How You Can Prove Your Case After a Slip and Fall Accident in South Carolina
Updated: Nov 10, 2021
You’re pushing a cart down the grocery store aisle. All of a sudden, you slip on a wet spot. Your cart keeps rolling forward, but you fall hard on your back, hitting your head on the floor. You’re too dazed to move. The next thing you know, you’re in a hospital emergency room. Nurses and doctors are hovering over you. Everything is fuzzy, and the lights are too bright. You’re confused. You don’t know why you’re there.
You’ve just experienced a Slip & Fall accident. In a split-second your life may have changed forever. Whether your injury happened in a grocery store, restaurant, office building, or on a broken sidewalk, you may have a valid case for compensation.
If you slipped and fell, you might think you are to blame for your own injuries. Isn’t it up to you to keep yourself safe? If you slipped and fell, shouldn’t you have simply been more careful? Although these feelings and questions are common, after a slip-and-fall accident you need to be extremely careful to avoid making any assumptions about your legal rights.
Property owners in South Carolina have a duty to keep aisles free from debris, the floors dry, and the pavements even. If you slip or trip and then suffer injuries, you may have the right to sue the owners for pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages.
While some slip-and-fall accidents may be avoidable, many are the result of factors outside of the victim’s control. For example, if your accident was the result of any of the following common causes, you may be entitled to financial compensation under South Carolina law:
A recently-cleaned floor
A floor or stairway without adequate anti-skid protection
An indoor or outdoor walking surface that was slick from rain
A dangerous pool deck
A slippery walking surface at a playground, water park, or marina
To win a slip and fall case, the victim must establish that the property owner was negligent. The following three elements must be proven:
The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care.
There was a breach of that duty of care by negligent act or omission.
Damages resulted from the breach of duty.
A property owner owes a duty of care to people who have a legal right to be there and has the responsibility of making sure his or her property is free of dangerous conditions. A property owner does not owe a duty of care to a trespasser, who shouldn’t be on the property in the first place.
Returning to our grocery store example, lets say an hour before your fall an employee stocking shelves was careless and let some ice fall and melt on the floor, leading to unsafe conditions. Under these circumstance, you could prove all three elements: the store owed you a duty of care because you had a legal right to be there, there was an act of negligence, and that negligence resulted in injury.
Imagine, however, a slightly different scenario: the ice didn’t melt on the floor one hour earlier, but only one minute earlier. This is a different story. It’s reasonable to expect the store owner or one of the employees to clean the water within one hour, but not as reasonable to expect it to be cleaned within one minute. This case will be more difficult to win, as the second element may not be present.
One of the reasons slip and fall accidents can be tricky to win is because unlike in car accidents, police officers are typically not called to the scene after the accident to investigate. Because of this, it is smart to start a paper trail and gather evidence at the scene as soon as you can.
Take photos or videos of the location of the accident with your smartphone showing the conditions. If you’re in a store, building, or public space, ask someone in charge to fill out a report recording the incident and get a copy of the report. Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. It’s also important to speak with an attorney right away so that any existing security footage can be preserved.
At Palmetto State Injury Lawyers, we work tirelessly to build your case and will do our homework to make sure we know the in’s and out’s of your case and build a powerful negotiation strategy. Some of the investigative steps we take at Palmetto State Injury Lawyers include:
Obtaining video surveillance footage
Taking photographs of the area where you fell
Getting a copy of your incident report, as well as any incident reports that were filed before you fell
Review any violations of local, state, or federal building or housing laws
Identify and interview witnesses
Conduct a thorough online search to identify prior reported incidents
Extensive background search on the defendant
Examine if the property owner used any maintenance crews
Verify property ownership
Your settlement should include all of your financial losses, including your medical expenses, travel to medical appointments, and even lost income because you’re unable to work. It should also include all if your other damages, like pain and suffering, compensation for your mental anguish, and the detrimental impacts of the fall on your life.
Ultimately, resolving your slip and fall case with an out of court settlement is a matter of careful negotiations. You need to build a strong case while strategically negotiating with the responsible party. These negotiations are often very complex, including debates about the facts, laws, and other relevant issues. Whether you should settle your slip and fall claim depends on all of the relevant circumstances present in your case.
If both parties agree on the approximate value of the case, it makes sense to settle your slip and fall claim. You save the expense, stress, and time delays of taking your case to trial. However, there are reasons that it might be in your best interests to take your case to trial. An experienced slip and fall attorney like Dana Adkins can help you make the best decision for your case.
Attorney Dana Adkins assists her slip and fall clients with every aspect of their case. She is trained to help slip and fall victims take all of the necessary steps to maximize their compensation. If your goal is to win a fair settlement for your slip and fall case, working with a trained attorney like Dana Adkins is an excellent way to ensure that you’re doing everything within your power to get justice.
Our goal is to help you resolve your case quickly and fairly in the way that’s best for you. We invite you to talk to us about your case. We want to understand you and your goals. Together, we can make a plan to help you get a settlement that is both fair and meets your needs.
We offer free consultations for victims of slip and fall accidents and are available to meet with you and in-person or virtually.