What Are the Legal Steps After a Slip and Fall Accident?

A slip-and-fall accident can cause severe injuries and damages. Property owners can be liable for damages if someone is injured on their property. However, you must prove a legal claim before you can recover compensation for damages. Our South Carolina slip and fall attorneys discuss the steps you should take after a slip and fall accident to protect your rights.

Understanding Slip and Fall Accidents

Common locations for slip and fall accidents include, but are not limited to:

  • Restaurants and bars
  • Shopping centers and grocery stores
  • Parking lots and garages
  • Entertainment and sports venues
  • Playgrounds and parks
  • Swimming pools
  • Workplaces
  • Hotels and resorts
  • Nursing homes
  • Apartment buildings
  • Government offices
  • Schools and daycares

A trip-and-fall accident occurs when you trip over something, causing your body to pitch forward. A slip-and-fall accident occurs when your foot loses traction with the floor, causing you to fall backward. Common causes of slip and fall accidents include:

  • Broken steps and staircases
  • Slippery or wet floors
  • Loose or damaged carpeting, floorboards, and other flooring surfaces
  • Missing handrails
  • Debris or items on the floor
  • Broken or damaged sidewalks and walkways
  • Wires and extension cords
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Potholes, cracks, and holes in surfaces
  • Uneven surfaces, including elevators and escalators
  • Lack of warning signs

If you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident, the steps you take after the accident could significantly impact the outcome of your personal injury claim.

Initial Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident

If you are injured in a slip, trip, and fall accident, the steps you should take include:

  • Document the accident scene and gather evidence by taking photographs and videos, especially of the hazard that caused your fall.
  • Ask eyewitnesses for their contact information and names.
  • Seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. Delays in medical care could make proving the fall caused your injuries more difficult.
  • Report the accident to the property owner. If a written report is generated, ask for a copy.
  • Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and keep detailed records of all expenses related to the fall and your recovery.
  • Document your damages by keeping medical records and copies of all documents related to expenses and financial losses.

Seek legal advice from an experienced slip-and-fall accident lawyer as soon as possible. In a slip-and-fall case, proving the property owner’s negligence can be difficult.

The Role of Negligence in Slip and Fall Cases

Slip and fall claims are considered premises liability in South Carolina. As the injured victim, you must prove that a property owner or other responsible party was negligent. The elements of negligence for a slip and fall claim are:

  • A dangerous condition existed on the premises.
  • The property owner knew or should have known about the hazard.
  • The owner did not take reasonable actions to correct the problem or warn people of the hazard.
  • You were injured as a result of the dangerous condition and incurred damages because of the fall.

Once you prove negligence, you can seek compensation for your financial losses (economic damages) and your pain and suffering (non-economic damages).

Many slip-and-fall accidents are settled with insurance providers through settlement negotiations. However, you may need to file a lawsuit against the property owner.

Get Help Filing a Claim for a Slip and Fall Accident From a South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer

Slip and fall cases may involve non-owners who may have had control of the property. Sorting out liability is one reason you need an experienced lawyer to handle your case. Call Willcox, Buyck & Williams, P.A. to schedule a consultation with a South Carolina slip and fall attorney to discuss your case.

How to Prove Liability in a Slip and Fall Case

Slip and fall accidents are common personal injury claims. A person slips, trips, and falls because of a dangerous condition on another party’s property. Slip and fall claims can be filed against homeowners, businesses, government entities, management companies, leasing companies, and other parties controlling the property. 

Slip and fall accidents are complicated premises liability claims. The first step after an injury is to seek medical treatment. Then, contact a South Carolina slip and fall injury attorney to discuss your legal options and the right to compensation for damages. 

Proving Liability for a Slip and Fall Claim in South Carolina 

Property owners can be held liable when their actions cause a person to be injured. Gross negligence, willful conduct, malicious failure to warn or guard against a dangerous condition, and charging people to enter the land for recreational use are examples of actions that could result in liability. However, you have the burden of proving property owner is liable for your damages. 

The elements required to prove liability in a slip and fall case in South Carolina:

  • There was a dangerous or hazardous condition on the property;
  • The property owner knew (actual knowledge) or should have known (constructive knowledge) that the condition existed;
  • The property owner failed to take any action to correct the hazard or warn people about the hazard;
  • The condition on the property was the direct and proximate cause of your injury; and,
  • You suffered damages and injuries because of the slip, trip, and fall.

Property owners are not strictly liable when a person is injured while on the property. However, once the owner knew or should have known, they could have a duty to protect people on the property from the danger. Proving that a property owner knew or should have known about a danger is one of the most challenging elements of a premises liability case.

Evidence Used to Prove Liability for a Slip and Fall Accident in South Carolina 

Your attorney may use various types of evidence to prove the property owner or another at-fault party knew about the danger and did nothing to protect you from injury. Examples of evidence that could be used in a slip and fall accident case include, but are not limited to:

  • Copies of emails, text messages, letters, and other correspondence 
  • Photographs and videos of the hazardous conditions on the property
  • Testimony from witnesses 
  • Maintenance and repair records
  • Weather reports
  • Business and property records
  • Your medical bills proving injuries

Your attorney investigates the slip and fall accident to gather evidence proving liability. The sooner an attorney searches for evidence, the less likely the property owner can conceal or destroy evidence. If possible, take photographs and make a video of the scene immediately after your fall. Also, ask witnesses for their names and contact information so your lawyer can interview them during the investigation. 

Call Now for a Free Consultation With a South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney 

Our lawyers at Willcox, Buyck & Williams, PA, have extensive experience handling premises liability claims. Contact our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation with a South Carolina slip and fall accident lawyer. We fight to hold property owners liable for damages caused by slip and fall accidents.

Are Slip and Fall Injuries Covered by Homeowners Insurance in South Carolina?

Injuries incurred in premises liability cases can be significant. Luckily, most homeowners’ insurance policies cover slip and fall injuries. As a South Carolina slip and fall accidents attorney, I created some basic understanding of how your homeowner’s insurance can cover slip and fall injuries if they were to occur.

Understanding Basic Homeowners Insurance 

Your homeowner’s policy covers four traditional areas:

  • Your home’s physical structure
  • Your personal belongings inside the home
  • Liability protection
  • Coverage for additional living expenses

The primary focus here is liability protection. Most homeowners are unaware of whether a claim or a defense of a claim will be covered should a slip and fall occur on your property.

Common Liability Claims

There are many types of liability claims protected under a homeowners insurance policy. But the most common are:

  • A guest slipping and falling
  • Tree branches fall and cause damage to your neighbor’s property
  • Dog bites

Whether any of the most common liability claims happen, your homeowner’s insurance will provide liability protection and legal defense.

Liability Protection 

Liability is legal protection for you in case of lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or your family members cause to other people. Liability protection also provides no-fault medical coverage for a slip and fall injury. Be aware that the amount of medical coverage is based on your policy limit and will not surpass that. Also, note that it does not pay your own family or pet’s medical bills.  

Legal Defense 

If someone were to slip and fall on your property, your homeowner’s insurance would pay for your legal defense when a liability claim is held against you or damages. For example, if you forget to shovel your driveway because of snow and someone falls and gets injured, your homeowner’s insurance will provide you with an attorney. 

Don’t Wait to Contact

Homeowner’s insurance policies are already too hard to understand and navigate. If you are ever unsure whether your policy covers slip and fall claims, we can provide you with a free review of your policy. Our South Carolina personal injury attorneys are here to help and provide you with a defense. Get in touch with our office today for a free consultation.

What Are the Most Common Slip and Fall Injuries?

Slip and fall accidents account for some of the most frequent injuries treated in South Carolina emergency rooms. While some slip and fall injuries are minor and immediately apparent, many are not visible and may be life-threatening. 

South Carolina personal injury attorneys urge all slip and fall victims to protect their health by seeking a thorough medical exam following the incident. Attending physicians will assess your physical condition after the fall and advise you regarding common slip and fall injuries and their symptoms.

What are the Most Common Slip and Fall Injuries?

Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, at any time, and in any condition, and can easily wreak havoc in victims’ lives through resulting injuries. Five of the most common slip and fall injuries include: 

Bruises and Soft Tissue Injuries

Bruises and soft tissue injuries often appear days or weeks after a slip and fall accident. While mild bruising generally heals on its own, other soft tissue injuries may cause severe pain and require medical treatment.  Soft tissue injuries include torn ligaments, ripped tendons, wrist, and ankle sprains.

Cuts and Abrasions

Cuts and abrasions are generally considered among the milder injuries suffered in slip and falls. However, they can also indicate more serious underlying injuries and should be attended to by medical professionals. Cleaning the wounds promptly will reduce the risk of infection and determine if stitches are required or if other associated injuries such as broken bones or internal trauma exist.

Hip Fractures and Dislocations

Hip injuries are fairly common in slip and fall accidents, particularly in older fall victims. Hip fractures and dislocations often require surgery and physical therapy for complete recovery, both of which are painful, prolonged, and costly. 

Head Injury

Concussions and traumatic brain injuries are among the most devastating slip and fall injuries suffered by fall victims.  Because these injuries are not immediately evident, the risk of life-threatening complications is high. TBI symptoms are often undetected or mild at first, leading to a devastating delay in much needed medical diagnosis and treatment.  

Back Injury 

Back injuries run the gamut from compressed and dislocated discs to severed spinal cords resulting in paralysis.  If you suffer a slip and fall injury and experience any pain in your neck or back, you must immediately seek medical attention.  It is best not to move and receive medical attention on-site or to be transported by emergency responders to the nearest hospital for immediate treatment. 

Contact a South Carolina Slip and Fall Injury Attorney Today

If you or someone you love has suffered a  South Carolina slip and fall accident, seek medical treatment immediately.  Your health and well-being are your first priority.  

After you have been attended to by medical professionals, you may experience feelings of confusion and anger, questioning what caused the fall, and if anyone is responsible. 

An experienced personal injury attorney can help you sort through your questions and determine if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.

Contact our office today for a comprehensive case assessment with a qualified South Carolina personal injury attorney. Together, we will review the facts of your accident and strive to win you the compensation you deserve to aid in healing and recovery.