After my last post on premises liability entitled "South Carolina Slip and Fall Law: Premises Liability", I have received a good many clients and phone calls. However, I think further detail is needed to cover some of the areas that cause people confusion.
It may be a strange thing to hear from a lawyer but sometimes, there is no one to blame in a slip and fall accident but yourself. Just because you fall down on someone’s property does not mean the landowner is responsible for paying you for the injuries you incurred. I am sure it can be embarrassing to fall down and no one wants to get hurt and seek medical attention for fun. Just think about these scenarios:
- A roofer is hired to fix the top of your aging house and while jumping across the roof like a monkey, slips and falls to the ground, injuring themselves;
- Someone enters your home and trips over your bare hardwood floors for no apparent reason; and
- A shopper is pushing their cart down the aisle when one of their flip-flops comes off their feet causing them to stumble to their knees.
I would not take any of the above cases for the injured parties. They were simply harmed for no apparent reason or instigating factor. To have a slip and fall case there needs to be an element of notice to the landowner or the landowner must actually have created the harmful circumstance. Switch the cases around a bit and they would be worthy of pursuing further-
- A roofer is hired to fix the top of your aging house and while jumping across the roof like a monkey, slips and falls through a hole that had shingles placed over it when you noticed a leak but you failed to tell the roofer about your "quick fix";
- Someone enters your home and trips over the burly rug you have had for some time with all the corners ruffled over, that has caused you to trip over it once or twice already; and
- A shopper is pushing their cart down the aisle when they slip and fall in their flip flops because of all the water leaking from the ceiling/freezer/turned over product and there are no warning signs.
I would take a further look at the cases above. Again, just because you fall on someone’s property doesn’t mean they owe you money. They owe you money when you receive injuries because you harmed yourself when they knew about a dangerous condition, should have known about a dangerous condition, and/or created a dangerous condition and failed to forewarn you about the condition.
Feel free to run any scenario you want by myself or someone that does that type of law in your state. A simple test to ask yourself:
I would not have fallen down but for ________.
Who is responsible for that blank?