When you enter onto someone else’s property, you have a certain expectation to be safe while you’re visiting. Property owners and managers have a duty to make sure their property is free of hazards that can cause injury. When injuries do happen because there was a hazard on a property, the owner or manager can be held liable.
Hazards come in many shapes and forms. There may be a puddle of water in a store that causes someone to slip and fall , a visitor to a property may be bitten by a dog , or a visitor to an amusement park could get hurt due to unsturdy railing. No matter the cause, hazards on a property that aren’t addressed properly are the cause of thousands of lawsuits every year.
At Auger & Auger, our experienced premises liability attorneys understand how stressful life becomes after you have been injured. You may be facing mountains of medical bills and other expenses, you might be unable to work, and your injury could cause you to not be able to enjoy life as you once did. Our lawyers are here to make sure you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
We’re always here to talk with you, even on weekends and holidays. Give us a call at (800) 559-5741 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation today.
The legal team at Auger and Auger has represented victims of premises liability injuries for over 26 years. In that time, we’ve seen cases worth thousands, and cases worth millions. But to determine how much your specific case is worth, we have to review the details of it and evaluate what types of compensation, or damages, you may be entitled to.
Compensatory damages are generally divided into two categories: economic and noneconomic. As the name suggests, economic damages are intended to compensate you for the monetary (economic) losses you suffered because of an injury. These include medical bills, both past and present; lost wages; out-of-pocket expenses; property damage; and more. Economic damages are typically proven by receipts, invoices and other physical evidence.
Noneconomic damages, on the other hand, compensate you for losses that have nothing to do with money. These are more intangible losses, and premises liability attorneys often call on psychologists and other experts to prove you suffered such losses. Noneconomic damages may include pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, and more.
In rare instances, punitive damages may also be assessed. These damages are intended to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future. In North Carolina, punitive damages may only be awarded in instances of fraud, malice or willful or wanton conduct. Punitive damages are capped at three times the amount of compensatory damages, or $250,000, whichever is greater.
In South Carolina, punitive damages are only awarded if it’s proven the defendant’s actions constitute “willful, wanton, or reckless conduct.” Punitive damages are generally capped at three times the amount of compensatory damages, or $500,000, whichever is greater. However, there are exceptions that may allow you to recover greater punitive damages.
There are three general types of visitors that may enter a property. Each one is granted different levels of protection under state law. North Carolina and South Carolina may have small nuanced differences in these protections, but they are similar enough to be grouped together. The three different visitors to a property include:
As you may know, trespassers are those who enter a property illegally or without permission. However, they may also include people who enter area of a property that are off-limits. For instance, someone may enter a store lawfully, but if they enter an employees-only area, they are now trespassing. Property owners have a general duty to not intentionally cause harm to trespassers.
Licensees are people who are allowed to be on a property, but aren’t there for the property owner’s financial gain. Examples of licensees include house party guests, delivery drivers, people passing through a store to get to another one, repairmen, and more. Property owners typically have to take reasonable steps to either eliminate or cordon off hazards that could cause injury to licensees.
Invitees are the group that are granted the most protection. They are on the property for the financial gain of the owner or manager. Invitees can include shoppers in a retail store, people visiting an amusement park, visitors to a library, and more. Property owners and managers have an express duty to examine their property for hazards and either eliminate them or put out clear warning signs of the danger.
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, there will likely be a legal process before you get the full compensation you deserve. The property owner or manager will have their own team of lawyers that will do everything they can to prove you caused your own injuries, and therefore don’t deserve any sort of settlement. In addition, the insurance company that covers the property will do what they can to pay out as little as they can.
At Auger & Auger, we know these tricks, and we have over 26 years of fighting against them on behalf of our clients. We encourage anyone who has received any sort of settlement offer to contact us as soon as possible. Once you accept the settlement offer, you forfeit the right to file a lawsuit for greater compensation.
Our premises liability lawyers are always here to help. We never charge a dime unless we win your case. Give us a call at (800) 559-5741 or contact us online for your free, no-obligation consultation.