When a slip and fall happens on another person’s property, the accident victim may sustain serious injuries. The injured person can file a claim against the property owner to secure compensation for losses.
Slip and fall claims may be common personal injury cases in Georgia, but that does not mean they are simple. Not everyone can file a slip and fall claim, even when an injury occurs. An accident victim must prove that the property owner is responsible for any injuries. This may be difficult to do, especially when the victim is recovering from serious injuries.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall, speak to a Georgia slip and fall lawyer before filing a claim. Call Cain Injury Law today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Slip and Fall Claim?
When you have been hurt in a slip and fall, you must prove each element of the claim to secure the compensation you deserve.
- You must show that the property owner had a duty of care to keep visitors safe.
- You must prove that the property owner failed in that duty.
- You must show that you sustained injuries as a result.
According to the Georgia Supreme Court, maintaining property and keeping it in a safe condition includes:
- Keeping the property in a reasonably safe condition that does not expose visitors to unreasonable risk.
- Maintaining the property so that a visitor could use the property in a reasonable manner and remain safe.
- Inspecting the property for potential dangers.
Property owners have a duty to keep property in a safe condition. That includes approaches to the property, such as ramps, stairs, driveways, parking lots and sidewalks.
To prove that the property owner breached that duty, you must prove the owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard that caused injury.
- Actual knowledge is something that the property owner actually sees or knows is present on the property. Actual knowledge occurs if someone tells the owner of the hazard, or the owner learns of it on his or her own.
- Constructive knowledge refers to something the property owner should have known. For example, if the hazard was present for a long time, the property owner should have known about it and repaired it.
In most slip and fall cases, you must prove that you did not know, or could not have known, about the hazard. This does not mean that you must inspect the entire area every time you are on another person’s property. It simply means that if the hazard was open, obvious or in plain view, the property owner may not be liable for the accident. The issue is whether a reasonable person would have seen the hazard and been able to avoid it.
How Can a Georgia Slip and Fall Attorney Help?
After a slip and fall accident, you may think about filing a claim without the help of an attorney. However, a lawyer can help in many ways:
- Investigating the accident – To succeed with your slip and fall claim, you must prove that the property owner was at fault and, therefore, liable for your injuries. This is often a difficult step for accident victims, particularly as they recover from serious injuries. A lawyer can help by conducting an investigation to prove that the property owner knew, or should have known, about the dangerous condition.
- Collecting evidence – Collecting evidence that will prove your claim is difficult when you are trying to get better. An attorney will know what evidence to collect, such as footage from video surveillance, and will know how and where to obtain it.
- Evaluating your claim – Many types of damages are available in a slip and fall claim. Some of these damages, such as medical expenses, are easy to calculate. Others, such as pain and suffering, are not. A lawyer will know how to fully evaluate your claim to make certain you get all the compensation you deserve.
- Dealing with the insurance company – Insurance companies are not your friend. They do not want to pay the full amount of compensation you deserve. Insurance adjustors will try to reduce or deny your claim in order to keep their profits. An attorney will know what strategies the insurance company uses. The attorney knows how to hold the insurance company accountable for paying the compensation you deserve.
Throughout the entire claims process, an attorney will act as your advocate and ensure your best interests are always protected.
Compensation Available in a Slip and Fall Settlement
The compensation, or damages, awarded in a slip and fall case will depend on the specific facts. Common types of damages include:
- Medical expenses – Medical costs include doctor’s visits, hospital bills, emergency room costs, prescription costs, surgeries, and any other expenses.
- Loss of income – If you have to miss work due to the injuries from the slip and fall accident, you can include your lost income, bonuses and benefits in your claim.
- Loss of earning capacity – When you cannot return to the same line of work and earn the same wage as you did before the accident, you can claim the loss of earnings.
- Pain and suffering – The injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident can be painful and cause great suffering. Although these losses are not easily quantifiable, they should be included in a claim.
- Permanent disability – Many of the injuries sustained during a slip and fall are fairly minor, but that is not always the case. When these accidents result in permanent disability, these losses can also be included in a claim.
The list includes the common damages in slip and fall claims. After reviewing your case, an attorney can advise on what damages are available and work to get you the compensation you deserve.