The Basics of a Slip and Fall Lawsuit in South Carolina
Slip and falls happen every day. Whether you are in the grocery store or at a restaurant, you may be injured in a slip and fall accident. If this happens, you may be entitled to compensation for the accident, your injuries, future disabilities, a loss of income, and more.
Personal Injury Lawsuit Process
Below, we list the steps of a personal injury lawsuit. This same process applies to slip and fall lawsuits in South Carolina. A personal injury lawyer will aid you in these steps, making sure everything is filed properly and representing you in a court of law.
- File The Lawsuit - You must first file the lawsuit in the proper court and also serve the property owner. This begins the personal injury lawsuit process.
- Defendant Answers The Lawsuit - The property owner or defendant you are bringing a lawsuit against will then have a chance to answer your allegations. The defendant will be able to tell their own version of how the accident happened.
- Discovery Process - This is the formal information-gathering step in a personal injury lawsuit. During the discovery process, both sides might give sworn written statements called affidavits or sworn testimony called depositions. Other pertinent evidence and information to the lawsuit will be gathered during this time.
- Negotiations and Settlements - The majority of the time, your case will be resolved in a settlement. Insurance companies are willing to settle, but they want to pay you the bare minimum. This amount is often less than you deserve. If they do not offer you a satisfactory amount, your case could go to trial.
- Trial - If no settlement was reached during the defendant’s answer or the discovery process, then the lawsuit proceeds to trial. As the plaintiff, your lawyer would have to prove the defendant's negligence in your lawsuit. After the trial, a jury would return a verdict answering whether the property owner was negligent and, if so, how much you should recuperate for damage and losses. After that verdict is returned, both sides would have the opportunity to appeal the decision.
At any time during a slip and fall lawsuit, a settlement agreement can be reached with the defendant, which would resolve the case.
Statute of Limitations
The Statute of limitations for a slip and fall lawsuit in South Carolina is three years. This is stated in South Carolina Code section 5-3-530.
In most cases, you have a better chance of receiving a settlement if you file your lawsuit as soon as possible after an accident. However, you have three years to make an initial claim.
Proving negligence for a slip and fall lawsuit is imperative to receiving a settlement. There are three elements to proving negligence in a slip and fall lawsuit.
- The defendant owed the victim a duty of care.
- There was a breach of duty of care caused by a negligent act or omission.
- There was damage caused by that breach of duty.
A property owner owes a duty of care to any person who has a legal right to be on that property. The property owner also has an obligation to ensure that there are no dangerous conditions existing on that property. If someone is trespassing on a property, a duty of care is not owed to that person.
Two further questions that must be answered to prove negligence are:
- Was the property owner negligent?
- Did that negligence cause your slip and fall accident?
Comparative Fault in South Carolina
South Carolina is a modified comparative fault state. This means that in South Carolina, a plaintiff’s negligence cannot exceed that of the defendant. A damaged party cannot recover if it is more than fifty percent at fault for the accident. If it is less than fifty percent at fault, the recovery is reduced by the degree of the plaintiff’s fault.
Get Help With Your Slip and Fall Lawsuit
For advice on your slip and fall lawsuit, contact the Peace Law Firm today for a free consultation. We have successfully brought many suits forward for slip and fall victims and would be honored to represent you in your slip and fall accident lawsuit.