When a slip and fall accident takes place it can have a long lasting effect on the victim, who may be unable to work for a long period of time due to the effect of the injuries caused in the slip and fall accident.
Georgia Code § 51-3-1 states that property owners are liable if victims who are permitted to be on their premises experience a slip and fall injury. That means they may be asked to pay personal injury compensation.
In Georgia, when a person is injured in a slip and fall accident, the victim is given two years to commence legal action. If the lawsuit is filed after the two year statute of limitations, the court will not hear the case. Georgia also operates under a system of negligence called modified comparative fault, which means that a person may recover damages in a slip and fall accident as long as he or she was less than 50% at fault. A jury award may be reduced by something called a plaintiff’s percentage of fault. A plaintiff’s percentage of fault means that the person who is found to have been 25% at fault for their injuries would receive $75,000 of $100,000 compensation awarded by a jury.
What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
This takes place when a victim either falls backwards or forwards after coming into contact with a hazard.
Common causes of slip and fall accidents on a property are:
- wet floors;
- uneven floors or sidewalks;
- spills of liquids or food;
- potholes or cracks in flooring;
- loose or bulging carpets;
- loose mats or rugs;
- loose floorboards.
Some of the most common injuries from slip and falls are:
- broken bones;
- dislocated shoulders;
- traumatic brain Injuries;
- sprained wrists and ankles;
- soft tissue Injuries;
- knee injuries;
- spine and nerve damage;
- cuts and bruises.
Understanding Georgia's Slip and Fall Laws
Under Georgia premises liability law, slip and fall accident victims can hold the occupier or owner of the property liable for negligently failing or negligently causing to correct, repair, or warn about unsafe conditions on their property which resulted in the wrongful death or personal injury. It is the duty of property owners to maintain a safe environment.
However, a person when on someone else’s property must pay a certain amount of attention as any reasonable person would do under the circumstances. Personal injury law in slip and fall cases in Georgia is all about the reasonable person and how he or she is expected to act. This determines eligibility to win a personal injury claim.
Proving Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case
- What is negligence in a slip and fall case? Slip and fall lawsuits are often hard to win because the victim must prove the property owner was negligent. This means showing that the property owner was fully aware of, or should have been aware of, the hazard that caused the slip and fall and it is because he or she failed to fix the problem and/or warn others using the premises that there was a hazard present that could cause a slip and fall.
- Evidence required to prove negligence. Providing the following evidence is a requirement for proving negligence, liability, and the victim’s losses in a slip and fall claim:
- photos of the hazard or dangerous condition on the premises;
- eyewitness statements;
- video footage of the slip and fall accident.
- How negligence is established in Georgia courts. After showing that the defendant had a duty of care and that it had been breached by the defendant's conduct, the plaintiff must then prove that his or her injuries were caused by this negligent conduct.
Compensation for Slip and Fall Victims
- Types of compensation available to slip and fall victims. There are both economic and non-economic damages available to slip and fall victims. Economic damages include the financial losses caused by the accident, such as loss of wages while recovering and the cost of medical treatment. Non-economic damages include compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the slip and fall accident, loss of consortium suffered by the victim’s partner due to the injuries caused in the accident and the mental anguish caused by such injuries as permanent disfigurement. Punitive damages may also be available to punish the defendant for the victim’s losses.
- Factors that affect compensation. If you think that you may have partially contributed to your slip and fall accident you may still be entitled to compensation under Georgia’s modified comparative negligence laws that allow a slip and fall victim to seek compensation as long as they can prove they are less than 50 percent liable for the accident.
- Strategies for maximizing compensation. The best way to maximize your claim is to take your time when filing the claim so that you can gather sufficient evidence that proves the losses you have experienced as a result of your slip and fall accident. You will need receipts for the cost of your medical treatment and a doctor’s report, detailing any ongoing treatment you may require to treat your injuries. If you are offered an amount that you know doesn’t cover your losses, you should dispute this as soon as possible in order to maximize your claim.
Seeking Legal Representation
- The importance of hiring an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorney has the knowledge and experience to negotiate a fair settlement for your slip and fall injuries so you will not be out of pocket now and into the future.
- How an attorney can help with a slip and fall case. The attorney will ensure your compensation claim can be won before gathering the evidence required to win your claim.
- The benefits of seeking legal representation. If you do not seek legal representation you can’t expect to be awarded the best settlement. A slip and fall attorney will usually ask for the highest compensation so your slip and fall injury won’t cause you any final hardship.