Getting hurt on someone else’s property can leave you with a lot of emotions. Besides being in pain from your injuries, you might also feel fearful of the impending costs and unsure about what you should do. First of all, after injuring yourself on someone else’s property, you should consider the property owner’s role in the accident.
Property owners and businesses in Georgia have a duty to “exercise ordinary care in keeping their premises and approaches safe” for those who legally come onto their property (Georgia Code § 51-3-1). If they do not uphold that duty and someone is injured, the property owner may be responsible for the damages.
What to Do After Getting Injured on Someone Else’s Property
To protect your legal rights, you will want to gather evidence and document what happened in the following ways.
1. Get Medical Attention
If your injuries are severe or life-threatening, do not delay getting medical treatment right away. Some injuries can worsen quickly and become very serious. If you need to have someone call for an ambulance, do it.
If you are well enough to stay at the scene to gather evidence, do make sure you see a doctor as soon as possible afterward. Your injuries can change a lot within a short amount of time, and waiting too long to get medical treatment is detrimental to your case. The property owner’s insurance company may try to say you weren’t hurt as badly as you claim or that your injuries were from a pre-existing injury or condition.
2. Take Pictures
The scene of an accident on someone else’s property can change very quickly. The property owner or business may even try to clean it quickly in an attempt to reduce their liability in your accident. To preserve the scene just as it was after you were hurt, take pictures.
If you can, use your cell phone to take pictures of:
- The hazard or dangerous condition that led to your injuries
- The entire accident scene and
- Your injuries
You might even take a video of the scene and explain what happened. Anything you can capture that shows what happened (and where it happened) is helpful to your case.
3. Gather Other Evidence at the Scene
If other people saw your accident happen, talk to them and get their names and contact information. Your lawyer will likely reach out to them later for statements about how the incident occurred and what the scene looked like.
You should preserve the clothes and shoes you were wearing when you were injured. They may be important evidence to show what happened, especially if they’ve become dirty, torn, or bloody from your injuries.
4. Report the Injury Accident
If you were hurt at a business, ask to be taken to the owner or manager. Make sure they understand that you were hurt on their property.
If your injuries were caused by an assault on someone’s property, there will likely be a police report. You’ll want to obtain a copy of this for your claim.
5. Keep Track of Your Expenses
If the property owner or business is found to be negligent in your accident, you may be able to recover money for your:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
You’ll need to provide proof of these damages. Keep track of all medical bills, doctor notes, receipts, and pay stubs.
6. Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer Before Accepting or Signing Anything
One tactic insurance companies use is offering an injury victim money upfront. They might also ask the victim to sign a release while expressing concern about how they’re doing. If either of these situations happens to you, do not accept any money or sign anything without first consulting a lawyer.
Insurance companies know that most injury victims aren’t up-to-date on (or well-versed in) personal injury laws. They are hoping they can gain your trust and get you to accept a lowball settlement so you’ll end the case. In other words, they care most about their bottom line and will try to avoid paying out much at all on your claim.
An experienced premises liability lawyer will know how to handle the insurance adjuster for you. They are skilled in communicating and negotiating with insurers on premises liability cases. Your lawyer will help you build a strong claim and avoid getting taken advantage of during the process.
Partial Fault in Premises Liability Accidents
To reduce their liability in an injury accident, property owners may claim that a victim caused their injuries by not being careful enough. There can be some truth in this, but you should never assume you’re to blame without speaking with a premises liability lawyer first. Property owners and businesses often hold the majority of the blame.
Thankfully, certain states, including Georgia, have comparative negligence laws that allow an injury victim to recover money even if they are partially at fault in an accident. Georgia has modified comparative negligence where you can seek compensation if you are less than 50% at fault (Georgia Code § 51-12-33). Your damages would be reduced based on your percentage of fault.
Your lawyer can investigate all the details of your case and determine who was negligent in your accident on someone else’s property. Even if you were partially negligent, your lawyer will seek the fullest compensation possible so you can pay for your costs and begin to move on from the accident.
Talk to a Georgia Premises Liability Lawyer for Free Today
If you are wondering what to do after injuring yourself on someone else’s property in Georgia, John Foy & Associates can help. We have 20 plus years of experience helping injury victims win the money they deserve, and we aren’t afraid to stand up to the insurance companies. Working with us is risk-free to you because we don’t take a fee unless we win you money.
To get a FREE consultation and case evaluation today, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online now. We’ll go over the details of your case and what we can do to help you.