There are some injury accidents where you might be able to seek compensation without the help of an attorney, such as a minor car accident with some property damage and no injuries. However, it’s typically a good idea to at least consult with an attorney—and when it comes to slip and fall accidents, self-representation is not recommended. Most premises liability cases are too complicated for a victim to try representing themselves.
It’s your right to decide if you need an attorney for a slip and fall accident that happens in Georgia, but here are some important details to understand first.
Does Your Slip and Fall Accident Actually Need an Attorney?
In most cases, the answer to this question is “yes.” There are a few many reasons why a victim would need an attorney for their Georgia slip and fall accident.
1. Slip and Fall Defendants Rarely Accept Responsibility
A lot of slip and fall accidents happen at stores or businesses with a lot of power and money. They are not open to accepting any blame for an accident unless evidence of their liability is clear and obvious. The property owner or business and their insurance company will be prepared to fight your claim.
To level the playing field, you’ll want to have your own legal expert available. This is where a slip and fall attorney is invaluable. They will know how to handle what the other side throws at you.
When the insurance company sees that you have an experienced lawyer on your side, they might also be more likely to offer you a fairer settlement.
2. Your Damages Will Likely Be Downplayed
Slip and fall defendants will often try to say your injuries and other damages are not as bad as you’re claiming. They will look for sneaky ways to reduce the value of your claim, such as:
- Blaming you for some (or all) of the accident
- Contacting you and trying to get a recorded statement out of you
- Using anything you say after the accident against you
- Offering you a lowball settlement and hoping you’ll take it, ending your case
- Intimidating you into accepting way less than you deserve
Most slip and fall victims have never had to defend themselves during a personal injury case before. Having a lawyer from the beginning will protect your rights and prevent you from accepting or doing anything that could hurt your recovery.
3. Evidence of the Owner’s or Business’s Liability Must Be Solid
You will need to compile strong evidence of your accident and the property owner’s or store employee’s negligence. Otherwise, they will try to claim that you were to blame for your fall. A lawyer will know what evidence to gather and how to present it in the most convincing way possible.
Basically, slip and fall cases are often a lot more complicated than other types of injury cases. They usually require representation from the beginning if you want the best chance at winning a fair settlement.
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How Can an Attorney Help Your Slip and Fall Accident Case?
With the above reasons for hiring an attorney in mind, here are some of the best ways your Georgia slip and fall attorney can help your case.
Establishing Fault in the Slip and Fall
You must be able to prove negligence to recover a fair settlement in a slip and fall case. Under Georgia Code § 51-3-1, a property owner or occupier may be liable for damages if an injury results from their failure to maintain safe premises. This is not an easy feat. Your lawyer will immediately begin investigating the scene and how your accident happened.
The lawyer will look at all possibilities for how the accident could have happened and who was negligent in it. They will also be incredibly well-versed in state and locals premises liability laws and how they relate to your case. This is knowledge you can’t actively learn and implement in your case alone.
Providing Expert Witnesses
A lot of experienced slip and fall lawyers will have a list of experts that they turn to for expert testimony. These might medical experts that can weigh in on how your injuries happened or accident reconstruction experts who can show visuals of how the accident occurred. The resources your lawyer can provide for your case are often invaluable.
Proving All of Your Damages
After a slip and fall accident, you might have damages like:
- Medical costs (past, current, and future)
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
It’s not enough to claim you had these damages from your slip and fall injuries. You’ll need to provide proof. A lawyer will know how to best present the evidence for your case, especially when it comes to non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Dealing with the Insurance Company for You
Insurance companies can make slip and fall cases incredibly difficult for injury victims. They will look for ways to reduce the value of your claim, intimidate you, or offer you much less than you deserve. Since insurance adjusters know what they’re doing, it’s risky to communicate with the insurance company at all on your own after a slip and fall accident.
When you have a slip and fall attorney, you can rest assured that they’ll handle the insurance company for you. They’ll communicate and negotiate with them on your behalf. If the insurer tries to lowball you on your settlement, your lawyer will work to negotiate an amount that is actually fair to you.
Talk to a Slip and Fall Lawyer in Georgia for Free Today
In most cases, it’s worth it to work with an attorney for your Georgia slip and fall accident case. At John Foy & Associates, you can speak with us about your case during a completely FREE consultation. Then, if you decide to work with us, there is no upfront fee—and no fee at all unless we win you money.
To get started with your FREE consultation, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today.