Yes, you are able to file a slip-and-fall claim in South Carolina. The term “slip-and-fall” refers to a situation in which something like a slick spot on the floor causes you to lose your footing and fall, getting injured.
Although South Carolina permits slip-and-fall claims, it gives you limited time to do so. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), if you miss the deadline, called the “statute of limitations,” you can lose the right to go after compensation from the person whose carelessness caused you to get hurt.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that older adults are particularly at risk for injuries from falls. 24.8% percent of people older adults in South Carolina fall in 2018. About 37 percent of people who fall suffer injuries.
Who You Can Sue for Slip-and-Fall Injuries
The person whose negligence caused you to fall and get hurt can be responsible for your losses. Typically, the property owner gets sued when their carelessness causes someone to slip and fall. If a third party did something careless that caused or contributed to the accident, you might be able to sue that party, too.
What you have to prove to hold the negligent party accountable will vary, depending on whether the liable party is the landowner or a third party. You can pursue a premises liability claim against the owner or a negligence claim against a non-owner.
The Elements of Premises Liability in a Claim Against the Property Owner
A premises liability claim is against the owner of the property where you slipped and fell, so you have to be on someone else’s property to file one of these actions. You can use the example of someone who got hurt in a slip-and-fall accident at an apartment complex to explain both premises liability claims against owners and negligence claims against non-owners.
You cannot automatically sue the owner of property after getting hurt there. The owner must have failed in a legal duty, thereby causing your slip-and-fall incident. You have to prove all of these factors to hold the owner liable for your injuries:
- There was a dangerous condition on the premises. Let us say that the apartment complex maintenance crew spilled oil on the pavement in a parking area. The slick patch was hard to see because of the color of the surface.
- The owner knew or should have known about the hazard. The maintenance crew reported the spill to the complex manager, who forgot to direct anyone to clean up the mess.
- The owner did not take action to correct the problem or protect people from harm. The manager should have sent someone to remove the spilled oil. Another option would be to block off the area with warning cones and signs until the oil could get removed. The apartment complex did none of these things.
- Someone got injured as a result of the dangerous condition. An apartment resident slipped and fell on the oil, sustaining a fractured leg.
This scenario satisfies all the required elements to hold the apartment complex liable for the losses of the injured resident.
The Elements of Negligence in a Claim Against a Non-Owner
You can use another example to explain how a third party (non-owner) can be liable for someone’s slip-and-fall accident. The apartment complex hosted a holiday party for the residents. The caterer spilled cooking oil on the pavement. A resident slipped and fell, breaking his leg.
Here are the factors we must prove to hold the caterer liable:
- Duty of care. The defendant must have owed the plaintiff (injured resident) a duty of care. The defendant had a legal responsibility to refrain from creating a hazardous condition when delivering the food to the party.
- Breach of duty. When a person’s conduct fails to measure up to a legal duty, the person is negligent. When the caterer spilled the oil and did not clean it up, the caterer violated the duty of care.
- Causation. The careless act must be the thing that caused the slip-and-fall accident. The resident slipped on the oil, fell, and broke his leg.
- Quantifiable losses. The plaintiff must have measurable damages in order to pursue compensation from the defendant. Physical injuries satisfy this requirement.
This fact pattern meets all the requirements for a negligence claim against the caterer.
George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyer Wants to Help You
You are able to file a slip-and-fall claim in South Carolina against the liable party. A personal injury lawyer at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers could help you go after money damages for your losses.
You can call us today for a free consultation. There is no obligation.