Lawrenceville Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
If you are on someone’s property and slip and fall due to some kind of hazard or danger on that property, you can suffer serious injuries. The things that can injure you can include broken concrete in sidewalks, inadequate lighting in hallways, or even wet floors.
If the owner knew or should have known about the potential danger, the law will require the owner to take reasonable and adequate steps to fix the problem and make sure that visitors to their property are safe. If they don’t take those steps, they can, under Georgia law, be deemed negligent.
Georgia Slip and Fall Law Complicated
Georgia’s law on slip and fall injuries is complicated and subtle. “Slip and fall” can give the impression that the accident was not serious. On the contrary, these accidents can lead to life-altering injuries, which lead to extensive medical expenses and even loss of the ability to work. Therefore, it is essential to understand these cases and whether your case may fall within the compensable category.
Status & Standard of Care
In most states, property owners owe a set level of care to anyone on their property. This duty is not the case in Georgia. In Georgia, to recover for a negligent slip and fall injury, the injured party must be able to show that he or she was not trespassing on the premises. The standard of care depends upon the status of the person injured relating to the property. Under the law, there are three kinds of visitors to a piece of property:
- Invitees – Georgia law defines an invitee as someone who has been expressly invited or welcomed onto the premises, often for the benefits or profit of the owner. These people include customers during business hours, employees during work hours, service providers, and others who have in some way asked or been allowed to be on the premises. Sometimes, one is an invitee only to a portion of a given property, as in a retail store where the invitation does not extend to storage areas. An invitee who exceeds the invitation may become a licensee or even a trespasser.
- Licensees – Under Georgia law, a licensee is someone the owner permits to be on a property but whose presence is not based on a contract with the owner and is solely pursuing the person’s own interests, convenience, or pleasure. For a licensee, the property owner will be liable only for an injury caused by reckless conduct.
- Trespassers – Trespassers do not have an invitation or permission to be on the premises. Invitees and licensees who exceed the extent of their authorization can become trespassers. Trespassers can only recover if they can demonstrate that their injury was caused by the property owner’s willful or wanton conduct.
- Child trespassers – Children are the exception to much of this. The premises liability law expressly retains Georgia’s attractive nuisance doctrine. It provides that a property owner may be liable for an injury to a child trespasser if certain conditions are met. These include:
- The owner knows or should know that the condition is one that is likely to attract children
- The owner knows or should know that there is an unreasonable risk of injury or death
- The children do not understand or discover the risk
- The owner’s benefit from maintaining the condition and burden of removing it are slight in comparison to the risk
- The owner fails to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the risk or protect the children.
The attractive nuisance doctrine applies only to children who are trespassing on the premises.
If You Slip and Fall
If you slip and fall as a result of a property owner or manager’s negligence, the losses you experience can be immense. Obtaining just compensation for each category of covered loss can play a critical role in your recovery, and having a dedicated slip and fall attorney on your side can make a critical difference in the success of your claim. Your legal damages – or covered losses – fall into three basic categories.
Slip and fall accidents often lead to very serious injuries, and with serious injuries come extensive healthcare needs. Even relatively minor injuries can evolve into secondary conditions or complications that require ongoing care. If your complete range of medical costs – including any future expenses – aren’t well represented in your slip and fall accident claim, you could be left holding the bag in terms of their cost.
You have been injured by a property owner or manager’s negligence, and your recovery process may be lengthy. In the meantime, you are likely to be off the job and to experience lost wages as a result. The matter can be even more serious if your ability to earn or your career path is negatively affected.
Physical and Emotional Pain and Suffering
If you suddenly slip and fall while out and about conducting the business of your day and are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence in the process, it is likely to be a terrifying experience that can lead to considerable physical and emotional suffering (often called stress symptoms). This aspect of your losses can be not only one of the most difficult elements to overcome but can also be one of the most painful.
How a Slip and Fall Attorney Can Help
Slip and fall accident claims tend to be challenging, but a seasoned slip and fall attorney can help in all the following important ways:
- Your attorney will help you understand the claims process and the strengths and challenges of your unique claim while helping you make the best decisions for you.
- Your attorney will compile the evidence in your claim and will use it to build your strongest claim – in focused pursuit of its most favorable outcome.
- Your attorney will handle the insurance company on your behalf, including communicating with the rep handling your claim and engaging in skilled negotiations for an effective and efficient resolution that upholds your legal rights and best interests.
- Your attorney will help you avoid the pitfalls that many claimants fall into. For example, your attorney will advise you not to provide a statement to the insurance company and to lay low on social media to help ensure you don’t supply the insurance company with raw material that it can twist into ammunition against you.
- Your attorney will be well prepared to file a lawsuit against the insurance company and to proceed to court if it refuses to settle your claim fairly or engages in bad faith practices.
The Owner’s Knowledge of the Dangerous Condition is Necessary
Legal liability for a slip and fall will only apply if the owner knew about the dangerous condition, including either actual or constructive knowledge. Actual knowledge means that the owner knows the danger existed and did nothing to rectify it. On the other hand, constructive knowledge means that the owner should have known about the hazard if they had properly inspected the premises.
Because showing that someone should have known something is subjective, it can be challenging to prove. So, if you have suffered a slip and fall injury, you should not wait to contact a knowledgeable Lawrenceville GA slip and fall attorney at Spaulding Injury Law. Nevertheless, there are ways to demonstrate that someone should have known about a danger on his or her property. Perhaps your lawyer can obtain inspection records to show that the hazardous area was inspected or the owner failed to inspect the area as they should have.
Potential Slip and Fall Hazards
Many different types of hazards can result in slip and falls when left unattended. Common causes of these accidents include:
- Items of debris left on the floor
- Slippery flooring or overly worn carpet
- Liquid or food spills that are not cleaned up in time
- Failing to warn customers of wet floors or other known hazards
- Having items or displays that protrude into walkways
Property owners should be able to identify such hazards and should take swift action to fix the problem. If they do not, they can face liability for any falls and injuries that result.
Property Owners Can Try to Limit Liability
In Georgia, property owners might try to minimize liability by claiming that you were partially to blame for the slip and fall. This is because comparative negligence applies to injury claims in our state. However, even if you were not paying full attention when you slipped, you can still seek recovery if you were less than 50 percent liable for your fall. If the property owner was 51 percent responsible due to the property hazards, you can still recover for 51 percent of your losses.
Contact a Lawrenceville GA Slip and Fall Attorney Today
Did you suffer injuries in a slip and fall that required medical attention? If so, you usually have only two short years to file a slip and fall injury claim in Georgia courts. You often must complete the insurance claim process before you even turn to the courts, so you want to begin the process right away.
If you were injured in a slip and fall in Lawrenceville, you should contact an experienced Lawrenceville slip and fall attorney for a free case consultation right away. Spaulding Injury Law is ready to help.