In most slip and fall accidents, your injuries may be minor bruises or cuts. However, there are situations where a slip and fall can cause significant harm, such as a head injury or broken bones. If you fell in Buford and it was triggered by someone or something else, you probably have a legal claim. And you may be able to recover money for your medical bills, the lost income you sustained, and your pain and suffering—and more. A Buford slip and fall lawyer can take a look at your case and help you decide if filing a claim is in your best interests.
John Foy & Associates has seen thousands of slip and fall cases over the past 20 years. Our top lawyers can tell you if anyone is liable for what happened to you, and help you figure out how much your settlement might be worth to you. We know how to take on insurance companies and business owners, and can often negotiate a fair settlement for you without going to court. Let us give you a free consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
What do I need to show to prove a slip and fall claim in Buford?
Like most personal injury cases, the victim has to prove certain facts to show that they are entitled to receive money damages. These include:
- A clear hazard. The defendant (usually the property owner or manager) must have had “actual knowledge” or “constructive knowledge” of the hazard that caused the fall. Actual knowledge means they knew about it. Constructive knowledge is a legal term that means, given their responsibility for the property, they should have known about it—a reasonable person doing their job would have been aware of the hazard.
- A victim. The victim (you) did not know about the danger, even though they used ordinary care just before and during the fall.
However, in many cases you don’t have to prove this second fact at all. In Georgia, this only comes up if the property owner has some evidence that you exposed yourself to the hazard. For example, if you were in an area marked “staff only” even though you’re not staff.
Often, the property owner or manager will claim they couldn’t have known about the hazard. This is when a good lawyer will build your case around “constructive” knowledge. The Georgia courts offer two ways to show constructive knowledge:
- Workers nearby. Employees or representatives of the property owner were nearby and could have easily noticed the hazard and removed it (or otherwise addressed it).
- Longstanding hazard. The hazard or condition had existed for long enough that it should have been discovered and removed. In other words, the property owner either wasn’t inspecting the property often enough or wasn’t being careful.
Businesses and other property owners have a legal responsibility to keep up with maintenance of their property and deal with any issues that may cause injuries or damage as soon as possible. If they do not meet this burden, they can be held responsible for any resulting damage or injuries.
What defenses will property owners use against my slip and fall claim?
The most common defense used in a slip and fall claim is that the condition that caused the fall was “open and obvious.” In other words, they’re saying you should’ve noticed the hazard instead of falling. This is a defense that most victims will have to address at some point during their case.
Slip and fall cases are based on the assumption that the property owner knows more about the condition of the property than you do. They have some superior knowledge about a hazard that you may not have. But, when the state of the property is apparent to anyone who comes upon it, such as a large hole in the middle of a yard, then both the victim and the property owner have the same knowledge.
Here’s an example. Imagine that you slipped on a wet floor at a grocery store in Buford. The groceries you were carrying went flying as you fell backward. You hit your head on the floor and had to be rushed to the emergency room. You would assume that this situation would be a clear case of legal responsibility for the store—after all, they’re the ones who didn’t clean it up. But their insurance company will have a few questions:
- Were there warning signs that the floor was wet?
- Why didn’t you see that the floor was wet?
- Did the store know that there had been a slip and just ignored it?
These questions all come down to the same thing: trying to blame you for your own fall. And sadly, that strategy can work, especially when a victim doesn’t have a lawyer or doesn’t know how to talk to the insurance company. But don’t let these questions rattle you. In many cases, you still have a strong claim—and you can still get the money you’re entitled to. Insurance companies will try to blame you for your fall even if you were watching where you walked and did nothing wrong. This is part of why it’s so important to have a good lawyer on your side.
Talk to a Buford Slip and Fall Lawyer for Free
Every case is different, and slip and fall situations are very fact-specific. But the bottom line is simple: if you fell and were hurt, and it’s not your fault, there’s a good chance you have a claim. John Foy & Associates offers some of the most experienced and respected injury lawyers in the state—with a 20+ year history of successful slip and fall cases. Don’t wait until it’s too late to file your claim. Let us give you a FREE consultation. Call us at 404-400-4000 or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.