Slip-and-Fall Attorneys in South Carolina


When a person purchases property, especially for the sake of doing business, he or she undertakes certain responsibilities. Among them is keeping the property in reasonably safe condition for those who are permitted or invited to be there. The total of these responsibilities is known as premises liability.

Unfortunately, many times property owners fail to put in the time or resources necessary to maintain the property, leading to spinal cord injuries and other slip and fall injuries suffered by people who have come to the property to conduct business or merely pass through. The most common form of injury suffered as a result of fault maintenance is slip and fall injuries. Unfortunately, insurance companies, looking after their own bottom line, also try to cut corners by denying many slip-and-fall injury claims. To make sure you receive just compensation for your slip and fall injuries, you need a lawyer who understands slip and fall accidents and the complexities of a premises liability claim.

At McWhirter, Bellinger, & Associates, P.A., our slip-and-fall attorneys in South Carolina know that the cost of your injury can be very high, including:

  • Medical bills, both actual and projected for:
    • Hospitalization
    • Surgery
    • In-home care
    • Physical therapy
    • Occupational therapy
    • Severe injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries
  • Lost wages and/or vocational training if your injury prevents your return to your previous job
  • Pain and suffering

A personal injury attorney at McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates understands what it takes to win a personal injury lawsuit. We are prepared to actively pursue your premises liability case until we achieve the full measure of compensation to which you are entitled. Our slip and fall accident lawyers are prepared to fight on your behalf to hold property owners responsible for the dangerous conditions their properties remain in.

What To Do if You Fall in a Store

We have all heard horror stories about someone having a slip and fall accident on water, ice, grapes, a banana peel, and various other things while shopping in a store.  Many people believe that if you fall on someone else’s property that the property owners are automatically liable for any damages that are suffered as a result of the slip and fall accident.  However, for slip and fall accidents in South Carolina this is not the case. In order to recover for your fall injuries you must prove that the store is liable for your damages in order to have a compensable case.  Generally, if you fall in a store you must show one of two things in order to prove liability on the part of the store.  First, you can prove that the store or one its employees created an unreasonably dangerous situation that caused the fall and resulting injuries.  Or second, you can show that someone else created dangerous conditions that the store knew or should have known about but failed to fix within a reasonable time. With this in mind, here are a few tips to keep in mind if you or a loved one suffers a slip and fall accident in a store.

  1. First and foremost, if you need medical attention, seek it immediately.
  2. Report your fall to an employee of the store and make sure the incident is documented.
  3. Do your best to determine what caused you to fall.
  4. If possible, get pictures of the scene so that you can accurately document how it looked at the time of the incident.
  5. Talk to a store employee about filing a claim for your injuries.

How Do Slip-and-Fall Accidents Occur?

Slip-and-fall accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Here are some of the most common slip-and-fall accidents that occur in South Carolina:

  • Wet floors – Includes floors that are wet due to recently being cleaned or waxed or due to spills.
  • Uneven walking surfaces – Includes torn or bulging carpeting, loose floorboards/tiles, and other types of damaged floors.
  • Poorly constructed staircases – Stairs that are broken or have missing or loose handrails.
  • Inadequate lighting – When a place of business is not adequately lit inside and/or outside the building, falls are more likely to occur.
  • Hazardous outdoor terrain – Includes potholes, broken asphalt/sidewalks, icy/snowy entrances, and other hazardous conditions in the parking lot or on a path leading to the place of business.

It’s important to remember that business owners in South Carolina have a duty of care to anyone who has a legal right to be on their property. In other words, they have a responsibility to fix or remove dangerous conditions once receiving notice of the problem. 

There are two types of knowledge that owners can receive when it comes to dangerous conditions in South Carolina: actual knowledge and constructive knowledge.

Actual knowledge is when the owner is aware of the actual problem, while constructive knowledge refers to a problem the owner should have known about.

Examples of actual knowledge:

  • An employee states they were aware of a wet floor but failed to do anything about it
  • An employee mopped a floor but failed to put up a “wet floor” sign
  • An employee started to clean up a spill but got distracted, only cleaning up 50% of the spilled liquid

Examples of constructive knowledge:

  • Employees were near a spill site but failed to observe their surroundings as they were trained to do 
  • A spill was very obvious and should have been noticed by staff (such as a jar of red spaghetti sauce spilled on a white floor)
  • A customer slips on melted ice cream, suggesting a substantial amount of time likely passed between the spill and the fall, suggesting that staff had ample time to discover the spill 

Here are the most common injuries caused by slip-and-fall accidents: 

Slip-and-fall accidents can have lasting effects on a person’s physical health, as well as their emotional well-being. That’s why it’s important to seek medical attention right away if you experience a slip-and-fall accident. If you’re seriously injured, you’re advised to speak with a South Carolina personal injury lawyer who can listen to your story and advise you on your next steps. If you decide to file a claim, a skilled attorney will be able to accurately calculate what your case is worth, ensuring you don’t accept a lowball settlement offer from the other side’s insurance company.

What happens in a slip-and-fall lawsuit?

The first step in a personal injury claim is for the injured party to send a demand package to the other side’s insurance company for an amount which is deemed appropriate to cover the physical, financial, and emotional consequences of the slip-and-fall accident. It is common for both sides to go back and forth many times before they agree to a sum. 

Reaching a fair settlement with the other side without going to court is always the top priority. This saves time, stress, and money for both sides, and can allow the injured party to move on from the traumatic event sooner rather than later. Most slip-and-fall claims do get resolved without going to court.

However, an agreement cannot always be reached this way. If this is the case, a lawsuit will be filed. Once the other side has received notice of the lawsuit and submitted their answer, the discovery phase begins. During this period, both sides seek to discover information from one another which can help build their respective arguments. 

The next step is depositions, or legal interviews under oath. Both sides will have an opportunity to ask questions to the relevant parties. Slip-and-fall victims can expect to be asked what exactly happened in the moments leading up to the fall and after the fall, as well as questions about their injuries, pre-existing conditions, and current limitations posed by their injury. The plaintiff’s attorney will ask their own set of questions to determine why the slip-and-fall accident was allowed to occur and who is responsible. 

After the depositions have been completed, both sides may enter into mediation, which involves going back and forth in negotiations through a third-party attorney (the mediator).

If the two sides can’t reach an agreement in mediation, the next step is to go to trial. If your case heads to trial, your attorney will represent you in front of a jury. They will argue your case, present evidence, interview relevant parties and witnesses, and work to maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation for your slip-and-fall injury. Many cases still settle in the time between mediation and trial, or once a trial has started.

No one ever wants to go to trial, but it’s sometimes necessary to achieve justice following a slip-and-fall injury. It’s important for victims to receive a fair amount following their injury, and not to settle for a low-ball offer. Slip-and-fall accident victims must also remember that any compensation must take future medical bills and disability into account, not just current expenses. A qualified South Carolina personal injury lawyer will be able to put a value on your case and will fight hard for you to receive that sum.

The process of reaching a settlement or a jury verdict can be a long one filled with red tape and mountains of paperwork. However, if you hire a personal injury attorney to represent you in your slip-and-fall case, they will take care of all the legal legwork so you can focus on your recovery. 

How do you prove negligence in a slip-and-fall case?

Negligence is defined as “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act.” 

Proving negligence in a South Carolina slip-and-fall case might seem like a straightforward task, but that isn’t always the case. You must remember that the defendant’s attorneys will try to claim the injury was your fault. For instance, they might try to imply you were running in a store when you shouldn’t have been, and that’s why you slipped. 

An experienced South Carolina slip-and-fall attorney will know exactly what to expect from the other side, and will utilize all available resources to argue that your actions were not to blame for the accident. This could include anything from surveillance footage to witness statements. 

In addition, a South Carolina personal injury attorney will investigate to see if the property owner or occupant had a system in place for regular cleaning, maintenance, repairs, removal of debris, etc. Through this research, your lawyer might uncover that there was not a plan in place to keep the premises safe. They may also find evidence of previous dangers, including complaints from other customers and inspection reports that highlight safety concerns.

Attorneys are great researchers, and the information they uncover through their investigation could be vital to proving that the property owner or occupant was indeed negligent, and that you are owed compensation for your injuries. 

Even if you are deemed partially to blame for your fall, you can still receive compensation. South Carolina is a “comparative negligence” state, which means you can receive compensation as long as you were less than 51% responsible for the accident. 

If you are found to be partially at fault for your fall, the amount of compensation you receive will be reduced. For example, if you were 20% to blame for your fall, and damages are set at $50,000, then you will receive 80% of the full award amount ($40,000). 

One of the biggest mistakes a slip-and-fall victim can make is to assume their case is an easy one because it’s obvious who the at-fault party is. But no matter how straightforward your case seems, you should never underestimate the power of the other side’s attorneys. They are representing the other side’s insurance company, and they are not on your side. They will try to place blame on you and try to “catch you” saying the wrong thing so they can use your words against you.

Hiring a South Carolina personal injury lawyer can be extremely worthwhile. They will take care of all communication with the other side and will use their vast knowledge and experience to build the strongest case possible for you, putting a value on your economic and non-economic damages. Most slip-and-fall lawyers also work on a contingency basis, which means you’ll pay nothing unless they help secure money for you. 

Is it hard to sue for a slip-and-fall accident?

Suing after a slip-and-fall accident can be an intimidating process for those without a legal background. In addition to making sure the proper paperwork is filed on time and correctly, you will need to make sure everything is taken care of before the statute of limitations expires. It’s a lot to handle, especially when you’re focusing on recovering from your injuries. 

If you choose to hire a South Carolina slip-and-fall lawyer, they will make sure your lawsuit is filed within the statute of limitations. In South Carolina, slip-and-fall victims typically have three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit, or two years if the defendant is a state entity. 

The ultimate goal is to settle outside of court, but if necessary, your lawyer will take your case in front of a jury. They will take care of preparing the complaint and summons, and filing them with the proper court. 

A complaint is a short statement of the facts and the legal justification for the lawsuit. Meanwhile, a summons is a legal document that informs the defendant that they’re being sued and provides instructions for responding to the lawsuit. Your lawyer will make sure the complaint and summons comply with the South Carolina Civil Court Rules and the local rules of the court in which you’re filing the lawsuit. 

An important part of a lawsuit is being patient. You will spend a large amount of time waiting for the defendant to answer your complaint. They will either respond to each of your allegations and admit or deny each one, or state that they neither admit nor deny the allegations. They can also file a motion to dismiss. 

During this time of waiting, your lawyer will work tirelessly to build the strongest case possible for you. They will be able to anticipate all the tricks the other side will try, and adjust their strategy accordingly. 

Remember, trials are not for the faint of heart and you are not advised to represent yourself in court against the other side’s powerful and experienced lawyers. Personal injury lawyers represent slip-and-fall accident victims for a living, and will bring their experience and skill with them to the courtroom. 

When you hire a personal injury lawyer you trust, you can hand all the legal obligations over to them, knowing that they are looking out for your best interest. This not only alleviates a great deal of stress, but also allows you to focus on getting better.

What Must You Prove to Win a Slip-and-Fall Injury Claim?

What must you prove to win a slip-and-fall injury claim?

Slip-and-fall cases aren’t as straightforward as they might seem. Even if a fall left you seriously injured, and even if the entire fall was caught on security footage or seen by witnesses, you would still have to establish negligence in order to be eligible to receive compensation. 

The first thing a person must do when determining if a property owner’s negligence caused a slip-and-fall accident is to investigate whether they owed a duty of care to the person who fell. 

Duty of care

Duty of care is usually easy to prove, as South Carolina law states that property owners owe a duty of care to anyone on their premises who has the right to be there. 

In other words, a customer in a store, a patient at a doctor’s office, a guest in a hotel, or any other visitor to an establishment who isn’t a trespasser is typically owed a duty of care by the property owner. This means the owner has a responsibility to keep the property safe and to warn visitors of dangers whenever unsafe conditions exist. 

Breach of duty

Once it has been determined that the property owner owed you a duty of care, you must establish that the duty of care was breached as a result of the owner’s negligence.

The duty of care can be breached in any number of ways, but here are some examples of negligence that are commonly seen in South Carolina:

  • Failure to clean up a spill
  • Failure to fix or replace torn carpet, tile, or wood
  • Failure to install or maintain handrails
  • Failure to maintain safe parking lot conditions
  • Failure to properly light the premises
  • Failure to remove obstructions from the floor or ground

Again, these are just a few common examples. If you’ve been seriously injured on someone else’s property due to a reason listed above or any other reason, you should seek a consultation with a South Carolina slip-and-fall lawyer. 

A personal injury attorney will work hard to determine the answers to the following questions in order to build the strongest case possible:

  • What caused your fall?
  • How long had the danger existed?
  • Was the property owner or manager aware of the danger? Should they have been?
  • Was the danger clearly marked with a sign or in another obvious way?

A South Carolina personal injury attorney will also work to gather the following information which can help strengthen your case:

  • Emails or texts which prove the owner or manager knew about the fall hazard
  • Evidence obtained from the scene of the fall 
  • Photos or videos taken by you or witnesses at the scene
  • Property maintenance records
  • Surveillance footage
  • Witness statements

What Should You Look For After A Fall?

You might know that you’ve been seriously hurt and require medical attention immediately after a fall. However, it’s also possible that you won’t feel pain right away – but that doesn’t necessarily mean you haven’t been injured.

Some injuries and types of pain can simply take more time to become apparent. That’s why it’s important to carefully observe any new symptoms that might appear after you have fallen.

Traumatic Head Injuriesand Concussions

These are common when a person hits their head during a fall. 

Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with traumatic head injuries:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling disoriented
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Sensitivity to light and/or sound
  • Speech problems
  • Vision changes

Spinal Cord Injury

Another extremely serious injury that can result from a fall is spinal cord injury. This type of injury can even lead to paralysis. 
See a doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms associated with spinal cord injury:

  • Head tilted in an unnatural way
  • Headache
  • Inability to move arms or legs
  • Inability to walk
  • Loss of bladder and/or bowel control
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers and/or toes
  • Pain, pressure and/or stiffness in the back or neck

Broken Bones

Broken bones are also very common after a fall. Here are some signs that you might have a broken bone:

  • Bone has shifted from its normal position
  • Bruising, swelling, tenderness, or numbness at the injured area
  • Grinding sound when you move the affected area
  • Pain at the injured area
  • Snapping sound occurred when the injury happened
  • Worsened pain when you touch or press the affected area

Sprains and Strains

These types of injuries happen a lot as a result of a fall, largely due to the fact that fall victims often put their arms out to catch themselves or twist their body in an unnatural way to try to lessen the impact of the fall. These types of injuries can be painful, and can also cause torn ligaments and stretched tendons. 

Here are some signs you might have a strain or sprain:

  • Bruising at the site
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain at the site

Hip Fractures

A broken hip can lead to serious disability if not dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner. 

Here are some signs that you may have a hip fracture:

  • Bruising and swelling in the hip area
  • Inability to stand
  • Inability to walk
  • One leg shorter than the other on the injured side
  • One leg turning outward on the injured side
  • Severe pain in the hip region
  • Unable to put weight on one side of your hip

Knee Injuries

It’s natural for a person who is in the midst of a fall to use their knees to break the fall. However, this instinct can lead to serious knee injury. 

Here are some signs that you might have a knee injury:

  • Bruising on the knees
  • Inability to straighten the knee
  • Instability or weakness when standing
  • Knees that are red
  • Knees that are warm to the touch
  • Popping, clicking, or grinding noises around the knees
  • Stiff knees
  • Swelling around the knees

Tailbone Injuries

It’s uncommon for tailbones to be broken during a fall, although it is certainly possible. A tailbone is more likely to be injured but not fractured.

Here are some things to look out for when it comes to tailbone injuries:

  • Swelling and/or bruising around the bottom of the spine
  • Pain or numbness when sitting
  • Pain or tenderness in the lower back and/or upper buttocks area

Dislocated Shoulder

Shoulder dislocations can also happen as a result of a fall. 

Here are the common signs of a shoulder dislocation:

  • Inability to move the shoulder or use the injured arm to lift weight
  • Muscle spasms
  • Shoulder seems out of place from its usual position
  • Tingling, weakness, or numbness in the arm or neck 

Cuts and Bruises

Cuts and bruises might seem minor, but they can also signal that something more serious is going on beneath the skin. For instance, a nasty bruise could be a sign of internal bleeding, or a laceration could mean you need a tetanus shot right away. 

Be sure to take plenty of photos of any bruising, swelling, or scarring. It is best to take pictures daily as the healing process takes place.

Causation & Harm

Slip-and-fall victims must also be able to demonstrate that the property owner’s breach of duty caused their injury and losses, which is known as “causation.” However, insurance companies will look for any reason to claim your injury wasn’t caused by the defendant’s negligence. For instance, if you had a back problem in the past that was corrected with surgery and is no longer an issue, they will likely still claim that your pre-existing condition is why your back hurts – even if you fell flat on your back due to a spill at a retail store. Your lawyer will go head-to-head with the other side’s insurance company, fiercely negotiating for you and speaking to doctors and medical experts when necessary.

The last thing the plaintiff must prove is that actual harm (physical, financial, and/or emotional) resulted from the property owner’s negligence. If all of the above requirements are met, a person can be eligible for compensation. However, getting to that point can be a long and complicated process, so it’s best to hire a South Carolina slip-and-fall lawyer to represent you.

If you have suffered a slip-and-fall injury due to a property owner’s negligence, please contact the experienced slip and fall accident lawyers in South Carolina at McWhirter, Bellinger, & Associates, P.A., today for a free initial consultation. South Carolina law puts strict deadlines on filing cases related to your injury. If you wait, it may be too late!

With offices in Aiken, Camden, Columbia, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg, and Sumter, South Carolina, our personal injury lawyers are ready to serve you.

For immediate help, call today at 888-353-5513.