According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in five falls results in a major injury. Additionally, falls are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, and other serious impairments. Falls are one of the most common winter personal injury accidents in Greenville.
Under South Carolina personal injury law called premises liability, you are responsible for injuries that occur on your property. That includes everything from slip-and-fall accidents to swimming pool injuries. However, there are some details that you need to know about these laws and how to prevent these accidents.
Premises Liability Law in Greenville, S.C.
The extent of your liability on your property depends on the type of visitor who is involved in a personal injury accident. In South Carolina, visitors fall into one of three categories.
Invitees are business guests, such as customers at restaurants and grocery stores. Businesses have a legal obligation to keep their properties safe. They must actively seek out potential dangers to protect visitors from hidden risks. A business landowner is responsible for personal injuries if they knew about or could have discovered a hazard through reasonable inspection of their property.
Licensees are social visitors, such as dinner guests and partygoers. This is the most common type of visitor at private residences in Greenville. You owe a licensee a lower duty of care than would a business, but you are still responsible for injuries when you knew about a hazard. You must warn visitors about known hidden dangers on your property.
Trespassers include people who enter your property without permission. You have no legal obligation to protect the safety of an adult trespasser. However, there may be some situations where you are responsible for injuries of child trespassers. For example, if your property contains a feature that is considered an “attractive nuisance,” such as a swimming pool, then you must take reasonable steps to prevent accidents by child trespassers.
Steps You Can Take to Prevent Winter Personal Injury Accidents in Greenville
Some of the most common winter personal injury accidents can be prevented by inspecting your property regularly and taking care of potential hazards. Some steps you can take include:
- Applying salt to wet or icy sidewalks and stairs
- Removing snow from driveways and walkways
- Placing warning signs about icy conditions
- Removing icicles from roofing and trees
- Securing rugs in entryways
- Thoroughly drying wet floors
- Trimming overhanging tree limbs
- Assessing the safety of power lines
- Checking for leaks that can turn into ice patches
- Making repairs to sidewalks, roofing, and stairs
- Ensuring there is adequate lighting to walkways and steps
- Keeping an eye on children who visit your property
Under South Carolina law, you are required to conduct regular maintenance and upkeep of your premises. You must make necessary repairs to your property to prevent personal injuries of your guests. You should also use signs to warn visitors of existing safety hazards.
Hire a Professional to Transfer the Liability
Liability is a legal concept indicating that a person or company is responsible for an accident. In most cases, an insurance company is financially liable for personal injury accidents. That means that if someone is injured on your property, your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance will likely cover the damages. However, this can significantly increase your premium. It’s best to protect yourself against this liability to begin with.
You can avoid liability for winter personal injury accidents by hiring professionals to handle difficult maintenance jobs. For example, you can hire a professional landscaping company to ensure your tree limbs are all secure. You can hire a professional snow and ice removal service company to clear your walkways. This essentially transfers liability to those individuals or companies. Make sure the people you hire are insured and bonded.
In the end, you will still be potentially liable, but you can point to the professionals who you hired as being ultimately liable. You will have taken reasonable steps to maintain your property and make necessary repairs.
How Much Money Can I Get for a Premises Liability Claim?
If you are injured on someone else’s property, you can get compensation to cover your damages. There are multiple types of damages that you can get covered in a personal injury claim, including economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are those that are directly related to out-of-pocket costs, such as medical expenses. Non-economic damages are not related to the money you spend after an accident, but they include losses you’ve experienced such as pain and suffering.
While every claim is different, you can get money for all your losses, including:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium (companionship and intimacy)
Your actual damages will be dependent on various factors, including the severity of your injuries, your future medical needs, and other damages.
Call Premises Liability Attorney Venus Poe
If you are the victim of a winter personal injury accident in Greenville, you should immediately contact a premises liability lawyer who can guide you through making a claim. Insurance companies often try to avoid paying out for these types of claims. They may even try to put some of the blame on you.
Attorney Venus Poe has worked with countless victims of personal injury accidents who were injured due to no fault of their own. She can help you too. Call her today at (864) 963-0310 to schedule a case consultation.