Premises Liability Claims

People are sometimes injured on property that is owned or controlled by another person. If so, it may be possible to recover monetary damages from the property owner for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

In premises liability cases, it is important to locate witnesses as quickly as possible. Our lawyers are experienced in identifying and tracking witnesses to make sure that your rights are fully protected.

There are often many different kinds of insurance coverage available in premises liability cases. For example, some insurance coverage may be available to pay for your medical bills regardless of who was at fault. Other types of coverage apply only if the property owner is found to be responsible for the injured person’s damages.

“Slip and Fall” Cases in South Carolina

Many premises liability cases involve “slip and fall” accidents. In South Carolina, an owner of property owes a legal duty to his guests to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition. If the injured person shows that the owner of the premises either created a hazard on the property or had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard before the fall occurred and that the hazard caused the injuries, then recovery may be possible. However, such cases become more complicated to analyze when, for example, the person on the property is a trespasser and not a store patron.

Injuries in Fitness Centers

A fitness center must warn its members of all non-obvious dangers and those dangerous conditions of which the fitness center is aware. Basically, the fitness center must remain reasonably safe. Unfortunately, some fitness centers fail to adequately maintain their exercise equipment. Such failures can often lead to serious injuries.

Injuries at Superstores

With the introduction of “superstore” warehouses, the practice of stacking heavy products on high shelves has resulted in falling merchandise which has caused countless customer injuries and some fatalities. Statistically, most accidents occur between October and January when more merchandise is stacked in anticipation of the holiday rush.

Liability for Dog Bites

There are approximately 800,000 dog bite victims per year in the United States. Approximately 60% of these victims are children, and most of them are bitten on the face (77%). Dog bites cause an average of 18 deaths per year.

Pursuant to South Carolina statute, S.C. Code Ann. § 47-3-110:

Whenever any person is bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog while the person is in a public place or is lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog or other person having the dog in his care or keeping, the owner of the dog or other person having the dog in his care or keeping is liable for the damages suffered by the person bitten or otherwise attacked. For the purposes of this section, a person bitten or otherwise attacked is lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog or other person having the dog in his care or keeping, when the person bitten or otherwise attacked is on the property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this State, by the ordinances of any political subdivision of this State, by the laws of the United States of America, including, but not limited to, postal regulations, or when the person bitten or otherwise attacked is on the property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner of the property or of any lawful tenant or resident of the property. If a person provokes a dog into attacking him then the owner of the dog is not liable.

Issues regarding insurance coverage can be very complicated. For example, according to the South Carolina Supreme Court, raising and showing purebred dogs was not a “business pursuit” within meaning of a business exclusion in a homeowners’ policy (stated that there is no insurance coverage for injuries “arising out of or in connection with a business engaged in by an insured”) and thus the insureds were entitled to liability coverage for injuries to a professional dog handler who was bitten by one of their dogs, where: (1) the insureds raised and showed the dogs as part-time activity; (2) they had other regular or continuous business engagements; (3) the insureds did not intend raising the dogs to be a means of earning a living; and (4) the  income generated from the dogs did not exceed expenses in each year.

Accidents at Playgrounds

Over 223,000 children, ages 14 and under, are injured yearly in playground accidents throughout the United States. Approximately 35% of these injuries are serious. 70% of the injuries occur when children fall to the ground. Indeed, one-third of playground related fatalities are due to falls.

Pools and Accidents

Poolside and other swimming related accidents are the second leading cause of death of children under 15 years of age. Each year, over 1,000 children die in swimming-related accidents and over 5,000 others are hospitalized.

Many adults suffer severe injuries when they combine alcohol and swimming. In fact, alcohol use is involved in 25% to 50% of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation.

Backyard pools equipped with diving boards may pose a serious risk. As reported on CBS’s 60 Minutes II, over 7,000,000 families enjoy backyard pools with diving boards. Unfortunately, many of these pools have been improperly designed and constructed, leaving divers at risk of sustaining serious injuries.

Injuries from Criminal Attacks

Under South Carolina law, a business owner has a general duty to exercise reasonable care in protecting its patrons, but it is not liable for criminal attacks (such as robberies, rapes, or murder) by third parties in the absence of evidence that the owner knew or had reason to know of the attack. In other words, the property owner is not liable for a guest’s injuries unless the criminal attack was foreseeable. “Foreseeability” is oftentimes a difficult matter to prove. Factors regarding foreseeability include: (1) whether the property is in a high crime area; (2) whether the property owner followed security guidelines (if any); (3) whether the business is of a type and nature that typically attracts a criminal element (such as a bar or dance club); and (4) the degree of the criminal act’s spontaneity (such as whether the criminal event was unprovoked and sudden outburst or whether the attacker had been physically aggressive and causing trouble prior to the event).

Charleston Premises Liability Attorneys

The Charleston Personal Injury Lawyers at Futeral & Nelson, LLC help those who have been injured in Charleston, North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Summerville, Goose Creek, Hanahan, Moncks Corner, James Island, West Ashley, Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Awendaw, McClellanville and the surrounding areas.

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