While it is impossible to ensure complete safety everywhere you go, it is generally safe to assume that places like retail stores, public parks, and private residences are well-maintained by their owners and/or managers. However, injuries do still occur in these seemingly safe places, and if such an injury stems from something the property’s owner should have fixed, the injured party may have grounds to file suit.
If you were hurt on someone else’s property, talking to a personal injury attorney may be in your best interests. An experienced Lexington premises liability lawyer could guide you through the civil litigation process and help you seek compensation through all available means.
How Different Visitors Create Different Degrees of Liability
Unlike many other personal injury cases, there is not one universal definition of liability for premises liability cases. Instead, the degree to which a property owner or manager may be held liable for a visitor’s injuries depends on who that visitor is and why they were on the property in question.
Invitees and licensees are both types of visitors who are on property legally, but the former type is there as a patron of a business, and the latter is there as a social guest or for their own benefit. Property owners owe a duty of ordinary care to both types of visitors to warn them of any dangers on their property that they know of, as well as of any hazards the visitor may not ordinarily notice.
The duty of care owed to trespassers varies depending on the age of the trespasser. Property owners owe adult trespassers no duty of care so long as they do not intentionally cause a trespasser harm, but they may be liable for injuries to underage trespassers drawn onto property by an “attractive nuisance” like an unsecured swimming pool.
Property owners also do not owe a duty of reasonable care to anyone using their property for recreational purposes with permission, as per South Carolina Code of Laws §27-3-30. A property liability lawyer in Lexington could clarify for an individual plaintiff which category they fall into and what that might mean for their case.
Effectively Pursing Damages After a Premises Liability Accident
A significant amount of evidence may be needed to demonstrate that a property owner is at fault for a serious injury suffered by a visitor. Pictures of the accident scene, eyewitness testimony, medical records, and security camera footage could all be used by a Lexington premises liability attorney to create a cohesive picture of what happened and how fault for it lies with the owner or manager of the property where the incident occurred.
Skilled legal counsel could also contest allegations of comparative fault on a plaintiff’s behalf, an action which may be crucial to their overall recovery efforts. In South Carolina, any civil plaintiff found to be partially liable for their own injuries may have their recoverable compensation reduced by their percentage of fault, and any plaintiff found over 50 percent at fault may be barred from recovering anything at all.
Finally, a knowledgeable legal representative should be able to ensure that a prospective plaintiff compiles and files their case in a timely fashion—or more specifically, in time to comply with state law. SC Code of Laws §15-3-530 sets a filing deadline of three years after an accident for an injury victim to file a personal injury lawsuit, after which point their case may be time-barred.
Learn More from a Seasoned Lexington Premises Liability Attorney
Civil cases based on premises liability cases are unique from other personal injury cases in many respects, which means they are several potential obstacles to recovery in this type of case that an inexperienced plaintiff may not be prepared to overcome. Assistance from a Lexington premises liability lawyer could help you avoid legal pitfalls, construct a compelling portrait of liability, and more effectively pursue compensation for all your injuries and losses. Call today to start discussing your case.