Slipping and falling is one of the leading causes of injury in Gainesville, and the results can be hard to live with – even life-altering. Many slip-and-fall victims find themselves living with steep hospital bills, medical debt, years of treatment, or an inability to work. You should not have to worry about your financial future because of a single fall.
Under the law, you have the right to get back the full cost of your injury, including missed work time. But you need a good lawyer to help you. At John Foy & Associates, we employ some of the most experienced and effective slip-and-fall accident lawyers in Gainesville.
How do You Know If You Have a Slip and Fall Case?
All too often we see individuals who blame themselves for their injuries. Often, they think that slipping and falling was their own mistake and that it wouldn’t have happened if they were paying more attention. However, falls happen for a reason – typically because there is some sort of hazard that shouldn’t be there. If this was the case in your fall, then there’s a good chance you have a case.
A common example is tripping on a walkway leading up to a business. If you tripped because your shoes were untied, clearly the business isn’t responsible. But what if there was a crack or gap in the pavement? The business should have known that a poorly maintained walkway could be dangerous.
This is what’s known as “negligence.” It means that someone else should have known better, but they did nothing to remove the hazard or warn people about it. Their negligence means that your accident is not your fault and you have a legal right to recover your costs.
Types of Slip-and-Fall Cases Our Firm Handles
Other examples of slip-and-fall cases we handle include:
- A slippery floor that wasn’t marked
- Dark staircases or other poorly lit areas
- A faulty staircase railing
- Unmarked steps up or down
- Poorly maintained pavement
- Slipping on something that was spilled in a store
Legally, we refer to these as “premises liability” claims. Premises liability means that the owner of a property has a duty to make it safe for whoever comes in. This is true whether it is a public space, a business, or a private residence. If they do not live up to their duty, then they or their insurance company are liable for the consequences.
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Should You Get a Gainesville Slip-and-Fall Attorney for Your Case?
If you have any suspicion that your accident was caused by a property owner’s negligence, then it certainly could be worth getting a lawyer to work on your case. Hiring a slip-and-fall attorney in Gainesville can alleviate the stress of handling your recovery costs–plus, we don’t charge anything upfront, so there’s no risk.
You may be tempted to try to get compensation without the help of a lawyer, but we wouldn’t suggest that. People who try to represent themselves often find that the challenges presented by the legal system and the other party’s representation are insurmountable.
Either way, you can always get a free initial consultation with one of our slip-and-fall lawyers in Gainesville. At your meeting, your attorney will assess your case and tell you what they can do for you. Remember, we don’t get paid unless you win.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Slip-and-Fall Accident in Gainesville?
Because every slip-and-fall case is different, there’s no average number that will help you understand what to expect from your settlement. Many people receive compensation in the range of tens of thousands of dollars, but any number of factors can affect the actual figure.
Things that could affect how much you get for your slip-and-fall accident include:
- The extent of your injuries
- How much treatment your injuries require
- How much work you missed as a result of your accident
- How much fault the property owner had in your accident
- The extent of your pain and suffering
When you meet with one of our slip-and-fall lawyers in Gainesville, they will look at your premises liability damages and give you a better idea of how much you can expect from your settlement.
Who Is Responsible for a Slip-and-Fall Accident?
A slip-and-fall accident usually falls under premises liability, which puts the responsibility on the owner of the property on which you were injured. In different circumstances, that person could differ. The responsible party could be a business owner, a homeowner, or any number of other negligent people.
In any case, the owner is responsible if one of the three following things is true:
- They knew their property was dangerous and did nothing to fix it.
- They did not know that their property was dangerous, but they reasonably should have.
- They purposefully made their property dangerous.
In any of those circumstances, the property owner can be found negligent. The negligent party in your accident is liable to pay for your damages. A skilled Gainesville slip-and-fall attorney will be able to figure out who was responsible and hold them accountable for their negligence.
What Should You Do If You Fell and Injured Yourself in Gainesville?
The best thing you can do after a slip-and-fall accident is to protect yourself legally. Take basic steps to make sure the incident is documented and that you don’t say anything that could be taken out of context. If you collect evidence at the beginning, your entire case becomes stronger.
We recommend taking the following steps after your accident:
- Report it. Many people make the mistake of trying to “walk off” their injury or put on a brave face but if you’re hurt, you should report the accident right away to the manager or owner. You don’t need to cast blame, just make sure they are aware of the hazard and that you were injured.
- Take pictures. If you have a serious injury on a staircase with a bad railing, it’s a sure bet that one week later the railing will be fixed – and any evidence of how loose it was will be gone. If you don’t have to go immediately to the hospital, take pictures of the area where you fell and the specific hazard that caused it; otherwise, return to get pictures as soon afterward as you can.
- Talk to witnesses. If anyone saw you fall, talk to them. Show them the hazard that tripped you, and ask them for their names and contact information.
- Be careful how you talk about your accident. It’s natural to tell people you’re fine even if you’re not but unfortunately, this can haunt you later. Do your best to speak matter-of-factly about your accident and avoid taking blame.
- Go to a doctor. If your injury turns out to be serious, the insurance company will want to know why you didn’t see a doctor right away. It’s always better to play it safe and get a seemingly minor injury checked out as soon as possible.
The other party, their lawyer, or the insurance company will try to contact you following your accident. Do not tell them anything they don’t absolutely need to know–they’ll try to twist your words and use them against you. That’s why you should have a personal injury lawyer who knows how to negotiate with the other side.
What If You Fell at a Friend or Neighbor’s House?
You’re entitled to the same financial recovery no matter where the accident happened. Remember, your recovery is your right, and it has nothing to do with your friend or neighbor.
You have no claim against them – your claim is between you and their insurance company. They will not have to pay anything out of pocket if you win. Their insurance will pay it.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Slip-and-Fall Claim in Gainesville, GA?
Slip-and-fall cases move quickly and there are very tight deadlines. In Gainesville, the Hall County courts follow statutes of limitations set by both the state of Georgia and the federal government.
Depending on the circumstances, the statutes might give you up to two years to file your claim, but often it’s far, far less—even just weeks from the date of the injury. The safest thing you can do is talk to a lawyer immediately.
Talk with a Gainesville Slip-and-Fall Attorney for Free Today
One fall should not mean a lifetime of debt. Let us help you. The Gainesville slip-and-fall lawyers at John Foy & Associates offer a free consultation to discuss your case.
Your consultation is your chance to get a professional legal opinion at no cost. Call us or fill out the form to your right and get your FREE consultation today.