Yes, you can sue if you slip and fall in a store in Georgia. This is true for customers and anyone else in the store.
In many cases, an actual lawsuit won’t be necessary. You can often recover money for your injuries simply with an insurance claim against the store’s liability insurance.
However, there are limits. Whether you can recover money will depend a lot on how the slip and fall accident happened. Our lawyers explain how filing a claim works and the types of damages for which you can win a settlement.
Not All Slip-and-Fall Accidents Result in Lawsuits
Most personal injury cases, including slip and fall accidents, often resolve outside of court. However, threatening to file a lawsuit with a strong lawyer by your side is often more than enough to ensure that the negligent party and the insurance company negotiate with you fairly to settle.
Neither side wants to have a long, drawn-out legal battle that can cost a significant amount of money in legal fees. So instead of months and sometimes even years of headache-inducing litigation, most claims will settle without having to resort to court.
Still, this doesn’t mean that you’re immediately going to win compensation. Insurance companies can still put up an intense fight during negotiations and have many tricks up their sleeves to get you to settle for far less than what you deserve. As a result, you’ll want to hire an experienced lawyer to assist you during this time to ensure you get a fair settlement.
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You Can File a Claim After Your Slip and Fall in Georgia
The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §51-1-6 grants you the right to sue after a breach of care. For most slip-and-fall accidents to qualify for this, there are three main conditions you have to meet to have a right to recover money:
- There was a dangerous situation in the store that caused you to slip
- The store knew about the dangerous condition and did nothing to fix or remove it
- Or, if they did not know about it, they should have known about it
This last point is essential. For example, if you slipped on a spilled product in an aisle, the store may claim they didn’t even know there was a spill. But the law asks a simple question: should the store have reasonably been expected to know there was a spill?
If the spill was sitting there for 30 minutes, they probably should have known. Otherwise, they’re not really paying attention to their store. If it was sitting there for hours, they definitely should have known. Other cases where a store “should have known” include:
- Not repairing cracked or uneven pavement
- Not putting a sign next to a wet floor
- Not taking reasonable precautions for the weather, such as making sure entrance areas aren’t slippery on a rainy day
- Stacking products in a way where it’s hazardous for customers to try to get them down
- Not labeling steps
- Leaving a loose handrail on a staircase
Any time a store has a hazard like this that they knew about or should have known about, if they don’t address it, they are being “negligent,” which means they’re liable for your injury.
Steps to File a Claim Against the Store You Slipped in
You need to follow several steps when you decide to file a claim. Here’s what you should do:
- When you’re first injured, tell a store manager if possible. This isn’t required for your claim, but it helps.
- Similarly, it helps to take photos of the hazard and the area around it to show what happened and ask people nearby if they saw you fall or noticed the hazard. Get their contact info as witnesses.
- Get the medical care you need and keep records of the care you received.
- Talk to a slip and fall attorney as soon as possible.
It’s always hard to take these cases forward without an attorney on your side. Stores and their insurance companies know the law, and unfortunately, the average customer that gets hurt usually doesn’t. They will find any loophole or catch to try to avoid paying you if it’s possible.
In many cases, they’ll deny there was ever a hazard at all. Your attorney levels the playing field and puts the knowledge of the law on your side.
Don’t Talk to the Insurance Company without a Lawyer
Insurance companies aren’t going to roll over and pay you a large settlement right off the bat. After your slip-and-fall accident, they may try to reach out to you before you get a lawyer and offer you a fast settlement. So, don’t agree or sign anything until you get a lawyer to assist you first.
They’re trying to get you to settle for less before you hire a lawyer and try to convince you that obtaining legal representation isn’t necessary. This is all just to stop you from getting the best settlement possible because they know that once you retain a lawyer, you now have the capability to negotiate and win the maximum amount of compensation available to you.
Allow us to help you handle insurance agents after a:
- Wendy’s slip and fall injury
- Tropical Smoothie Café slip and fall injury
- Steak-n-Shake slip and fall injury
- Starbucks slip and fall injury
- Wingstop slip and fall injury
We can help you with slip and fall claims at other businesses, as well.
The Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall Accidents in Georgia
After you slip in a store and sustain injuries, you generally have two years to file your claim under OCGA §9-3-33. Despite having a decent amount of time, you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to start working on your claim. As time passes, the weaker your claim will become and the harder it will be to negotiate against the insurance company.
Talk to a Slip-and-Fall Lawyer for Free
The attorneys of John Foy & Associates have been helping slip and fall victims for over 20 years. We know how to handle even the biggest stores and insurance companies, and we charge nothing if we don’t get you money. Call us or fill out the form to your right and get your free consultation today.