Accidents do happen. As South Carolinians age, more and more of those accidents are turning out to be of the slip and fall variety. Slip and fall accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and death in the United States, especially for older adults – approximately one in three experiences a fall each year – and if someone else is responsible for your injury, you have the right to bring suit against them.
Falls Affect Everyone
Slip and fall accidents happen frequently, and are somewhat lampooned in popular culture as events that only happen to the elderly and to children. This is simply not the case, especially if one takes into account on-the-job accidents. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) states that on average, 15 percent of all accidental deaths occur due to slips, trips and falls. The National Floor Safety Institute also reports that injuries due to falls are the leading cause of missed work days.
Another common cause of falls is when a business owner is unaware of a potential hazard on their property. Classic examples include spills on grocery store floors and uneven or broken sidewalks, especially in inclement weather, but there are many others. A fact pattern that has become more common in recent years is the malfunctioning escalator or elevator, where the fault causes significant injury. Even inadequate security can be grounds for a premises liability action – if, for example, there are not sufficient security guards to prevent a mugging, the property owner may be liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Slip and fall accidents tend to be brought most often under a theory of negligence law called premises liability. At common law (that is, the law inherited from the English system, rather than the laws made by U.S. judges), there were three different classes of people who could possibly enter onto land – licensees, invitees and trespassers – and there were three different standards for judging whether or not a property owner would be liable to them.
South Carolina law has eliminated those distinctions in some situations, but on many occasions, they still apply. An adult trespasser, for example, has very limited rights to file any kind of action against a property owner, since it was their own doing that they were on the property. Licensees and invitees, though they may have more right to allege injury, also have obligations that they must show were met before a court will consider their claims. For example, plaintiffs who are injured by hazards that are deemed “open and obvious” will be less likely to be awarded compensation – the rationale is that if a hazard is obvious, such as a large hole in the ground, a plaintiff should have been able to avoid it.
Seek Professional Assistance With Your Case
When you are injured, the only thing you should be focused on is recovering. With the help of an experienced premises liability attorney, the load will be lightened and you can pay attention to what really matters. The dedicated North Charleston premises liability attorneys at Callihan & Syracuse understand where your priorities lie, and we will do our very best to help you receive the compensation you need to get back on your feet. Contact our office today for a free consultation.