In 2007 the leading cause of nonfatal injury was unintentional falls, 8,035,635 in the US alone, as reported by the CDC and falls accounted for 24,792 deaths in 2009. Two of the common personal injury claims are slip and fall and trip and fall cases. These types of accidents fall under the premise liability legal actions. Where claims against individual property owners and businesses whose negligent property maintenance, failure to inspect, warn, or repair has left a dangerous condition which caused a personal injury, we will be there to represent you.
Commercial property owners have an obligation to maintain their premises or may be subject to slip and fall claims. Those subject to these claims include Office buildings, Retail stores, Restaurants, Grocery stores, Hotels and Motels, Apartments or Rental Homes and Retirement complexes.
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When you leave your home to head to work or to stop by a retail establishment, you should be able to expect that the property will not be unsafe and will not lead to a dangerous slip and fall accident. Similarly, when you visit the home of a colleague or friend, you should not have to be concerned that there are hazardous conditions on the property that could lead to a dangerous accident. To be sure, property owners must protect against both known dangers and foreseeable ones. Steps that property owners must take can vary widely, depending upon the kind of person entering the property and the specific type of premises.
If you suffered a serious injury in a slip and fall accident, an experienced Georgia premises liability lawyer can assist with your case.
What is a slip, trip, and fall lawsuit, and what do we mean when we talk about premises liability law? In brief, premises liability law is an area of the law that falls within the broader legal area of personal injury law. It holds that a property owner has a duty to certain persons who come onto their property to protect against known or foreseeable injuries.
Georgia law allows for premises liability lawsuits based on slip, trip, and fall accidents. While each state has its own precise laws concerning premises liability lawsuits, the general elements for a successful slip, trip, and fall case tend to be those in which plaintiffs can prove the following elements:
When it comes to proving that the property owner knew or should have known about a potentially harmful condition on the property, the property owner can have either actual knowledge or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition. Actual knowledge simply means that the property owner knew about a harmful condition, such as a water spill or uneven flooring.
What is constructive knowledge? This term is a bit trickier, but in short it means that a condition existed such that a property owner taking reasonable care should have known about the condition and thus had a duty to fix it. Under the law law, constructive knowledge can be proven by showing either that the condition existed for a lengthy enough time that the property owner should have recognized it in the ordinary course of caring for the business, or if the condition occurred with some regularity (meaning that the property owner should have foreseen it happening again).
Slips and falls can result in a wide variety of injuries, from those that are less severe to injuries that can be life-threatening and even fatal. According to statistics reported by the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), common slip, trip, and fall injuries include but are not limited to:
Get to a doctor and document your injuries. Not only does being proactive help your health, but insurance carriers and their lawyers always look to use evidence against you- how long you took to get to a doctor, what you complained about or didn’t complain about and they will comb through your records in painful detail. Go to the doctor, be honest and detailed.
Fill out any available accident reports and police reports. Ask for a copy. Then, call your insurance carrier and make a claim. Be careful what you say. All too often, injury victims will say they are “fine” or “not that bad” or otherwise be polite and that will haunt then if their injuries take a turn for the worse. The ER will only really tell you if you have broken bones or major issues, but go and be honest. Hospital emergency rooms tend to leave the bulging discs, herniated discs, shoulder tears and the like to later treating doctors.
Many of our clients are hurting, struggling and hoping they get better, but aren’t. You get one shot at recovery. Lawyers must make sure the insurance companies are acting fairly. John worked for eight years defending these claims for these companies and big businesses and could write a book about ways they use your desire to be fair and reasonable against you. He now solely works for injury victims like you.
While all lawyers are allowed to advertise and anyone can basically handle a personal injury case, only Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyers are allowed to identify themselves as an “expert” or as “specialist” in this area. Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the area by the Supreme Court of Florida. It also means the lawyer is known for trials- pushing beyond low offers by defendants, passed a peer review and passed a tough exam. Most cases do not get that far, but it is good to have a lawyer with all of the tools in their arsenal.
Insurance carriers try to negotiate every dollar they can, because every $100 means millions in the end to their Board of Directors. Attorneys matter. Defendants and their carriers change their game plan when an experienced lawyer is involved. For that reason – and the misinformation by TV lawyers and referral services- is why people should select lawyers carefully. Also, make sure it is the lawyer who shows up to meet with you and not a mere investigator. You are haring a lawyer and deserve their time. Also, ask for sample closing costs. Some lawyers charge for faxes, phone calls, scanning, postage, “in house courier” charges and even interest in these charges.
Because of the economy, more lawyers are jumping into personal injury and should stick to what they know. Personal injury law requires knowledge about medical science and biomechanics (the forces on a body in a wreck or a fall) far greater and more specific than you’d think. The other side has doctors and millions on their side to say nothing is wrong or fight the claim.
We know that property owners have a duty of care to certain types of persons who enter the premises, from business invitees to social guests. What steps can property owners take to help prevent a serious slip, trip, and fall accident from happening? A pamphlet from the National Safety Council (NSC) recommends that property owners do the following:
What kinds of damages can you be eligible to receive when you file a premises liability lawsuit? Typically, plaintiffs can be eligible to receive what are known as compensatory damages. Compensatory damages fall into one of two different categories:
If you need assistance with your slip and fall case, don’t hesitate to contact the Law Offices of John M. Phillips today. We are eager to assist you in recovering due compensation.