An injury accident that occurs on someone else’s property can leave you with serious injuries and expenses, not to mention missed work time. If you were not at fault for the accident, you should not have to bear the costs. However, in order to accurately prove the property owner was negligent, you may need a lawyer for your premises liability case.
Hiring an experienced premises liability lawyer is usually the single best decision you can make after a premises accident. You will need a professional on your side who can help you gather evidence, build a strong case, and make sure you aren’t taken advantage of during the process. That being said, you’ll want to make sure you work with the right lawyer for your needs.
Let’s look at the main ways a premises liability lawyer can help your case and how to choose a good one.
Six Reasons You Need a Lawyer for Your Premises Liability Case
An attorney is important in just about any personal injury case, but hiring a legal profession is especially vital when it comes to premises liability.
Premises liability cases can be complicated, and it’s sometimes really difficult to prove that a property owner or business was at fault for your accident. A lot of businesses will also have their own legal team ready to fight liability claims, and they will not want to admit any negligence.
Here are the top ways a premises liability lawyer can help you have a successful case.
1. Investigating the Accident
As soon as you hire them, a premises liability lawyer will begin investigating your case. They’ll compile evidence of the accident to use in building your insurance claim. That evidence can include:
- An accident report
- Medical records
- Pay stubs
- Pictures of the scene (or possible visiting the accident scene)
- Surveillance footage from the business
- Witness testimony
The sooner you and your lawyer can begin gathering evidence, the better. Memories can fade, and it can be harder to get certain information as time goes on. Even if you gather some of this evidence yourself, it’s best to have a professional who can determine what is most significant to your premises liability claim.
2. Determining Liability
The key to a premises liability case is negligence. To seek compensation for your damages, you will need to prove that the property owner or business owner was careless in your accident. You’ll need to show that they knew about a hazardous condition and did not fix it within a reasonable amount of time or did not know about the condition when they should have.
An experienced lawyer will know what evidence you need to demonstrate negligence—and how to present that evidence in the most effective way. Your lawyer can also help clear up any questions you have about who was at fault in your accident.
If you think you might be partially at fault, they may still be able to help you seek compensation through Georgia’s comparative negligence laws (Georgia Code § 51-12-33). If more than one party other than you may be at fault, your lawyer can identify all guilty parties, which may increase your potential settlement.
3. Calculating Your Damages
Your premises liability claim will need to include all damages that you suffered because of your injuries. Those damages may include:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Under Georgia Code § 51-12-4, damages can be given as compensation for a personal injury, which includes premises liability cases. Your lawyer can calculate the value of these damages based on your injuries and costs.
Your lawyer will also account for any future costs you may experience, such as ongoing medical costs, disabilities, or emotional pain and suffering. It’s usually impossible to accurately determine all of your damages without an experienced lawyer.
4. Leveling the Playing Field
When the insurance company knows that you have a lawyer on your side, it will show them you are serious about your case.
Insurance companies know that most injury victims are not knowledgeable in personal injury laws or how to seek full compensation for their injuries. However, if you’re working with an experienced lawyer, the insurance company might take your claim more seriously and be more willing to offer a higher settlement.
5. Bringing in Expert Witnesses
Sometimes, a premises liability claim requires expert witnesses to help the case. This might be a doctor, economic expert, reconstruction expert, or someone else who can help prove the severity of your damages.
Lawyers who regularly represent premises liability accident clients will have a strong list of qualified experts to use when needed.
6. Negotiating Your Settlement
Insurance companies often respond to an insurance claim with a lowball offer. They might even send you an offer before you file your claim, hoping you’ll take the money and end your case. However, you should never take the first offer.
After the insurance company responds, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance adjuster. The goal is to reach a settlement amount that fully covers your damages. This is easier said than done, but an experienced attorney knows how to expertly negotiate for the money you deserve. In rare situations, the insurance company may refuse to negotiate and you’ll need a lawyer who is prepared to potentially go all the way to trial with you.
Again, an insurance adjuster is also more likely to offer a fair settlement if you have a lawyer with experience working on successful premises liability cases.
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How to Make Sure You Choose the Right Lawyer for Your Premises Liability Case
Although a lawyer can be the difference between a lowball settlement (or no settlement) and full compensation of your damages, the right type of lawyer matters. Many injury lawyers will say they take on premises liability cases, but that doesn’t mean they have sufficient experience.
You will want to look for a lawyer (or law firm) who:
- Focuses primarily on personal injury law, especially premises liability
- Has solid experience taking cases to trial
- Has a successful track record
- Is prepared with the necessary resources, such as expert witnesses
- ONLY represents accident victims and does not work for insurance companies
- Works on contingency (meaning they don’t take a fee unless they win your case)
Talk to a Georgia Premises Liability Lawyer for Free Today
John Foy & Associates fits the criteria above—and so much more. We have been representing premises liability accident victims for more than 20 years. Contact us today to get a FREE, no-risk consultation and discuss the specifics of your case. Call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started with your FREE consultation.