Legal Options in Wrongful Death Cases
Between 1921 and 1923, the life expectancy rate dropped, because of the Spanish Flu epidemic. Between 2020 and 2022, the life expectancy rate dropped almost as sharply, partially due to the coronavirus pandemic. Increased drug overdose deaths, mostly heroin and fentanyl, also contributed to the decline. Pain pill overuse, mostly because manufacturers made such strong pills and doctors wrote so many prescriptions, caused most of these overdose deaths.
As outlined below, negligent property owners could be financially responsible for damages in these cases. These damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. A Columbia personal injury lawyer can also obtain additional punitive damages, in many situations.
Negligent Property Owner
In South Carolina, all property owners have a duty of care to keep all guests safe. The extent of the duty depends on the owner/victim relationship, as follows:
- Invitee: Owners have a duty of reasonable care if the victim was an invited commercial or social guest. Owners must remove injury hazards. Simply warning people about these hazards (e.g. a “Caution Wet Floor” sign) is insufficient.
- Licensee: Warnings are sufficient if the victim was a licensee. Owners allow these individuals to be on their property, but owners don’t benefit. Guests of hotel guests are licensees.
- Trespasser: Unless the victim was a child, a very limited duty of care protects trespassers (no permission and no duty). The attractive nuisance doctrine might be the most common child trespasser exception.
A Columbia personal injury lawyer must also prove the owner knew about, or should have known about, the injury-causing hazard.
The duty of reasonable care includes proper sanitation and, if applicable, social distancing or other requirements. Government regulations, like CDC orders, usually establish the standard of care in these situations. Owners must strictly adhere to the rules. They cannot allow exceptions.
Owners must also provide reasonable security. What’s “reasonable” depends on a number of factors, such as the location of the business, type of business, area’s crime rate, and similar crimes at that location. The issue might be inadequate level of security, such as unarmed guards when armed guards are necessary, or security lapses, like broken gates and burned-out lights.
Falls might be the most common, and most dangerous, premises liability hazard. Falls are especially dangerous for people with pre-existing conditions. Common fall hazards include uneven walkways, loose handrails, and wet floors.
Negligent owners often substantially cause overdose deaths. Owners cannot look the other way if they know people are abusing drugs on their property.
Similarly, most drivers have a duty of reasonable care in most situations. They must drive defensively and avoid accidents if possible.
If a breach of duty causes injury, a Columbia personal injury lawyer can obtain compensation, as outlined above. Common beaches include impaired driving, like driving while fatigued, and aggressive driving, like tailgating.
Third parties are often financially responsible for car crash damages. For example, if an owner knowingly allows an incompetent driver to use his/her car, and that incompetent driver causes a crash, the owner must pay damages.
Count on a Hard-Working Richland County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Columbia, contact the Marc Brown Law Firm. We routinely handle matters throughout the Palmetto State.