Personal Injury and Natural Disasters

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South Carolina is a state that, thankfully, sees fewer natural disasters than many. However, they do happen – hurricanes and tropical storms are the most common, bringing flooding and widespread destruction. October 2015 saw a FEMA disaster declaration due to severe storms. These disasters cause injuries, and some of them are severe. The average individual might think that such injuries are not compensable, but in some situations, they are.

Premises Liability

The most common causes of action arising from natural disasters are rooted in premises liability. Premises liability is based on South Carolina negligence law, and it holds that a property or business owner has a duty to make their property safe for those who enter upon it. This duty holds in all instances, though its degree may vary depending on the nature of the visitor’s business on the property. If disaster strikes, and you are injured due to an unsafe condition on someone’s property, they may be liable for the harm you suffer.

In South Carolina, case precedent establishes three categories of visitors that can enter onto someone’s land: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Trespassers, understandably, are owed no duty of care aside from a duty to refrain from obvious malice. Licensees, examples of which are social guests, are owed a duty wherein a host must warn a visitor about any dangers on the property that are not obvious. Invitees, such as customers at a business, are owed the highest duty of care possible, which is to both warn a visitor about known dangers, and to inspect their property for any dangers they might be unaware of, as a property owner will be liable for injuries sustained even if they were unaware of the danger that caused it.

Help With Insurance and Other Information

Another way in which a personal injury attorney can help you obtain compensation for injuries suffered during a natural disaster is to assess whether you have a valid case with which to bring suit. While obviously, injuries you suffer are very real and may be traumatic for you, not every case is worth bringing to trial. It is a breach of ethics to bring a case to trial when an attorney does not reasonably believe it will be successful, to say nothing of a waste of everyone’s time. Meeting with a personal injury attorney before attempting to bring suit may save you time and trouble.

A personal injury attorney may also be able to assist you in dealing with your insurance company, whether for property claims or medical injuries. At times, companies either drag their proverbial feet in processing claims, or they may attempt to deny claims based on incorrect or willfully erroneous information – an attorney’s involvement may lead to more dialogue and fairer dealing. Insurance companies generally have no interest in going to court, so in some situations the mere presence of an attorney may lead to more open negotiations.

Get Back On Your Feet

After a disaster, the last thing on your mind is the intricacy of the legal process. An experienced and compassionate attorney can help you shoulder that burden, if you have been injured or had property damaged, so you can get your life back on track much quicker. The zealous North Charleston personal injury attorneys at Callihan & Syracuse understand what it is like to be thrust into difficult situations, and we will do our best to help you rectify all that has gone wrong. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.