Slip and fall accidents are a common occurrence throughout the country, and Acworth is no exception. The National Floor Safety Institute estimates that falls account for eight million hospital emergency room visits per year. It is the leading cause of ER visits.
Though slip and fall accidents are common, it is still difficult to know how to proceed when one happens to you. Is it my fault if I slip? How do I prove who’s at fault? And how do I pay my medical bills? Get answers from the Acworth slip and fall injury attorneys at John Foy & Associates.
Can I Sue for a Slip and Fall Injury?
The short answer is yes, you can often sue for a slip and fall accident. When someone slips and falls, it might be because there was some obstacle or hazard that should not have been present. If this is the case, the property owner or business could be liable for the injury.
This means you could potentially have a financial award paid out to you. However, whether you can sue (or need to) will be contingent on two main factors:
- How the accident happened and whose fault the accident was; and
- Whether it’s possible to get the money you are owed from the property owner’s insurance company without proceeding to a lawsuit.
In other words, many slip and falls can be resolved by simply having your lawyer negotiate directly with the insurance company. Your lawyer will bring evidence to show how the county court would most likely handle the case, and prove how much the damages are. The insurance company may then agree to pay your claim with no lawsuit needed.
The best way to find out if you have a valid claim is to sit down with a personal injury lawyer for a free consultation. During this consultation, your lawyer will gather facts and help you get an idea of how strong your claim is.
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What Is the Process for Filing a Slip and Fall Claim in Acworth?
Once you’ve discussed the basics of your case with a slip and fall injury attorney in Acworth, they can work on moving the process forward and actually filing a claim. In most cases, the process will follow four basic steps:
- Investigation: A good lawyer will have their own investigative team which can speak to witnesses, examine camera footage, and pull any records available about the maintenance of the property where you fell.
- Filing the claim: The lawyer will then file a claim with the insurance company of the business or property owner. The lawyer most likely will not file a lawsuit at this stage.
- Negotiation: The lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company to get you the maximum financial reward.
- Court: If this does not work, then the lawyer may file a lawsuit. Most slip and fall cases never actually go to trial, but a lawsuit may be filed even if both parties are still hoping to settle.
There are things you can do at each step to improve your chances. For instance, you can help your lawyer gather evidence during the investigation phase. You can also let your lawyer handle all communication with your insurer.
I Fell While I Was Trespassing or Somewhere I Shouldn’t Have Been. Can I Still Sue?
The state of Georgia says that people who own or manage a property have to keep it safe for the people who frequent it. When a slip and fall accident occurs on the property, how much the owner or business is at fault depends on the type of visitor. For example:
- If the person who has the accident is someone expected to be there, such as an employee at his or her place of work or a customer at a store, the property owner is very likely to be liable, depending on the type of hazard that caused the fall.
- If the victim is someone typically not expected to be at the accident location—such as children who wandered into an area, or people trespassing on abandoned property—the case may be different.
The property owner may still be liable, but there’s more to prove. For example, was the hazard obviously unsafe even for expected guests? How clearly was the area marked as off-limits? Was there anything to prevent children from playing there (such as a tall fence around a pool)?
While it’s possible that your conduct could prevent you from collecting damages, don’t write off your claim just because you didn’t have permission to be in the area. Many victims have successfully recovered money in the same situation you’re in now. Let our Acworth slip and fall injury attorneys know your story and we’ll give you the real story.
What do I Need to Prove to Win a Slip and Fall Accident Case?
In order to successfully hold an owner or business liable for your slip and fall accidents, lawyers typically must prove the following:
1. Awareness of the Hazard
The property owner or business was aware of, or should have been aware, that there was a hazard that could potentially cause an accident. If this is the case, they had a duty to remove the hazard before anyone got hurt but they failed to do so.
An example of a hazard could include an uneven walking surface or pothole. A key focus of the argument will be whether a reasonable person would classify the hazard as dangerous and if the owner or business had plenty of time to remove the hazard.
2. Hazard Not Clearly Marked
People are expected to avoid obvious hazards and take basic steps to protect themselves. So, your lawyer will most likely need to prove that you had no way of knowing about the hazard in question, or that it was not well-marked or obvious.
A good slip and fall accident lawyer in Acworth will know exactly what to prove and how to prove it—but you need to act as quickly as possible. After a fall, businesses will work to remove hazards and dispose of evidence. The sooner you start the claims process, the more likely you will be able to get the money you deserve.
How Long do I Have to File a Personal Injury Claim in Georgia?
It is in your best interest to file as soon as possible after your accident. This isn’t just for the statute of limitations, which is two years, according to Ga. Code § 9-3-33. If we can show that you were injured and the property owner did not repair the hazard afterward, that’s powerful evidence.
A responsible property owner will fix a hazard as soon as possible after an accident. Ignoring a known hazard that has hurt someone is a clear sign of negligence. We can use this to improve your case and, possibly, increase your compensation.
If you were injured on property owned by the City of Acworth, you have a very limited time to sue the city for your injury. The statute of limitation is much smaller, so do not hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
How Much Could I Get for My Personal Injury Claim?
This is a difficult question to answer without knowing the details of your case, but there are some general things we can say. First, any damages that we can prove with a bill or a receipt, called “special damages,” you can easily get compensation for once we prove your case.
“General damages,” also known as “pain and suffering” and other subtypes, are more difficult to prove. Often, depending on the kind of injury you suffered, an insurer will take your special damages and multiply them by a number from one to five to determine general damages.
However, if this is not enough, or if the hazard is especially egregious, the court may agree to award you more. You could even receive punitive damages, which is a financial punishment on the other party for really bad cases of negligence.
Talk to an Acworth Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer for Free
Trying to prove that a property owner or business is at fault for your fall can sometimes feel like you’re David fighting Goliath. A good attorney can even the odds. At John Foy & Associates, we have two decades of experience fighting and winning slip and fall claims—and we work exclusively for the victims.
Let us give you a FREE consultation. Fill out the form to the right or call us to schedule an appointment. Our Acworth slip and fall injury lawyers will be glad to assist you with your claim. Don’t let your opportunity for compensation pass you by.