When you’re going about your day, the last thing you expect is to trip slip on an oil spill or trip over a loose piece of pavement and wind up in the hospital. You expect a level of safety at the businesses and places you visit. Unfortunately, negligent property owners sometimes fail to protect visitors and patrons from potential hazards, causing devastating slip and fall injuries. An experienced slip and fall lawyer can help you hold at-fault parties responsible and get compensation for your injuries.
What Are Common Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries?
Slip and fall injuries may be caused by:
- Structural defects, such as uneven floorboards, warped stairs, and damaged ceilings
- Insufficient maintenance, like torn carpeting and damaged floor tiles
- Spills and leaks that are not cleaned up or corrected
- Missing or improperly installed gutters and drainage systems
- Unlit or poorly lit walkways and parking lots
- Slick walkways, either due to water, ice, or other substances
- Missing or broken handrails
- Failure to clean up weather-related hazards, such as storm debris
- Failure to protect residents from assaults
- Insufficient warnings about known or possible hazards
Unfortunately, slip and fall injuries occur in a wide variety of locations, from grocery stores and office buildings to apartments and nursing homes.
When Are Property Owners Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident?
In Georgia, property owners have a duty to protect you from injuries. This rule applies no matter whether they are a homeowner, a business owner, a government agency, or a property management company. It also covers the entire premises, including parking lots, landscaping beds, and other spaces.
However, different standards apply depending on your relationship with the property owner. For example, if you are a retail customer at a business, the owner owes you a higher duty of care than if you happen to be wandering uninvited across a piece of private property. The rules and standards that apply are complex, and it’s likely that you will need a lawyer’s guidance to interpret them and apply them to your claim.
However, there are some general rules that you will need to follow. For example, you will typically need to prove that the property owner knew about the hazard (or reasonably should have known about it). Then, you’ll also have to show that you could not easily identify the hazard and that there were not sufficient notices or warnings posted about the hazard.
What Is My Slip and Fall Injury Claim Worth?
At The George McCranie Law Firm, we understand that every slip and fall injury is unique. We know that your injuries and the value of your claim can’t be accurately assessed by an online calculator or other simplistic systems. We will spend time carefully investigating your case and help you understand the value of your claim.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your slip and fall, your damages may include compensation for:
- Past and future medical bills, including surgeries, medication, and therapy
- Lost wages and wage-earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- An inability to do things you love, including hobbies and recreational activities
- Assistance with daily tasks you can no longer do
- Punitive damages for intentional or highly reckless conduct
What If I Contributed to My Slip and Fall?
If you contributed to your slip and fall, the court may reduce your compensation by your degree of fault. Georgia is a “modified comparative negligence” state, which means that if you were 50% or more at-fault for your slip and fall, you cannot receive any compensation. Because insurance companies will almost always try to shift blame to you, you need a comprehensive strategy for your slip and fall claim.
A slip and fall lawyer can help you evaluate:
- Why you were on the property at the time of your injury
- Your conduct at the time of the injury and whether you caused or contributed to the injury
- Whether someone who was being reasonably cautious would have identified the hazard
Importantly, the insurance company will try to get you to make vague, inconsistent, or damaging statements early on. They will then try to use your statements against you. If the insurance company is pressuring you to make a statement, you should immediately consult with a slip and fall lawyer. An attorney can help you properly frame your statements and protect your legal claims.
What Should I Do After a Slip and Fall Injury?
After a serious slip and fall, you will likely need medical treatment. However, you should also protect your legal rights by doing a few simple things:
- Report your injuries to the property owner and file an accident report if the slip and fall occurred at a business
- Take pictures of the area where you were injured, noting whether there were warning signs in the area
- Collect the names and contact information of any witnesses to your fall
Finally, if you have any pain or discomfort, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. What may seem like a minor ache may be evidence of a serious underlying injury that could lead to future complications.
Consult With an Experienced Slip and Fall Lawyer Today
At The George McCranie Law Firm, we can help you protect your rights and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. To speak to a Douglas or Valdosta GA slip and fall lawyer, contact our office today.