One of the most common types of personal injury cases arises from a slip and fall accident at a store or business. Slip and fall claims are rooted in premise liability, and a victim must prove that they were hurt due to a dangerous condition of the property and that the victim belongs to a class of visitors that is entitled to protection from harm by the property owner.
Classes of Visitors and Respective Duties of Care for Premise Liability
Visitors are individuals who go on to the property owned by a property owner. The purpose or the visit, or the reason why the visitor is on the property, matters in a premise liability case, as the property owner is held to a different standard of care depending on what type of visitor is on the property. Visitors are classified as one of the following:
- Invitees are visitors who have been invited to the property, usually in an effort to get the visitor to purchase something. Because invitees are solicited or encouraged to come to the property for financial purposes, the property owner owes invitees a higher standard of care compared to other types of visitors. Specifically, the property owner owes invitees a safe premises, and must take steps to identify potential hazards to protect invitees from hidden risks on the property.
- Licensees are visitors to the property who are on the property as social guests. They were not solicited to the property for a business purpose, but rather were invited over for social interaction. Licensees are owed a lower standard of care than invitees. Property owners are not obligated to ensure that a property is safe for licensees, but the property owner does have an obligation to warn licensees of any hidden risks on the property.
- When a visitor is a trespasser, the trespasser is on the property without permission. The property owner has no duty to protect an adult trespasser, under S.C. Code Ann. Section 27-3-30. However, there are certain scenarios where a property owner may have a duty of care if the trespasser is a child.
Building Code Violations Can Create Liability
When your slip and fall accident is the result of negligence on the part of the property owner, you may have a legitimate personal injury case if you are considered to be an invitee or licensee. One way to prove liability in a negligence based slip and fall personal injury case is to show that the property owner is in violation of a building ordinance, and that the violation was the cause of the slip and fall incident. Building codes that are focused on safety create a duty for the property owner to get the property into compliance. A failure to do so is a breach of the property owner’s duty of care. When some aspect of a property is not in compliance with the building codes that apply to it, and a person becomes injured as a result of the property’s non-compliance, it is negligence per se on the part of the property owner. This means that because the property owner is in violation of the building code the property owner is negligent. Negligence per se is a legal standard
Need a Personal Injury Lawyer Serving Hilton Head and Beaufort?
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be eligible for recovery from the property owner under premise liability. Consult with the personal injury lawyers at Workers Compensation Lawyers- today to discuss the specifics of your case. Contact us today.