Slip and fall accidents can happen on other people’s property, and they can lead to painful injuries. If you had one of these accidents and it was caused by the property owner or business’s negligence, the owner or business may be liable for your damages (Georgia Code § 51-3-1). However, to actually win your slip and fall case in Georgia, you’ll need to prove several things.
Proving Liability in a Georgia Slip and Fall Case
Before you can hold the property owner or business responsible for your slip and fall injuries and damages, you must be able to prove the following before you have a chance at winning your case:
- The property owner (or business, or employee) knew—or should have known—about a dangerous condition and fixed or removed it but did not OR
- The property owner caused the dangerous condition and should have known that it could lead to a slip and fall accident
If the property owner knew or should have known about the hazard, you’ll need to show that they had enough time to fix the dangerous conditions before your accident. You’ll also need to consider whether or not a reasonably careful person would have recognized that the situation was dangerous.
Property owners and business employees must also be able to recognize dangerous conditions that they create. For example, if an employee is mopping a store floor, it’s a slip and fall hazard. They should put out a “wet floor” sign to warn customers of the hazard. If they don’t and a customer is injured, the store will probably be responsible.
What if You Were Partially at Fault?
The property owner might try to blame you for some of the accident, saying you should have been more careful and could have avoided the hazard. It’s likely they are just trying to reduce their own liability, but if you were partially careless in the incident, you may still be able to recover damages if you were less than 50% at fault (Georgia Code § 51-12-33). Contact a slip and fall accident lawyer for more information.
Four Things to Prove to Win a Slip and Fall Case
You’ll also need to prove these four elements in your slip and fall case:
- There was a duty of care.
- That duty of care was breached.
- You were injured as a result of that breached duty.
- You suffered damages because of your injuries.
You can prove the first two points by demonstrating the store was negligent, as discussed above. Along with proving negligence and liability, you’ll need to demonstrate the damages you have because of the slip and fall accident.
Gather Proof of Your Damages
You may have any of the following damages as a result of your slip and fall accident:
- Medical bills, prescription medications, doctor co-pays, and other medical costs
- Lost wages from missing work time
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering damages
It’s best to keep track of all costs and losses you experience because of your accident injuries. You’ll need to know the total value of your damages before filing your slip and fall claim with the property owner’s insurance company. This might take some time if your injuries require a lot of medical treatment, but it’s worth the wait if it means you can recover all your costs.
Document as Much as You Can
To win your slip and fall case, you’ll also want to gather as much information as you can about the accident. A lawyer will do a lot of investigating too, but you can help your case by:
- Taking pictures of the accident scene, the dangerous condition that caused your accident, and your injuries
- Reporting your slip and fall accident to the property owner or store manager right away
- Talking to witnesses and getting their contact information
- Seeing a doctor for treatment of your injuries right after the accident and following all care instructions
- Keeping track of all medical costs and other damages (as mentioned above)
Insurance companies do not like to pay out much on slip and fall accident claims, and they will look for ways to reduce what they pay you. However, it will be harder for them to fight your claim if you have solid evidence of what happened and the resulting damages.
Work with a Slip and Fall Lawyer Who Can Help Win Your Case
Proving liability is rarely easy in slip and fall accident cases. You will be filing your claim with the property owner’s insurance company, and insurance adjusters are skilled at looking for ways to blame you and reduce their liability for your damages. That’s why it’s such a good idea to contact a Georgia slip and fall accident lawyer as soon as possible after you’re injured.
An experienced lawyer is the final and most important piece of winning a slip and fall case in Georgia. Your lawyer can use the evidence to build a strong claim, show how the property owner or business was negligent, and fight for your right to full compensation.
Talk to a Slip and Fall Lawyer in Georgia for Free Today
To discuss your case and what you need to do to win, call John Foy & Associates today. We have 20 plus years of experience and a long track record of winning slip and fall accident cases for our clients. Let’s discuss your case too, starting with a FREE consultation.
Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online for your FREE consultation. We’ll evaluate your case and talk about how we can help. Plus, if you decide to work with us, there is no fee unless we win your case. Call (404) 400-4000 to get started.