While property owners can often be held responsible for accidents on their land, not every incident on another person’s property automatically confers liability onto the property owner. If you want to recover compensation through this kind of claim, a few specific criteria must be fulfilled, and you must be able to prove your case for compensation through a preponderance of available evidence.
In order to improve your chances of success with your case, it is wise to retain a skilled Columbia premises liability lawyer. The experience of a seasoned attorney is often crucial not only to proving liability for an accident, but also to pursuing comprehensive compensation for every loss the accident caused.
How Do Premises Liability Cases Work?
Property owners are generally obligated to protect individuals visiting their property from harm, but the specific scope of that duty varies depending on the visitor. For example, property owners must warn invitees—visitors whose presence benefits the property owner, like customers in a store—of all known hazards and take steps to seek out and fix potential hazards before they can harm an invitee, whereas they must only warn licensees—visitors whose presence benefits themselves, like social guests—of known dangers that are not open and obvious.
In most situations, property owners owe no duty of care to trespassers—visitors on their property without permission or legal authority—other than to avoid intentionally harming them. However, if a child gets hurt by something like a swimming pool or construction equipment while trespassing, a premises liability attorney may be able to help their parent(s) or guardian(s) pursue a claim based on the “attractive nuisance” doctrine in Columbia.
Potential Limitations on Civil Recovery
In order to protect parties who operate public parks and recreational areas, South Carolina Code of Laws §27-3-30 generally exempts such property owners from any duty of care to protect visitors from harm, unless they either charge for admission to their land or engage in some form of gross or wanton negligence. Additionally, South Carolina courts have the authority to reduce a plaintiff’s recoverable compensation proportionately by their percentage of fault for their own injuries, as well as to bar recovery altogether if the plaintiff is more than 50 percent to blame.
Finally, S.C. Code §15-3-530 sets a statutory filing deadline of three years on most personal injury cases, meaning a person injured by unreasonably dangerous conditions on another person’s property usually has only three years after their accident in which to file suit. Assistance from a property liability lawyer in Columbia is often critical to effectively navigating these and other potential legal roadblocks that could get in the way of civil recovery.
A Columbia Premises Liability Attorney Should Be Able to Help
With a few noted exceptions, most landowners owe an important duty to each and every legal visitor on their property to prevent those visitors from suffering undue harm. In the event you suffer an injury due to hazardous conditions that a property owner should have remedied or cordoned off, you may be able to file suit for every injury and loss you sustain as a direct result.
A Columbia premises liability lawyer could be a steadfast ally in your pursuit of civil justice for the negligence of a property owner or manager. To discuss the possibilities in your unique situation, call today to schedule a consultation.