An accident on someone else’s property or at a business can leave you with life-changing, devastating injuries. Broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and neck or spinal cord injuries are all common in premises liability cases. That means costly medical bills, long stretches of missed work time, and more. To seek the fullest compensation possible for everything you’ve suffered, it’s best to work with an experienced premises liability lawyer.
Hiring a lawyer is often the best step you can take after an injury on someone else’s property. Having a lawyer on your side makes an enormous difference in the outcome of your case, for many reasons. This article will cover some of the most significant areas a lawyer can help you with your premises liability case.
Why You Probably Need a Premises Liability Lawyer
Any personal injury case in Georgia comes down to who was at fault for the accident:
- To be “at fault,” someone must have been negligent in your accident.
- In the case of premises liability, the property’s owner or occupier must exercise care in keeping their premises safe (Georgia Code § 51-3-1).
- If they fail in that duty and someone is injured as a result, it’s known as negligence—and they are legally liable for the victim’s damages.
Premises liability cases can become very complicated, and they can be difficult to prove. You might have an easier time proving fault if the accident happened at someone’s home or at a small business. However, many premises liability cases happen at large chain stores with their own attorneys and practices in place to fight injury claims.
No matter how or where your injury accident happened, you will benefit from the expertise of a premises liability lawyer who understands local laws. They can make sure you each step you take in your injury claim is helping your case—rather than hurting it or leaving you vulnerable. Below are some of the best ways they can assist you after a premises liability accident.
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Investigating Your Claim
An experienced lawyer will investigate every aspect of your case. They will gather information like:
- The accident report
- Your medical records
- Pictures of the scene, your injuries, and more
- Pay stubs from your job
- Witness testimony
- Surveillance footage of the accident (if applicable)
You can help with this step by taking pictures of the scene right after your accident happens, reporting the accident to the property’s owner or manager, seeing a doctor as soon as possible, talking to witnesses, and keeping track of all expenses you face. Even if you did not do these things, however, a lawyer can help compile the necessary evidence to show what happened on the day of your accident.
Determining the At-Fault Party (or Parties)
Sometimes, the business or property owner is fully at fault for your accident. Other times, more than one party may be responsible for your damages. Understanding where negligence lies is key to any personal injury case, so your lawyer will spend a lot of time investigating it.
Identifying fault in your injuries can potentially increase your total settlement value, making sure you are fairly compensated for everything that was lost.
Talking to Witnesses
Chances are good that someone else on the property or at the business saw your accident happen. If you are able to at the scene, it’s best to speak with witnesses and get their contact information. Your lawyer can reach out to them soon after the accident and ask about what they saw.
Since memories can fade and change quickly, your lawyer will seek witness statements very soon after you contact them. Witness testimony can be incredibly powerful in a premises liability case, which is just another reason it’s best to hire a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident.
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Calculating Your Damages
Before you can file a premises liability claim, you will need to know the full extent of your damages. These damages can include your:
- Medical costs, including doctor visits, hospital stays, tests, surgeries, medications, and physical therapy
- Future medical costs
- Lost wages from missed work time
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering damages
Calculating damages means accounting for current and future costs related to your injuries. Your attorney will know how to take everything into account—including general damages—so you pursue a settlement that covers all your losses. This is very difficult (if not impossible, in most cases) to do on your own.
Providing Expert Witnesses
Depending on the complexity of your case, you might need expert testimony to prove what happened. Your premises liability lawyer may call on certain experts, such as a doctor, flooring expert, or economic expert, to support your case. They will typically have their own network of experts to call on, or they might utilize an expert directly related to your case, such as your treating doctor.
Negotiating with the Insurance Company
One of the most stressful aspects of a premises liability case is often the insurance company. To seek damages, you will need to file an injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. While this should be straightforward, insurance companies do not like to pay out much on claims—and they will look for ways to reduce or even deny your claim.
It’s common for an insurance company to offer an injury victim a lump sum of money upfront after their accident. Or, they might send you a lowball settlement offer in response to your claim. Either way, you should not accept the first offer.
A premises liability lawyer will know what your claim is worth, and they negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. The goal is to get the insurer to agree on a settlement that is actually fair to you. Your lawyer can also prevent you from getting taken advantage of in your vulnerable state, which is unfortunately quite common when it comes to insurance claims.
If Necessary, Helping You File a Lawsuit
In the best-case scenario, your lawyer is able to negotiate for a settlement that both parties can agree on. This is typically what happens, but there are some situations where the insurance company won’t budge. If this happens, your lawyer may advise you to file a lawsuit.
At this point, you should absolutely have a premises liability lawyer on your side. They can be with you every step of the way and fight for the money you deserve.
Talk to a Georgia Premises Liability Lawyer for Free Today
A lawyer can be invaluable in helping you with your premises liability case. To learn more, contact John Foy & Associates today for a FREE consultation. We’ll discuss the details of your case and how we can help. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started with your FREE consultation.