Premises Liability Claims in Columbia, South Carolina

When it comes to our own homes, we have a pretty good idea of what’s going on. We’re generally aware if there’s a rip in our carpet, a creaky stair (old houses), a wobbly railing, or a hole in our back yard. But, once we leave the safety of our homes, there is no way for us to know for sure if someone else’s property is safe.

As shoppers, customers, employees and visitors, we have to assume that the homes and businesses that we visit our free of unknown dangers. Why should we assume that others’ properties are safe? Because, state laws impose a strict liability upon property owners to keep their properties safe for visitors.

After all, this is only rational. People shouldn’t have to live in fear of leaving their homes because of dangerous property conditions. So, this brings us to the legal concept of “premises liability.”

What is premises liability?

Premises liability is an aspect of personal injury which comes into play when someone is injured or killed because of a dangerous or otherwise unsafe condition on someone else’s property, whether it’s a private residence, business, public street, or government building.

Generally, personal injury cases are based on the theory of negligence, and premises liability cases are no exception. In order for an injured person to prevail, they must be able to prove that the property owner was somehow negligent in respect to the management of their property.

What do we mean by negligence? We mean that the property owner failed to take reasonable care of their property. For example, a motel knew that its pool drain had the tendency to suck people’s hair into the drain, entangling the swimmer, but the motel did nothing to correct the dangerous condition despite numerous complaints from guests.

Eventually, a little girl drowns because her hair is caught in the drain and she could not free herself in time. These types of tragedies happen every day, and the sad part is that they are entirely preventable.

Are property owners always liable?

No, not necessarily and this is a source of confusion for some people. Just because someone is injured on another’s property, it does not mean that all property owners are automatically liable. It comes down to the theory of negligence. These questions come into play:

  • Did the property owner know about the dangerous condition?
  • If not, should the property owner have known about the unsafe condition?
  • Did the property owner take the necessary precautions to warn people of the danger?
  • Did the property owner take the proper steps to fix the dangerous condition?

In order to have a valid premises liability claim, you need to be able to show that the property owner know about it, or should have known about it, and they failed to take the normal, responsible steps to correct the dangerous situation.

Common premises liability cases include: 1) dog bites and attacks, 2) slip and fall accidents, 3) swimming pool accidents, 4) toxic chemical exposure (including fumes), 5) inadequate security that leads to an assault, 6) elevator accidents, 7) poor maintenance, and 8) amusement park accidents.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of situations that can lead to a premises liability claim, but we are only scratching the surface. If you were injured on someone else’s property, contact our Columbia personal injury lawyers for a free consultation!

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