The term slip and fall or trip and fall relates to an injury that occurs when someone trips, slips, or falls as a result of a dangerous condition on another individual’s or company’s property. This includes falls as a result of water, ice and snow, as well as any quick changes in flooring levels, lighting, or other hazards (such as holes or weak flooring). If you are on another individual’s property and you sustain an injury due to one of these dangerous conditions, the owner of that property or business may be liable for your personal injuries.
Who is Considered Liable for My Slip and Fall Personal Injury in Georgia?
Property owners are responsible for the injuries that occur as a result of hazardous conditions on their property if they were knowledgeable or should have known about the condition. Some of these dangerous conditions are obvious, such as a broken staircase. Other hazards can be less apparent, such as a slippery floor. The floor may look normal but could be extremely slick. Generally, the owner will be presumed to have knowledge of a hazardous condition if it is permanent in nature. An example of this would be tile flooring that has uneven levels that make it likely for a person who is unaware of this issue to trip.
Since the owner knew about the condition or should have known about it before an accident could take place, the owner would be liable for any injuries suffered from the slip and fall. There are exceptions to this rule, however. For example, if one person slips on a wet floor and shortly after, someone else slips, as well, then the property owner may not be liable for the second fall because they did not have an opportunity to rectify the problem before the accident occurred.
As you can see, there can be a lot of grey areas when dealing with a slip and fall accident. This is why it is in your best interest to speak to a professional personal injury lawyer about the specifics of your situation. Our personal injury attorneys at Cain Injury Law will be able to help you decide how strong of a claim you have and your chances of receiving proper compensation.
What Should I Do After I Have a Georgia Slip and Fall Accident?
Immediately following your accident, you should see your primary care doctor or physician. Your injuries could be more serious than you believe and with a medical report from a doctor, you can take the first step toward filing a claim against the negligent property owner.
As mentioned above, speaking with a skilled personal injury lawyer will help you to determine if you have a legitimate claim against the property owner. Ground and floor conditions may change or be changed following your accident, which is why you should try to preserve or record the condition that caused your injuries as soon as possible after the incident. Remember, the property owner has no obligation to preserve the accident site. Photograph or video the site where you fell as quickly as possible. Also write down any witnesses that were present and get their information. They may be helpful later when going over your claim or case.
If your fall occurred in a business, speak to a supervisor or manager and have them record the accident and get a copy of that incident report. Also, if you happen to hear an employee or another patron mention that accidents or injuries have occurred before yours, jot down that person or employee’s name.
Most slip and fall cases within the state of Georgia have a statute of limitations of two years from the injury date. However, there are certain instances where this can be as short as one year. Georgia requires that notice be given to certain types of landowners within 180 days from your injury date. If you fail to give the required notice or file a claim within the proper time constraints, you will lose your ability to recover compensation from the property owner.
Advice from a Georgia Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer
An insurance claims adjuster will likely contact you and ask for your statement. Though you may be asked, you should never give or sign any statements regarding the incident after your slip and fall until you speak with your Georgia personal injury attorney.
Claims adjusters may attempt to get you to admit some fault for the fall and also get you to minimize your pain or the extent of your injuries. Remember to be wise with your words. Taking any responsibility for the fall may weaken your claim. Refrain from making comments like, “these shoes are so slick” or “I am so clumsy all the time”. These innocent comments can really get you into trouble later on.
In addition, if you do give a statement and it turns out to be incorrect in any way, you may be legally bound by it. A competent personal injury attorney will be able to advise you prior to speaking with the adjuster and help you better understand your legal rights. If you have already given a statement, always get a copy for yourself.
How Do I Prove Fault for My Georgia Personal Injury Case?
While all cases are different, most cases will need some basic evidence to prove your claim is legitimate. Photographs of the scene depicting the condition of the floors and multiple witnesses to the accident or the hazardous condition are important in proving your claim.
If the fall occurred in a business establishment, a copy of the incident report will be needed. You will need documentation and proof of the injuries you sustained. This includes any medical records or hospital bills. Also, if the business has had other patrons fall due to the same dangerous floor conditions, any documentation of previous those incidents will be helpful. Some cases require an expert witness who can evaluate the condition of the floors and testify how they could have led to your slip and fall based on their professional training and experience.
While a few slip and fall cases can be handled on your own, most require the legal expertise of an accomplished personal injury attorney. Slip and fall cases can be complex and difficult to win in court. Attorneys that have experience with these type of cases can help you to assess your specific case, deal with the property owner or their insurance provider, and can prepare your case for ether settlement or trial.
What Damages Can I Collect After a Slip and Fall?
After your fall, you may have medical expenses for your personal injuries. Through a settlement or a trial, you can seek these damages from the property owner so that you can have the compensation you need to cover the cost of your recovery. An injured victim of a slip and fall case can also recover lost income for their time missed at work due to their injuries. If one’s clothing or shoes were damaged due to the accident, then the fair value of those garments can be awarded to the injured individual. There can also be compensation for pain and suffering as a result of the incident. In certain cases, punitive damages may be available, although this is a very unusual occurrence.
Seek Legal Counsel from a Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer Today
The complex litigation process of a slip and fall case can be a difficult task to take on alone. It is in your best interests to obtain proper legal counsel and hire a professional personal injury attorney.
At Cain Injury Law, our Georgia personal injury lawyers will protect your legal rights and fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our experienced legal team takes pride in helping each and everyone of our clients throughout the entire legal process. The staff at Cain Injury Law always takes a personalized approach to each of our client’s cases. We understand that no two cases are exactly alike and we use all of the resources available to us to make your case as strong as it can be. If you recently have suffered a slip and fall and would like to discuss your case, please call our office today for a free consultation.