When it comes to premises liability, slip and fall accidents are arguably the most common claims. A slip and fall in Gwinnett Georgia can leave you with injuries ranging from minor to severe, with the latter affecting both your personal and professional life.
If you are invited or allowed on someone’s premises, they are legally obligated to maintain a safe environment. At the very least, the owners are required to warn you about a dangerous condition or potential hazard on their property or premises.
If you or a family member were recently injured in a slip and fall accident caused by a negligent property owner, manager, or landlord, you may be eligible for compensation. However, liability is usually hard to prove in these types of accidents and so, it is best to have a reliable Gwinnett slip and fall lawyer by your side.
What Are the Most Common Slip & Fall Accidents?
Data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention shows that falls are among the leading causes of injury-related deaths among the elderly (65 years and above). Fall-related injuries can include traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, neck injuries, and spinal cord injuries.
That’s why property owners and landlords are required to keep their premises safe. However, some still fail to adhere to the safety rules and regulations.
Some of the most common slip & fall accidents include:
- Wet or slippery floors
- Poorly maintained staircases and ramps
- Uneven or unstable surfaces, and broken tiles
- Cluttered, disordered, or poorly lit walkways or hallways
- Failing to install anti-slip devices, gutters and storm drains, thus creating dangerous conditions when it rains or snows.
- Structural defects and poor maintenance such as torn carpeting, potholes in the parking lots, etc.
- Failing to restrict access to dangerous areas or put up warning signs
How Can a Gwinnett Slip and Fall Lawyer Help With Your Case?
After a slip and fall accident, you might be looking to file a claim without the assistance of a lawyer. However, the right attorney may come in handy in many ways than you may initially think. In order to protect your rights and get maximum compensation, a slip and fall lawyer will do the following:
Investigate the Accident
In order to have a valid claim, you need to prove that the property owner or manager was negligent and thus responsible for your injuries. This is hard to achieve in most cases, and an attorney can help do a thorough investigation to show that the owner knew or should have been aware of the potential hazard.
Adequate evidence is key in proving your case. A slip and accident lawyer knows what evidence is required and they will use their expertise and resources to gather the necessary evidence.
Evaluate the Value of Your Claim
There are numerous forms of damages available in slip and fall claims. Some like medical bills are easy to calculate, while others like emotional distress are hard due to their subjective nature. Your attorney will know how to best evaluate your case and the settlement to seek.
Dealing With the Insurance Companies
When it comes to making claims, insurance carriers aren’t your friend. They are in business to make a profit and so, they will look for ways to deny your claim or pay the least amount possible. An experienced slip and fall lawyer knows all their tactics and will ensure they are held accountable for the compensation you deserve.
Your lawyer will act as your advocate throughout the entire process, keeping your interests in mind.
What Steps Should You Take After a Slip & Fall Accident?
What you do after a slip and accident will play a major role in the amount of compensation you get from your claim. As such, you will want to ensure you do the following:
Seek Medical Attention
Even if the injuries are minor or you feel okay, it is important to seek medical attention. Some injuries are not immediately noticeable and it will take a thorough medical exam to diagnose them. Keep in mind that you will have to show injury evidence when making a claim and you won’t be compensated for injuries that are not in the medical report.
Make an Accident Report
Ensure you make an accident report to the property owner or manager right after the fall. This establishes that the accident actually happened. Ensure you give a copy to your Gwinnett slip and fall lawyer.
Record the Scene
Documenting the scene will play a major role in proving your case. If possible, take photos and videos of injuries sustained as well as the cause of the fall.
Get Contact Information
Obtain the contact information of the property owner or landlord, the insurance provider, and any witnesses of the accident.
Save Your Clothes
Ensure you keep the clothes you wore during the accident in their condition as they may serve as robust evidence of the accident. This is especially the case if they are torn or bloody.
Keep Off Social Media
Avoid talking anything about your accident and injuries sustained to any other party than your lawyer. This includes social media. Doing so may jeopardize your claim and the amount you deserve for your injuries and damages.
Do Not Give Recorded Statements or Sign Any Documents
You may end up saying something that may be used against you later on even if it was false. Also, you don’t want to sign any documents, particularly a settlement offer without the advice of your lawyer.
How Is a Slip and Fall Accident Proved in Gwinnett, GA?
As mentioned earlier, every property owner, landlord, or manager has the responsibility to keep their premises safe and deal with any potential hazards in a timely fashion. When an accident happens, however, it can be hard to prove that the owner was negligent or responsible for the injuries. Usually, they argue that you were partly or fully at fault for the fall.
To prove that the property owner was negligent, you need to show that:
- The property owner/manager knew about the hazard, or they should have been aware of it.
- The owner knew about the hazard but did not warn people or take the necessary steps to fix it.
- The hazardous condition directly caused your injuries and expenses.
- You did not about the dangerous condition, meaning you could have not been aware of it and there were no signs present.
Our slip and fall attorneys are experienced with premises liability law in Georgia and will know how to put together a strong case.
How Is Liability Determined in a Gwinnett Slip & Fall Claim?
It is important to note that you are not automatically eligible for compensation if you sustain injury from a slip and fall accident on another party’s premises. In order to receive compensation for your injuries and property damage, you need to prove that at least one party was directly negligent or legally responsible for your injuries.
Proving liability for slip and fall accidents in Georgia is no walk in the park. That’s why it is imperative to have an experienced attorney by your side.
In almost every case, proving liability entails the following aspects:
Duty of Care
Landlords, managers, and property owners have a duty of care to their tenants, employees, and visitors to their premises. Meeting this duty of care entails keeping the property free of hazards or dangers that may lead to injury. For example, commercial settings owners have a duty to ensure their floors are clean and free of debris for visitors to be safe.
Breach of Duty
In order to prove negligent behavior, you’ll need to show that the party at fault did not fulfill their duty of care. Let us assume, for instance, a Gwinnett retail store owner did not put up a sign indicating the floor is slippery. If you slip and fall, leading to a severe injury, then you have legal grounds to seek compensation.
Third, you need to prove that your accident had a direct relationship to the injuries sustained. Proving negligence entails presenting evidence that the property owner’s negligent actions are the direct result of your injuries and losses. This is usually hard for many people, thus the need for a competent lawyer.
The law also requires you to prove that you experienced actual harm. Even if the landlord, manager, or property owner didn’t fulfill their duty of care, a lawsuit against them wouldn’t be considered valid unless you have experienced harm. If you did not experience any physical, emotional, or financial losses from the accident, then you don’t qualify for compensation.
During the process, you should expect the following questions:
- Did the property owner or landlord give any warnings about the hazardous condition that led to the accident?
- Did you have a genuine reason to be at the property during the time of the accident?
- Did you do anything that may have contributed to the slip and fall?
- Would a reasonably careful individual in the same situation avoided or stopped the incident if they were not distracted in any way?
Keep in mind that in the state of Georgia, slip and fall accident victims may be partly liable for slip and fall injuries due to the comparative negligence law. For example, if you were running carelessly or overlooked warning signs, that can be considered negligent behavior.
As such, your compensation amount will be determined by your fault’s percentage. For example, if you were found to be 20% for the accident, and the damages total to $50,000, you will only be eligible for $40,000. Keep in mind that you can only be compensated as long as your share of fault is less than 50%.
How Much Is My Claim Worth?
One of the things that our clients ask is the worth of their slip and fall accident claim. Sadly, figuring out the worth of personal injury cases is not as straightforward as most people would want. Every case is different as there are numerous factors that come into play.
Regardless, it is important to get a rough estimate of your claim with the help of a Gwinnett slip and fall lawyer. Your attorney will factor in things like medical expenses, lost income, loss of earning capacity, emotional distress, loss of consortium, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, etc.
Are There Time Limits for a Slip & Fall Accident Claim?
Georgia has a statute of limitations that dictates the time limits for personal injury claims. When it comes to slip and fall injury claims, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a claim.
If the accident happened on government-owned premises, you are required to file an administrative claim before filing a lawsuit, which has a 6 months deadline. For claims involving the county or state government, the limit is 1 year.
Hire a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer in Gwinnett, GA Today!
If you or a loved one has been a slip and fall accident victim on another party’s premises, you may be eligible for compensation. Proving negligence, however, is usually complex and time-consuming. As such, you will want to seek the services of an experienced slip and fall accident lawyer in Gwinnett, Georgia.