Most slip and fall cases do not go to trial. Lawsuits are expensive, and property owners are more likely to avoid the time and money court cases require.
After a slip and fall, you might be able to get a settlement through the property owner’s insurance company. However, every case is different. There are situations where a slip and fall case might go to trial.
As an injury victim, you usually have a better chance of fair recovery through a personal injury claim. If you can get a settlement, you’ll avoid the complications of a court case. Plus, juries are often tough on slip and fall victims, even if they fell through no fault of their own.
How to Prove a Slip and Fall Case
After a slip and fall accident, it’s crucial to build a strong case. To have a valid claim, must prove that:
- A hazard existed on the property where you fell
- The property owner or business failed to notice, clean up, or warn you about the hazard
- The dangerous condition led to your slip and fall injuries
Every case is different. How you build your case will depend on the details of your fall. Either way, you’ll need to prove that the property owner or business was negligent in your accident.
All property owners and occupiers must “exercise ordinary care” for those they invite onto their premises, according to the Official Code of Georgia (OCGA) §51-3-1. If the owner fails in their duty, it can lead to injuries. The owner would be liable for the damages from those injuries.
If you were hurt on someone’s property, you might have a personal injury claim. The first step is usually to file a claim with the property owner’s insurance company.
Negotiating a Slip and Fall Settlement
A slip and fall case might settle at any point after the accident. Sometimes, the insurance company will offer you a settlement right after the incident. Be wary of any quick settlement offer. It will likely be a lowball amount that doesn’t come close to covering your damages.
It’s best to have a personal injury lawyer on your side from the beginning. A lawyer can negotiate for a fair settlement offer. Insurance companies are more likely to make a reasonable offer if they see you have a lawyer.
Some cases settle soon after the accident. However, other cases move towards trial before settling. It might depend on the strength of your evidence and how your fall happened.
Settling During Mediation
If you cannot settle early on, you and the other side might meet with a mediator. The mediator helps both sides try to agree on compensation. If you cannot settle during mediation, your case will likely go to trial.
It’s best to have a lawyer to protect your rights during the mediation process. In most cases, having a lawyer from the beginning will benefit your case. To discuss your needs during a free consultation, call our team at (404) 400-4000.
When a Slip and Fall Case Goes to Trial
A good lawyer will prepare for the possibility of trial, even if it doesn’t happen. Again, most slip and fall cases do not need to go to trial. But if yours does go to court, your lawyer will be ready to fight for you.
During the trial, a judge or jury will review the facts and determine fault. If the property owner is found to be at fault, the court will award you damages.
Slip and fall cases in Georgia follow modified comparative fault laws under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §51-12-33. That means you can still recover damages if you were less than 50% at fault for an accident. Even if the court finds you partially at fault, you might still be able to recover damages.
Slip and Fall Damages You Can Claim
If a property owner’s negligence caused your slip and fall, you have a right to seek compensation for your costs. Your insurance claim or lawsuit can include damages like:
- Medical treatment costs, such as doctor bills, hospital bills, surgeries, medications, and more
- Lost wages from having to miss work time
- Loss of earning capacity
- Emotional damages like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life
If you were not at fault, you might recover all of the losses from your injuries. You can strengthen your case by saving all bills, receipts, and other documents and seeing a doctor as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can also help you gather evidence and prove fault.
Types of Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents can happen in many different ways. Falls often happen because of:
- Wet and slippery floors
- Uneven flooring or pavement
- Broken stairs or missing rails
- Cluttered walkways
- Poor lighting
- Curled, torn, or ripped rugs or carpeting
It doesn’t necessarily matter how or where your accident occurred. If someone was at fault and you were a visitor to the property, you likely have a case.
Talk to an Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Whether or not a slip and fall case goes to trial depends on the situation. While most slip and fall cases settle outside of court, there are exceptions. You can get an idea of how your case will go by speaking to a personal injury lawyer.
John Foy & Associates is one of Georgia’s largest law firms with over 20 years of experience. With a founder with a reputation as the “Strong Arm,” our team knows what it takes to win cases. We also do not collect a fee unless we win you compensation.
Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online for a FREE consultation. We are available 24/7 to take your call.