Personal injuries in public places are largely dependent on the particulars of the individual case. There are many cases where the injured party is actually responsible for the accident, so merely getting injured on a specific property is not an automatic injury claim, even if it is a public place. However, there are also instances when a personal injury occurs due to the negligence of the owner. It is important to understand that injury claims must include a component of negligence in most cases. The injured party can easily be determined by a court to have a degree of assumed risk with any activity, so the rules of evidence are important in all injury cases.
Many businesses are private property doing business with the public. This is still a public arena. Private ownership continually puts the business or owner in a situation of reasonable duty of care. Injury claims are always assessed on reasonable duty of care according to a preponderance of the evidence. The burden of proof in a civil claim is always preponderance of the evidence, with the evidence for and against being “weighed” by the court of jurisdiction in a 51%-49% rule for a court decision. This is generally a comparison of negligence versus risk assumption. Negligence is always a component of a valid personal injury claim on some level, but some negligence levels are not absolute. Reasonable assumption of risk on the part of the injured party is present in almost every personal injury situation, even when the injury occurs on private property at a public business, such as a restaurant. The aid of personal injury lawyers in Charleston SC or of any state will be able to access your personal situation and determine whether or not you have a valid legal claim due to negligence of the business owner.
Private property personal injury claims can be handled by an insurance company if the negligent party does not contest an injury claim, but normally claims for personal injuries suffered on private property will require an initial legal filing at a minimum. However, injuries sustained on public property are different because they often only include the government on some level. Many public agencies have a standard injury reporting protocol, so it is important to understand who the actual respondent will be. An example of this situation is an injury in a subway system. Though the actual responsible party is a quasi-government agency, the process for filing an injury claim is a standard procedure and often does not require filing suit.
Minor injuries such as sprained ankles or wrists are common occurrences on any property. Severe injuries are much more serious, obviously, and tend to be prevalent in most personal injury cases. These claims are often protected by business insurance, so the respondent will include an insurance company as well as a private business operator. Minor injuries are not always highly contested, as small claims are part of the cost of doing business. Uncommon injuries are severe and will always require court adjudication if they include any potential for punitive damages.
Insurance companies are usually only responsible for compensatory damages and always have a coverage maximum. Injuries that occur because of egregious or gross negligence can carry a punitive damage award from a jury, so all respondents will be open to claim settlement outside of court in these potentially business-ending situations. There are many injury situations that have a component of both private and public property. Businesses are routinely located in connection to public property and the potential for multiple respondents is always possible. That is why it is important to confer with or retain an experienced personal injury attorney to address any claim situation, regardless of court action requirement.
Kelly Dennie is a realtor and freelance writer. Howell and Christmas, LLC, lawyers in Charleston SC, understand that life may never be the same if your severe injury is due to negligence on behalf of someone else. Severe, even minor, injuries could cause financial hardship because of mounting medical bills, property damage, and possibly an inability to go back to work. A legal advocate could help you protect your rights and possibly recover full monetary compensation for your injuries.