South Carolina’s Duty of Care: What Property Owners Owe to Visitors and Guests

In South Carolina, property owners have a legal obligation to maintain a safe environment for visitors and guests on their premises. This duty of care extends to various types of properties, including residential homes, businesses, and public spaces. Let’s explore what property owners owe to visitors and guests under South Carolina law:

Duty to Maintain Safe Conditions

Property owners are responsible for keeping their premises reasonably safe for visitors and guests. This includes addressing hazards such as slippery floors, uneven walkways, defective stairs, and inadequate lighting. Property owners must regularly inspect their premises for potential dangers and take prompt action to remedy any hazards that could cause harm to visitors.

Warning of Known Hazards

In situations where a property owner is aware of a hazardous condition but cannot immediately fix it, they have a duty to warn visitors of the potential danger. This may involve posting warning signs, cordoning off the hazardous area, or verbally alerting visitors to the risk. Failure to provide adequate warning of known hazards can result in liability for any injuries that occur as a result.

Responsibility for Third-Party Actions

Property owners may also be held liable for injuries caused by the actions of third parties on their premises, such as criminal activity or assaults. While property owners cannot control the actions of others, they have a duty to take reasonable measures to prevent foreseeable harm. This may include providing adequate security measures, such as lighting, surveillance cameras, and security personnel, to deter criminal activity.

Special Considerations for Business Owners

Business owners, in particular, have a heightened duty of care to ensure the safety of their customers and patrons. This includes maintaining safe premises, properly training employees to identify and address hazards, and conducting regular inspections to identify potential risks. Business owners may be held liable for injuries resulting from slip and fall accidents, negligent security, or other hazards on their property.

Comparative Negligence

South Carolina follows a modified comparative negligence system, which means that the legal responsibility for an accident may be divided among multiple parties based on their degree of fault. If a visitor’s own negligence contributes to their injuries—for example, by ignoring warning signs or engaging in reckless behavior—their compensation may be reduced accordingly. However, as long as the visitor’s fault does not exceed 50%, they may still recover damages for their injuries.

Seeking Legal Recourse

If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property due to their negligence or failure to maintain safe conditions, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. It’s essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can assess the circumstances of your case, determine liability, and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. An attorney can guide you through the legal process, negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, and represent your interests in court if necessary.


Property owners in South Carolina have a legal duty to maintain safe conditions for visitors and guests on their premises. By understanding their responsibilities under South Carolina’s duty of care laws, property owners can help prevent accidents and injuries on their property. If you’ve been injured due to a property owner’s negligence, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney who can help you protect your rights and pursue fair compensation for your injuries and losses.