Charleston Slip & Fall Lawyer
Falls are not just the most common kind of premises liability injury. They are also the most common kind of personal injury, at least from the standpoint of Emergency Room visits. Over eight million of these victims go to hospital ERs every year. That’s more than any other type of injury. Most of these victims receive treatment for broken bones and head injuries.
At the Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm, our experienced Charleston slip & fall lawyers routinely handle these matters throughout South Carolina. Since we are familiar with all the written and unwritten rules of evidence and procedure, we are well-positioned to obtain maximum compensation for your serious injury. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Evidence in Fall Injury Claims
In some states, it’s relatively easy for victim/plaintiffs to establish legal liability in fall injury claims. But the laws in South Carolina are not particularly victim-friendly. So, evidence is critical, both in terms of establishing liability and obtaining compensation.
Victim/plaintiffs must establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not, in these cases. That’s the lowest standard of proof in South Carolina. However, to obtain maximum compensation, more evidence is usually required, as indicated above.
Witness testimony, bith from the victim and from any eyewitnesses, is usually critical. Something almost mystical happens when people take the stand and tell what they saw in their own words.
Medical records are also important. Usually, these documents contain more than just hard data about cost, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis. These records usually include treatment notes which indicate the victim’s pain level at the time. Insurance company lawyers often challenge these treatment notes in court to try and keep jurors from seeing them. Attorneys must sometimes overcome some additional procedural hurdles to ensure that jurors make decisions based on all the facts.
Assumption of the risk and some form of comparative fault are usually the most common defenses in fall injury claims.
Signs like “Caution: Wet Floor” often set up the assumption of the risk defense. But the sign alone does not establish this defense. Insurance company lawyers must establish two legal elements, which are:
- Voluntary assumption of
- A known risk.
So, a sign by itself is insufficient. Insurance company lawyers must still prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the victim saw the sign, could read it, and could understand what it meant. Otherwise, the victim did not assume a known risk. So, sign or no sign, the assumption of the risk defense is almost impossible to prove if the victim was a small child, older adult, or anyone with limited English skills.
Comparative fault shifts blame for the accident from the negligent party to the victim. An open and obvious hazard, like a palette in the middle of a floor, is a good example. Once again, however, such obstructions do not immunize property owners. The insurance company must still prove that the victim could see the obstacle and could have avoided it. These elements are often hard to establish if the victim was an older adult.
Count on a Diligent Charleston County Slip & Fall Lawyer
All injury victims are entitled to fair compensation for their serious wounds. For a free consultation with an experienced Charleston slip and fall accident lawyer, contact the Gus Anastopoulo Law Firm. Attorneys can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.