Georgia Slip and Fall Accident Frequently Asked Questions
A slip and fall accident can result from many causes including a foreign substance on the floor that makes the surfaces sticky or slippery, uneven ground or debris, or other hazards. Unfortunately, slip and fall accidents are common and can result in significant injuries. If you are injured on another person's property because they fail to take adequate care to warn you or safeguard you from dangerous conditions, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been representing those injured by dangerous conditions on the premises of others for over 25 years.
Here are answers to some basic questions about slip and fall accidents in Georgia:
What is a hazardous condition on the property of another?
Property owners may be liable for the hazardous conditions on their property that they knew or should have known existed. The degree of care a property owner must exercise depends on the reason the visitor is on the property. Sometimes the property owner has an obligation to fix the hazard or protect the visitor from injury, while other times the property owner only needs to warn one of the hazard. Some hazards can be obvious, like a clearly broken step on a set of stairs. Others may be hard to see, such as a hole in the ground that is covered by debris.
Is a business owner liable if I am injured on their property?
If you are a customer, UPS delivery person, or someone else on the premises for a legitimate business purpose that benefits both parties, the owner has a duty to take reasonable care to make the premises safe. If someone is just a social guest or the owner gets no benefit from the person being on the property (i.e. door to door salesman), then an owner may be liable if he or she knows or have reason to know of the hazard and fails to take reasonable steps to correct it or provide a warning. If the property owner knows the social guest is on the property, then they have the same duty to make the property safe.
What should I do if I am injured because I slip on the floor in the grocery store?
You should seek medical assistance for your injuries and file an accident report with the manager of the store. If there are any witnesses, get their names and phone numbers- so you can avoid the problem of a store owner later claiming that the dangerous condition did not exist. If there was a foreign substance on the floor or some other problem with the flooring you should take a picture of the condition of the floor and your injuries. You should also note the lighting conditions or anything else that may have contributed to your injuries. Make sure you ask for a copy of the accident report prepared by the store. If a store employee happens to comment about past similar accidents, you should be sure to note the name of the employee and the details disclosed. You also should contact a Georgia premises liability attorney as soon as possible so that they can advise you of how to protect your rights.
If I fall in a restaurant because someone spilled something on the floor will the owner of the property be liable?
It depends on how long the substance was present and whether the procedures in the restaurant were reasonable. If you slipped almost immediately after the substance was spilled, it may be difficult to prove that the owner had knowledge of the hazard or should reasonably have had knowledge of the spill. An experienced premises liability/ experienced slip and fall lawyer will look at the restaurant procedures, the location of the spill, evidence regarding how long ago the substance was spilled, and other surrounding circumstances to determine if the owner is liable.
Are there special rules if I am elderly or otherwise more prone to fall?
A property owner takes a victim as he finds him. It makes no difference whether the person is more or less prone to falling based on age.
What damages are recoverable in a slip and fall case?
Damages in such a case may include the following: (1) lost wages, (2) disability (future earning ability), (3) past and future medical expenses, and (4) compensation for pain and suffering. Depending on the circumstances, a family member may also be able to recover damages for loss of consortium (loss of companionship and service). In situations of gross negligence or a pattern of negligent conduct, it may also be possible to recover punitive damages.
Can a property owner be liable for injuries that result from natural conditions like an icy driveway in front of a business?
A property owner can be liable for such conditions just as they can for man-made conditions. It is necessary to determine whether the property owner knew or should have known of the icy driveway. The length of time the condition has been present and the property owner's experience with the driveway icing over may be important in determining liability.
Can the property owner say the accident was my fault because I was not paying attention?
This is a common tactic used by insurance defense lawyers. Even if you were not paying attention, this will typically only result in a reduction in the amount you recover. The court may reduce your damages by your percentage of fault. However, the entire surrounding circumstance may be considered and may mitigate your not paying attention or noticing the hazard. The facts of each case are different and should be analyzed by an experienced slip and fall attorney.
What are some typical types of hazards that result in slip and fall accidents?
- Broken steps
- Spilled liquid or other foreign substance
- Improper wax or sealer on flooring
- Unsafe flooring such as slick marble
- Uneven ground or pavement
- Rugs that slide on flooring
- Ice, rain or snow on the ground
If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip and fall accident, you should contact an Experienced Georgia Slip and Fall Attorney to determine your rights. There are strict time requirements that must be met to preserve a claim for injuries. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been representing those injured in slip and fall accidents for over 25 years. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia including, but not limited to, Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities, rural towns and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are, we are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.