South Carolina has two distinct types of liability cases: personal liability and premises liability. The pair are often mistaken as interchangeable, but each has its unique characteristics.
What is premises liability?
Premises liability requires property occupiers and owners to “exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.” The edict covers any incident occurring on a property or business that leads to injury.
A classic example is a slip and fall. You slip on packed ice in front of a supermarket or a wet floor at the gas station, and you break an arm. The business can be legally held accountable. If the property owner takes precautions, such as putting out signs or condoning off the area, liability may be hard to prove.
What is personal liability?
Personal liability means that a person, company or agency is at fault for an injury. South Carolinians have a responsibility or duty of care to prevent harm. Failing in that duty and causing an injury puts that person or entity at legal risk.
Injured parties can file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If there’s no settlement or the injured finds the settlement insufficient, the matter can end up in court.
Understanding the difference
Is personal liability the same as premises liability? No, but they can lead to the same thing: legal entanglement.
Personal liability is about the actions of the property owner, employees, service providers, etc. Premises liability encompasses claims of a property owner’s failure to maintain safe conditions.
Property owners need to clear their properties of hazards and fix or clearly identify dangers within reasonable amounts of time. If you do find yourself involved in these matters, you have to prove you did everything possible to avoid the accident.