If you slip and fall on someone else’s property in Georgia, you might wonder about your legal options. The truth is, you should not have to pay for the costs of a property owner or business owner’s negligence.
You may have a valid slip and fall accident claim, but you will need to prove damages to seek compensation for your costs. Our slip and fall accident lawyers explain what goes into proving your damages and how to handle the insurance company.
A Slip-and-Fall Accident Claim in Georgia Starts with Liability
Before proving damages in a slip and fall accident claim, you must show that the property owner was negligent. Negligence is another word for carelessness in legal terms. It refers to someone failing to exercise ordinary care toward other people. When it comes to slip and fall accident claims, property owners and occupiers in Georgia have a duty of care to maintain safe premises and practices.
If they fail in that duty and someone gets injured as a result, the owner or occupier is liable for damages under the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §51-3-1. So, to prove damages for a slip and fall accident in Georgia, you must first demonstrate negligence to prove liability.
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Proving Negligence in a Slip-and-Fall Claim in Georgia
To prove an owner or business was negligence, you must show that:
- The owner or business failed to recognize and fix or remove the hazardous condition that caused your accident when they should have OR
- The owner or business caused the hazardous condition that led to your accident.
You must also show that a reasonable person would have seen the hazard and had enough time to fix it before your slip and fall accident happened. Other things you should consider include:
- Was there a justifiable reason the potential hazard was present at the time of your accident?
- Did the property owner or business have safety standards in place to regularly check for potentially dangerous conditions on their property? If so, is there proof of this beyond their word?
- Did the dangerous condition exist long enough for another reasonable person in the same position to have fixed or removed it?
- Could the hazard have been moved to a different location, blocked off, or been avoided through warnings?
- Did limited visibility or bad lighting contribute to the accident?
You will need to consider various angles when demonstrating the property owner’s or business’s liability in your accident. You will be filing your injury claim with their insurance company, and most insurance companies are skilled in looking for ways to reduce their liability in an accident. To level the playing field, it’s best to contact a Georgia slip and fall accident lawyer for help as soon as possible.
Understanding Your Damages in a Slip-and-Fall Accident Case in Georgia
Slip and fall accidents can cause you to suffer two types of damages, economic and non-economic. Understanding the difference between the two is essential for proving them during negotiations or at trial.
Economic damages refer to damages with fixed monetary values. In other words, the value of economic damages doesn’t fluctuate and is often fixed. Some examples of economic damages include:
- Property damages
- Medical expenses such as hospital visits, emergency room visits, prescriptions, physical therapy, psychological services, and medical equipment
- Lost wages and reduced earning capability
It’s always good to keep all of your receipts, invoices, pay stubs, bank statements, and bills. This makes it easier to calculate your settlement total and prove that these were truly damages you suffered.
Non-economic damages don’t have fixed monetary values and usually consist of:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional trauma
- Disability and disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Wrongful death
The amounts that these damages are worth typically depend on how severe your slip and fall accident was and how much it has negatively impacted your life. Insurance companies love to deny or downplay your non-economic damages. Fortunately, our lawyers know how to calculate these damages accurately and will fight to get them compensated.
What If I Was Partially at Fault for the Damages in My Georgia Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you believe you may have partially contributed to your slip and fall accident, don’t give up just yet, you might still have a case. The state of Georgia has modified comparative negligence laws that allow an injury victim to seek compensation as long as they are less than 50% liable for the accident.
If you are negligent for a part of your accident, you will need to accept your percentage of liability, but you can still recover for the remaining portion. Your total compensation would get reduced by the percentage of fault you hold, and the owner’s or store’s insurance company would be responsible for the rest.
Contact a slip and fall accident lawyer right away if you may be partially at fault for the accident. An attorney can help make sure you’re not blamed for more than your share while also seeking compensation for the property owner’s percentage of liability.
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How Can I Prove the Damages I Suffered in My Georgia Slip-and-Fall Accident?
To prove these damages, you’ll need to keep track of all bills, receipts, pictures, and other evidence of these costs. Medical costs, lost wages, and property damages are all “special damages” that can be proved through tangible expenses. However, pain and suffering fall under the category of “general damages,” and they are harder to prove.
Your slip and fall accident lawyer will help you gather evidence to prove both special and general damages from your accident. The necessary evidence will depend on your specific damages and how they occurred. Contact a slip and fall accident lawyer in Georgia to get started on your case today.
Is It Important to Hire a Slip-and-Fall Injury Lawyer in Georgia?
Don’t assume that the insurance company will miraculously take your side. In almost every single case, they will always try to cheat you out of a fair settlement. Proving your damages can be challenging, especially when you’re recovering from your injuries, but hiring a lawyer can significantly increase your chances.
While you can fight for your settlement on your own, we recommend that you get professional legal assistance, especially if you have little or no experience with personal injury law. While you rest and recover, our lawyers will handle your claim for you and prove the damages you sustained to the insurance company.
Talk to a Georgia Slip-and-Fall Accident Attorney for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, there is no risk to working with us because we don’t take a fee unless we win you money. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us and set up an appointment with one of our dedicated slip and fall accident lawyers in Georgia. To schedule your free consultation today, call us or contact us online.