Injury victims in Georgia are often quick to blame themselves. It’s human nature to be polite and not want to “cause trouble” or feel burdensome. Plus, you might truly think you contributed to your accident and worry about what that means for your legal options. For example, what if you noticed the hazard before your slip and fall injury happened? Are you still entitled to recover damages?
When it comes to a slip and fall accident, you should be cautious about admitting any blame before you know the facts. The property owner may try to blame you in an effort to reduce their own liability. They might even make you think the accident is more your fault than it actually is.
If you noticed the hazard that caused your fall before it happened, your case does become more complicated. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t recover damages. It depends on how your accident happens and how it related to Georgia laws.
Your Duty to Avoid the Hazard
Whether or not you’re entitled to damages in your slip and fall injury ultimately comes down to one question: Could you have avoided the hazard (and the injury accident) through ordinary care?
Under Georgia Code § 51-11-7, the plaintiff (which is you, as the person bringing the slip and fall case) is not entitled to recover damages if they “could have avoided the consequences to himself caused by the defendant’s negligence.” Under this law, if you could have reasonably avoided the accident even after the property owner or business was negligent, you could lose your right to recovery.
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The Property Owner’s Duty of Care
With the other being said, the owner or business is not necessarily off the hook. They also owe you a duty of care to maintain safe premises and approaches. If they breach that duty and it results in your injury, the property owner or business has been negligent.
There may be situations where you saw the hazard but still could not have prevented it before the accident occurred. You would need to demonstrate in your case how ordinary care was not enough to prevent your injury. You’ll definitely want a Georgia slip and fall lawyer on your side to help with this.
Also, Georgia laws dictate that even if you contributed to your slip and fall injury, you may still have options to seek compensation.
Georgia’s Comparative Negligence Laws
According to Georgia Code § 51-12-33, damages can still be awarded if more than one party is found to be at fault in an injury accident:
- If you bring a case where you are partially at fault for what happened, you are still entitled to receive damages if you are less than 50% responsible for the injury or damages.
- The total damages you could receive would be reduced by the percentage of fault you hold.
- For example, if your damages totaled $100,000 and you were 10% at fault, your damages would be reduced by that 10%, leaving you with $90,000 to be awarded.
- On the other hand, if you are 50% or more responsible, you would be barred from recovering any damages in this case.
The above law is known as modified comparative negligence in Georgia. It allows the plaintiff to still seek damages even if they partially contributed to their injury. So, if you can show that the property owner or business was still most responsible for your slip and fall accident, you may be able to recover based on the percentage of fault on both sides.
As you can see, the laws regarding fault and slip and fall accidents are not always straightforward. You should not assume you can’t recover damages until after you’ve spoken to an experienced slip and fall lawyer in Georgia, even if you noticed the hazard that caused your fall before it happened.
Talk to a Slip and Fall Lawyer in Georgia for Free Today
Let John Foy & Associates evaluate your case and determine what options you have. Don’t let anyone tell you there aren’t compensation options until you’ve spoken to an experienced slip and fall attorney. We have been helping slip and fall accident victims win the compensation they deserve for the past 20 years, and we can help you too.