What Is a Slip and Fall?
What is considered a slip and fall? An injury is caused by someone slipping and falling on someone else’s property. When these accidents occur on someone else’s property, the owner may be held liable under a “premises liability” claim or lawsuit.
Slip and fall injuries are common and account for tons of hospital visits yearly. Walmart alone reports roughly several hundreds of slips and falls nearly every day due to people slipping on water or other substances on the floor while shopping.
Establishing Fault in a Slip and Fall Accident
Negligence is involved and must be proven for a compelling slip-and-fall case. This means that the plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a duty to act as the property owner reasonably and breached their duty, which directly led to the injuries or damages sustained.
How is this done? If you can provide evidence that the property owner knew of an issue on their premises, for example, and they didn’t fix it, and it led to an injury, this may be all the evidence you need for a successful case against them.
The property owner owes a level of duty of care depending on who the plaintiff is. Even if the plaintiff was trespassing on the property, the owner has a small duty of care to that person. If, for example, the injured person was invited onto the property for the owner’s benefit, like a customer at Walmart, the level of care would be much more. If the person on the property is a guest, the level of care can include letting the guest know of potential hazards and using reasonable care when conducting activities on the property.
What If I’m Partially At Fault for the Slip and Fall?
Due to South Carolina following a modified comparative fault rule, you may still be eligible for compensation even if you are partially at fault for the accident. Modified comparative fault means that the fault is established and assigned as a percentage to each party involved in the accident. If you are less than 51% at fault for the accident, you can still pursue damages in the incident.
What if I Fall At Work?
If a slip and fall happened at work, you would typically consult your employer regarding a workers’ compensation claim rather than a personal injury suit.
Nearly all employees in South Carolina are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance which covers injuries while at the workplace. However, if the employer has less than four employees, they may not be required to carry coverage, and you may need to seek other solutions.
What Damages Can I Seek in a Slip and Fall Case?
As with most negligence cases, individuals can pursue three types of damages in a slip-and-fall case.
Economic damages include things like your medical bills, lost wages from missing work, costs of other property damage that may have occurred, and more.
Non-economic damages may include things like pain and suffering or emotional distress. Items that have no specific monetary value and therefore are harder to calculate, but your skilled personal injury attorney can help you to calculate and provide evidence of a need for non-economic damages.
Punitive damages may also apply to slip and fall cases. Punitive damages are meant to display an added punishment for those particularly careless, leading to injuries. Punitive damages can help to deter others from making the same mistakes and allow the plaintiff to obtain additional compensation when the defendant has acted especially recklessly. Not all cases will require the pursuit of punitive damages. They are reserved for incredibly careless cases.
What Is the Statute of Limitations in a Slip and Fall Case?
Understanding the statute of limitations for the case you plan to pursue is essential. If you move forward past the statute of limitations regarding your case, no matter how valid your evidence or claim may be, you may not be able to pursue it.
The statute of limitations in South Carolina for slip and fall cases is three years. This means you have three years from the incident date to seek damages.
A variance to this time limit is if your slip and fall injury occurred on government property, such as the post office, the courthouse, or other city or county buildings. If this is the case, you have only two years to pursue damages, and this can only be extended to three years if you have special permission by submitting a petition within a year of the incident.
What Should I Do Following a Slip and Fall Accident?
Seek medical attention to determine the depth of your injuries. Even if you don’t feel immediate concerning symptoms, if you hit your head, you may have medical needs without knowing it yet. This is especially the case with many concussions where someone hits their head and isn’t aware that damage has been done until much later.
Get documentation of the area where the incident occurred, including the weather that day (if the sidewalk or area was slippery), if there were contributing factors, such as a defective handrail, that led to your fall, and more. If cameras are in the area where you fell, requesting the tape is essential.
Consult the property owner, let them know what occurred on their property, and exchange contact information. If they are denying your claims or refusing to help you, consult an attorney immediately.
We are a dedicated group of attorneys who have helped countless clients with their slip-and-fall cases. Call our office at (803) 219-8870 to get started.