Slip and fall is a personal injury, and if you can prove someone else’s negligence caused your accident, you may be able to recover compensation. To better understand your rights and under what circumstances you can pursue a claim, you can speak with an attorney. In the meantime, here is an overview of slip and fall personal injury accidents.
Who May Sue After a Slip and Fall Accident Occurs
As stated in Sojourner v. AutoZone Inc. et al (2018), property owners have a duty to protect people they invite onto their property. An invitation may consist of expressing oral or written permission, or simply opening the doors to customers or others who visit with the intention of potentially doing business. Property owners do not have a duty to protect trespassers or anyone they did not invite onto the premises.
A Greenville property owner has a duty to fix issues they could reasonably be expected to know about and warn others about those issues. Examples of such issues include:
- Broken or uneven walkways
- Icy, snowy, or wet patches
- Risk of falling objects
- Grass that is too high or unkempt hedges
The irony is that the most common causes of slip and fall accidents are also the easiest to resolve. Taking care of such things is not just a matter of keeping up appearances or being neighborly; it is a property owner’s legal responsibility.
Compiling a List of Damages
This may sound obvious, but it is worth highlighting: you need to figure out what you are suing for before you begin your claim. Proving negligence in a slip and fall accident is crucial to receiving compensation. A personal injury lawyer can help you identify the at-fault person and compile evidence to support your claim of negligence. Furthermore, this may sound obvious, but it is worth highlighting: you need to figure out what you are suing for before you begin your claim. This means going beyond the fact that you fell and listing all the individual effects your injuries have had on your life. This means going beyond the fact that you fell and listing all the individual effects your injuries have had on your life.
Your accident may have affected you by decreasing your income, either temporarily or permanently, or by burdening you with additional bills. These financial impacts are called economic damages. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Medical bills, including the cost of immediate care (e.g., emergency room visits) and long-term care (e.g., home nursing)
- House and lawn care, including the cost of hiring people to look after your property (if you did not need them before)
- Loss of wages, including the income and benefits you lost when you took time off from work
- Loss of earning capacity, including the income and benefits you would have earned in the future if not for your injuries
Your accident may also have taken a toll on your physical and mental well-being. These impacts are called non-economic damages. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Disability, including the loss (e.g., via amputation) or loss of use (e.g., via nerve damage) of any body part
- Pain and suffering, including the physical and/or mental trauma your accident caused
- Loss of consortium, including the negative impact the accident had on the emotional, sexual, or other aspects of your marriage
- Loss of quality of life, including the inability to live independently or take care of your needs
Your Right to Pursue Damages Does Not Last Forever
Per South Carolina Code § 15-3-530, you generally have up to three years from the date of your accident to begin a lawsuit. This time limit may be shorter, depending on who you are suing, so it is better to consult an attorney sooner rather than later.
Why hire a lawyer at all? There are several reasons why you may find a lawyer’s help beneficial. First, they can take responsibility for all aspects of your lawsuit, including:
- The investigation: Your lawyer can track down witnesses to testify on your behalf, as well as documentary evidence, such as medical records.
- The clerical work: Your lawyer can notify the liable party about your lawsuit, submit evidence to a judge, and much more.
- The negotiations: When it comes time to negotiate a settlement, your lawyer will fight vigorously to get you every penny you need and deserve.
- The trial: Many cases end with a successful settlement and do not proceed to trial. However, if necessary, your lawyer can represent you in court.
In addition, the liable party’s insurance company likely will have legal representation. Having an attorney who understands the legal process and will give you advice and support can make it easier for you to seek the compensation you need without expending too much time and effort.
Hammack Law Firm understands that slip and fall is a personal injury that can have serious, negative consequences for you and your family. Our compassionate, friendly service has earned us rave reviews on Google, such as “Just honest people doing right by their clients.” We would be honored to represent you as well. Call us at (864) 326-3333 to start with a free case assessment.