Injuries can happen anywhere, even in places we think are safe. If you or someone you love has suffered an injury on another’s property in South Carolina, you could have a valid premises liability claim. But the prospect of pursuing that claim can be daunting, especially when you’re also facing a long road to recovery. With Joe Cunningham Law on your side, you don’t have to do it alone.
As a former U.S. Congressman, attorney Joe Cunningham has built his reputation on a “people first” approach to serving those he represents. Since founding Joe Cunningham Law, he has brought this same client-focused mentality to his legal practice. Joe prioritizes keeping clients informed on all details and developments in their cases. He provides honest and straightforward advice to help clients make the best decisions, like whether accepting a settlement offer is in their best interests. If insurance companies refuse to offer fair compensation, Joe does not hesitate to take them to court.
With years of experience, Joe has what it takes to demand the meaningful results you deserve. Contact Joe Cunningham Law today for a free consultation with a Charleston premises liability lawyer.
What Are Common Types of Premises Liability?
Premises liability is an essential facet of personal injury law. It covers the legal responsibilities of property owners when individuals get hurt on their premises. The principle of premises liability hinges on the notion that property owners are responsible for maintaining safe conditions to ensure the well-being of visitors, residents, and even trespassers.
In South Carolina, property owners have varying degrees of responsibility to different parties based on visitor status. For example:
- Invitees – An invitee is someone invited onto a property by the owner for the owner’s benefit. This often includes customers in a store or clients in an office building. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees, for whom they must keep their properties in a reasonably safe condition, repair known dangers, and post warnings about known hazards.
- Licensees – A licensee is someone who enters a property for their own purposes, or as a social guest, with the owner’s consent. Property owners must warn licensees of any known dangers they are unlikely to discover for themselves. However, property owners are not responsible for identifying or fixing dangerous property conditions for licensees.
- Trespassers – A trespasser is someone who enters a property without the owner’s permission. In general, the only duty that property owners owe to trespassers is to refrain from willfully or wantonly injuring them. Property owners typically cannot set up booby traps or other deliberate hazards to purposely harm trespassers. However, owners also do not have to warn trespassers of known dangers or proactively make their properties safe for trespassers.
- Minor Trespassers – In South Carolina, property owners owe a higher degree of care to child trespassers under the “attractive nuisance doctrine.” This legal concept comes into play when property owners have hazardous features on their properties that are attractive to children, like swimming pools or trampolines. If such an attractive nuisance exists on a property, the owner could be liable for injuries that child trespassers incur from it.
Contrary to common misconception, premises liability is not confined to commercial entities like business owners. Residential property owners also have legal obligations to visitors.
In South Carolina, numerous types of incidents could give rise to a premises liability case, such as:
- Slip-and-Fall Cases – These are the most common types of premises liability cases. They occur when someone slips, trips, or falls because of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property.
- Negligent Security Incidents – These cases occur when an individual is assaulted or suffers a preventable injury on another’s property due to inadequate security measures.
- Swimming Pool Accidents – Swimming pools are a source of many accidents, especially when improperly secured, monitored, or maintained. Children are often victims of such accidents.
- Dog Bites or Animal Attacks – In South Carolina, an animal owner could be liable if their animal injures someone else, especially if the animal was known to be dangerous.
- Elevator and Escalator Accidents – Faulty or improperly-maintained elevators and escalators can cause severe injuries due to entanglement incidents, falls, or structural collapses.
- Toxic Exposure Incidents – If someone gets sick from exposure to hazardous chemicals, substances, or environments on someone else’s property, the owner could be responsible.
- Unintentional Fires – If a fire occurs due to a property owner’s negligence, they could be liable for resulting injuries, including burns, inhalation injuries, and carbon monoxide exposure.