onto a neighbor’s property because they saw something interesting, like a pool or a dog.
Proving Damages for an Injury on Someone Else’s Property in South Carolina
The point of a personal injury lawsuit is to recover compensation based on the harms suffered as a result of the injury. Thus, in order to file a lawsuit against the owner of the property where you were injured, you must be able to demonstrate that you sustained actual harms. If you suffered a sprained ankle, didn’t seek medical treatment, and were able to return to work without taking time off, you likely won’t be able to claim damages.
That is why Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers always recommends that you seek immediate medical assessment after an injury. You may not be able to tell how serious your injuries are immediately after you sustain them. The only way to find out how bad they are is to seek help from medical care providers. Doing this as soon as possible protects against the property owner claiming that you suffered your injuries as a result of some other cause that happened later than the accident in question. You can use the medical bills incurred from your care, any income you miss out on from taking time off of work, and the pain and suffering that you experience due to your injuries as evidence of damages stemming from your injury.
How Long Do You Have to File Your Personal Injury Lawsuit Against a Property Owner in South Carolina?
If you believe you have a valid lawsuit against a property owner for your personal injury, you must file it within the South Carolina state statute of limitations, which lasts for three years. In most cases, that three-year period begins on the date that you are injured. Our Columbia car accident attorneys can help you get your paperwork filed efficiently and timely so that you avoid missing any critical deadlines and get your recovery sooner.
Injured on Someone Else’s Property in South Carolina? Discuss Your Legal Options with Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers
At Burriss Ridgeway Injury Lawyers, we take your situation seriously. To that end, you can get a free case assessment from us when you call our offices for the first time at (803) 451-4000.