Understanding Slip & Fall Law Suits in Georgia
The first thing to understand about slip and fall lawsuits is the concept of negligence. When a property owner fails to keep their property well-maintained, they are acting negligently. When injuries occur due to their negligence, they can be held financially liable for those injuries. If, however, your injuries were caused partially by your own actions or carelessness (if, for example, you were distracted by your cell phone or ignored a warning sign), your award for injuries and other damages may be lessened by the amount that you were comparatively at fault.
Have you ever stumbled over lose pavement as you walked to your car to get to work in the morning? Imagine, instead of stumbling, you trip over the loose pavement and break an arm. This is an example of what we call a slip and fall accident. If this slip and fall occur on property owned by someone, a company, or an organization; the property owner can be held liable for that injury, depending on certain conditions.
Property owners have a responsibility to keep their property safe for visitors. Safety responsibilities include keeping sidewalks, landscaped areas, and flooring well-maintained. This also means cleaning up spills, removing debris, clearing away ice and snow after a storm, fixing broken steps, handrails, gutters, and other areas that routinely need maintenance. Slip and Fall Law Suits are very common and are one of the most frequently filed Personal Injury Law Suits in Georgia.
When a property owner fails at maintaining any of these responsibilities and does not leave signs or warnings to indicate to visitors the possible dangers due to the hazardous situation(s) the property owner becomes legally responsible for the accident. This law is called ‘premises liability.
Remember when you fell and broke your arm tripping over that lose pavement? What this all means is that in scenarios like this, a lawsuit can be filed against the owner or entity due to their negligence. In turn, you can use the financial compensation to pay for any hospitals bills, doctor visits, loss of wages, and for pain and suffering caused by the slip and fall accident.
Premise liability in Georgia is a complex matter if you or someone you know has or is suffering from an incident like this you need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.
Property owners have a responsibility to keep their property well maintained. If they fail to do so, they are being negligent. Now, if an injury occurs to due to the hazardous situation the property owner can be held financially liable for the injury. Slip and Fall Law Suits can be complex because we must prove the property owner (entity) was aware of the possible danger and you were not distracted or aware.
That being said, you have to be prepared to answer the following questions in the Court of Law.
- · Did you have good reason to be on the property owner’s premises at the time of the accident?
- · Would a person of reasonable caution (if they weren’t distracted in any way) in the same situation have noticed and avoided the dangerous condition?
- · Did the property owner give warning of the dangerous condition that led to your slip and fall accident?
· Were you engaging in any activities that contributed to your slip and fall injury?
Most often, after slip and fall accidents, you will be asked these questions by the property owners insurance agency and opposing Attorney to determine if you were acting negligently. Your answers can affect the amount of your accident settlement.
In order to settle, that your accident was caused by the property owners negligence, Georgia’s premise liability laws require you to prove two things:
1. The property owner had knowledge of the hazardous condition or should have reasonably known about its existence
2. The injured victim was not aware of the dangerous condition (they could not see it in time and there were no signs posted)
The property owner or entity is given a reasonable amount of time to fix any hazardous conditions, this amount of time is determined by the judge and/or jury during the litigation or negotiations. It is a key responsibility of the property owner to post signs and/or keep visitors away from the hazardous conditions until they are fixed.
There are a variety of situations that can result in a slip and fall accident. Some of the most common are:
- Structural defects or improper maintenance/upkeep that leads to uneven steps, cracked sidewalks, potholes in streets/parking lots, broken floor tiles, or torn carpeting
- Unlit walkways or hallways
- Malfunctioning escalators or broken staircases (including missing handrails)
- Wet/slick walkways, staircases, or floors
- Spills that aren’t cleaned up inside stores, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.
- Hazardous debris such as tree branches, etc. that does not get cleaned up
- Weather-related conditions such as snow or ice that doesn’t get shoveled away and/or salted
- A failure to install gutters, storm drains, or anti-slip devices which lead to hazardous conditions during heavy rainfall or snowfall
- A failure to place signs and/or restrict areas when hazardous conditions like any of the above exist
No matter the type of slip and fall accident a claim can be filed against ANY property owner because all property owners have a responsibility to keep their property safe for visitors. When these responsibilities are neglected U.S. citizens have the right to take legal action.
If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of a slip and fall accident that happened on someone else’s property, contact our law office to get the best representation for your case. We have helped many victims of negligence. We have the necessary resources to help fight for your legal rights.
Call Attorney Julie M. Essa at 770-955-8322 today!