When is a Company Liable for Personal Injury?

Many personal injury cases only involve individuals. For example, most car accident cases involve individual drivers in their own vehicles, and any claims asserted are between an injured person and a negligent driver. In some cases, however, a company can be liable for a person’s injuries. When this occurs, injured victims can often assert claims against the company for their accident-related losses.

Often, personal injury claims against companies are more complicated as they are ready to defend against liability as a drop of a hat. In addition, in some cases, a company admitting liability for an incident may mean much broader liability for anyone that has been injured in a similar incident. For this reason, it can be more difficult for victims to recover compensation from companies. That said, companies often have more robust insurance policies and are willing to settle cases for more, resulting in greater recovery for individuals.

Below are some of the more common situations in which companies can be held liable for personal injuries. To learn more or to discuss your case with a South Carolina personal injury attorney, call our office today.

Injuries Caused by Defective Products

In our modern world, most of the products that we interact with on a daily basis are made by companies. From your coffee maker to your vehicle, you count on the products around you to work as intended and not expose you to an unreasonable risk of injury. Unfortunately, this does not always happen, and every year thousands of people are injured by defective products. When this occurs, victims can often recover compensation from the product manufacturer or the retailer that sold them the product. Some common products that can cause injuries when defective include:

  • Cars, trucks, and motorcycles
  • Toys
  • Baby products
  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Household appliances
  • Electronics
  • Recreational and sports equipment
  • Power tools
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Cosmetics

Typically, product liability cases fall into one of three categories: those involving design defects, those involving manufacturing defects, and those involving marketing defects. The best way to determine whether you have a claim is to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer in South Carolina. 

Premises Liability

Businesses that open their doors to the public have a duty to keep their premises safe. For example, when you go to the grocery store, you expect the floors to be free from liquid spills or hidden tripping hazards. The same is true when you go to the mall, your doctor’s office, the gas station, the library, or anywhere else open to the public. Premises liability accidents can take a variety of forms, including:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Elevator accidents
  • Escalator accidents
  • Toxic exposure
  • Explosions or fires
  • Negligent security
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Gym accidents
  • Getting hit by falling accidents
  • Theme park accidents

Vicarious Liability for the Acts of their Employees

Companies can often be held vicariously liable for the negligent or otherwise tortious acts of their employees through a legal doctrine known as respondeat superior. Under this doctrine, employers are liable for the tortious acts of their employees that occur while the employee is performing duties within the scope of his or her employment. For example, if an employee delivery driver caused an accident in which you were injured while he or she was on a delivery run, the driver’s employer could likely be held liable for your injuries. On the other hand, if the delivery driver caused an accident on his or her way home from work, the driver would likely be personally liable for any losses you sustained rather than his or her employer.

Protecting Your Rights after an Injury-Causing Accident

If you are injured in an accident and you believe a company may be liable, there are certain steps you should take to protect your rights

Submit an Incident Report, if Appropriate

Businesses that are open to the public should have incident report forms that victims can fill out. You should be sure to request one, fill it out, and submit it to the manager of the business in which your accident took place. You should be sure that your incident report contains the date and time of your incident, your name, and a description of your accident and your injuries.

Collect Evidence Related to Your Accident

Whenever possible, you should collect evidence related to your accident. For example, if your accident was a car accident, request a copy of the police report and take pictures of the damage to your vehicle. Similarly, if your accident was caused by a defective product, on the other hand, keep the product, it’s packaging, and any documentation that came with it.

Seek Medical Attention

You should seek medical attention, even if you do not think your injuries are very serious. It’s important to establish documentation of your injuries, and seeing a physician for an evaluation will accomplish this goal. In addition, follow all of your doctor’s treatment recommendations and attend all follow-up appointments.

Do Not Accept a Settlement Before Talking to a Lawyer

You may receive a settlement offer shortly after your accident from the business that was at fault for your accident or its insurance company. It’s imperative that you do not accept a settlement prior to speaking to an attorney. Initial offers are almost always far below the actual value of a case, and once you accept a settlement, it’s next to impossible to obtain additional compensation for your losses.

Retain an Attorney as Soon as Possible

You should retain a lawyer as soon as you can after an accident for which a company may be liable. Businesses often try to avoid liability aggressively and may even take steps to discredit your story and undermine your case. In addition, waiting to start an investigation can result in the loss or destruction of evidence that you need to establish liability. Once you are represented by counsel, however, your lawyer can protect your rights and seek any evidence that is favorable to your case.

Call Us Today for a Consultation with a South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another person, there’s a good chance that you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. We have decades of experience representing the rights of the injured and will review the facts of your case at no cost to you. In fact, we will only collect legal fees if we successfully obtain compensation on your behalf.

To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our lawyers, call us today at 864-388-9100 or contact us online.

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