Atlanta Slip & Fall Lawyers
If you suffered an injury from a slip and fall, you may not be certain what to do. There could be consequences of the injury that were not obvious in the initial medical exam. You may not know if someone can is legally liable for the accident and your resulting injuries. You may not be sure whether you need a lawyer if a company already offered compensation.
It is important to take the time to find the answers. First, make sure you receive the best medical treatment possible. Then, talk to someone with experience dealing with slip and falls.
An Atlanta slip & fall lawyer could evaluate the circumstances of your case, explain your rights, and help you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your claim as you work towards obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Following an Atlanta Slip & Fall Accident
A slip and fall injury can result in serious injuries requiring expensive medical treatments and rehabilitation. If you suffered a slip and fall due to another party’s negligence, a seasoned slip and fall attorney could help you recover compensation for the cost of your recovery. The steps you take following an Atlanta slip and fall accident could be critical to your case, but an attorney could help ensure deadlines are met and evidence is preserved.
Statute of Limitations
For slip and fall cases, Atlanta has a two-year statute of limitations from the date of injury or the date of a death for filing a claim. If the event occurred on public property, a person may encounter ante litem notices that impose a much shorter deadline than the two-year statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is one of the many reasons why it is essential to contact a lawyer following an Atlanta slip and fall accident. An attorney could help an individual file a claim within the statute of limitations.
Most Common Injuries in Atlanta Slip and Fall Accidents
The most common injuries that result from slip and fall cases are broken bones, torn ligaments, and spinal injuries. The injury received depends on the nature of the fall and the individual. Some people could have a very significant fall and not be significantly hurt, while others could have a minor fall and suffer very catastrophic injuries. It is important that a person closely analyzes all potential issues that flow from the fall and makes sure they capture all the resulting injuries.
Slip and Fall Injuries that Emerge Over Time
It is not unusual that injuries incurred in an incident will evolve over time, but it is important for a victim to report injuries immediately following an Atlanta slip and fall accident. If there is a delay before injuries are reported, the plaintiff may encounter a defense claim that the injuries are unrelated to the incident. That is why it is important for individuals to report the matter accurately and completely to their providers. It is also critical to be diligent in complying with the physician’s instructions so that if their injuries evolve or if new injuries develop, the medical records present a clear picture of a diligent patient who is being honest.
Situations That May Result in Slip and Fall Injuries
The circumstances that lead to a fall are often because of the negligence of another, and when that is the case, anyone who suffered an injury may receive compensation.
While slip and fall injuries can occur in an infinite variety of situations, some of the more common causes of these injuries are:
- Walkways that are improperly maintained or inadequately lighted
- Violations of building code safety requirements
- Improperly stacked merchandise
- Dangerous stairs
- Inadequate staff at elder care facilities
Slip & Fall Case Considerations
Premises liability accidents can be complex, since the hazard and other evidence may not be preserved. An experienced attorney will understand the important Atlanta slip and fall case considerations, and they could work on your behalf to prepare a favorable case. Contact an attorney today and know that you are in capable hands.
Cases with Multiple Defendants
Depending on the type of premises in a case, there could be multiple defendants. In a mall, for example, there is the owner, manager, and maintenance company. In a grocery store, one entity may own and operate the entire facility or they may contract out part of it. For a fast food restaurant, there may be one entity that owns the physical property, one that runs the franchise, and another responsible for maintenance and landscaping. The most important thing is to look closely at what the hazard was that led to the injury and who the potential parties are that had some part in that hazard existing or persisting on the premises.
Slip and Fall Case Appeals
A slip and fall case typically would be appealed the same way as any other civil case in Atlanta, and that would be to the court of appeals. If the injured person received a ruling of the trial court or a jury they believe was wrong, their remedy is to file a notice of appeal. The notice of appeal triggers the trial court to transfer the case to the court of appeals where the case will be briefed and a three-judge panel will decide the case.
Recovery After a Case Concludes
Typically, once a case is concluded, there are no other avenues for recovery. An injury victim should not resolve a case until they have an accurate handle on the nature and extent of their injuries. Before a defendant pays the insurance money, they will insist on a release. The release ensures that there will be no further claims made in the case and that any uncertainty related to the nature or extent of the injury is born by the injured party. Particularly if there is significant insurance involved, it is important not to rush to resolve a case. The injured party should be very deliberate in the manner in which they pursue the case so that they reserve the ability to recover damages for all injuries they suffered – past, present, and future.
Top Considerations in Slip and Fall Cases
The most important Atlanta slip and fall case considerations are:
- Obtaining a complete understanding of what caused the fall;
- Fully analyzing the scene and speaking with witnesses to determine how long the hazard was there and why it was there;
- Preserving information, particularly in cases where a person slipped on something likely to be properly cleaned up quickly.
A slip and fall lawyer will want to make sure that any and all video is retained that may document what hazard was present, how long it was present when it was present, and who may have been walking by it while it was present.
Classification of Visitors in Atlanta Premises Liability Cases
The classification of visitors in Atlanta premises liability cases plays an important role in how the case is handled. For instance, property owners or landlords must provide a higher duty to specific guests to a property. If you have been injured on another person or entity’s property, you need to know which category of visitors that you fall into. Speak with a seasoned lawyer for more information about the classification of visitors in Atlanta premises liability cases.
Different Types of Visitors to a Property
The classification status of an individual who is on another person or entity’s property is critical in a premises liability case. This is because there is a varying level of duty based on the status of the individual who is injured, harmed, or killed. The three classifications of visitors in Atlanta premises liability cases are invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
The working definition of an invited guest under Georgia law is someone who has been invited onto the premises. This does not have to be explicit or expressed invitation but can be implied based on the use of the premises or the actions of those involved. Invitees can include people invited over to a person’s house or an individual who is a customer in a store. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees.
A licensee is someone who is on the property of someone else’s for their own pursue at the consent of the owner. Licensees are people who had entered the land without express consent but are still legally able to be on the property. For example, a licensee is someone who entered the premises to ask for directions or to do volunteer work. The duty of care that property owners owe to invitees is somewhere in the middle of invitees and trespassers.
The final classification of visitors in Atlanta premises liability cases is trespassers. A trespasser is someone who does not have permission to be on the premises. In a trespasser situation, the property owner does not have to promise reasonable care. However, property owners cannot purposely harm the trespasser or set up traps on the premises.
Does the Type of Property Impact a Premises Liability Case?
The type of property will often determine the type of information that will be available in a premises liability case. For example, if the property is an apartment complex, one of the key initial documents to review is the lease. The types of prior complaints received are also often dependent on the type of property. In a case involving an apartment complex, the complaints by a prior resident are valuable sources of information. If the incident occurred at another type of property such as a gas station, one may not have the same avenues of information such as prior complaints and the analysis related to the status of the individual will also likely be different.
Duty of Care in Slip & Fall Cases
Property owners have a duty to protect visitors from harm, but the complexities of a slip and fall case can make it difficult to determine exactly what that duty is. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you deserve to focus on recovery instead of fighting the case yourself. An experienced premises liability lawyer understands the duty of care in Atlanta slip and fall cases and could help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Duties of Property Owners
The owner and manager of the premises have the primary duty of care in a slip and fall case. However, it is important to get a handle on the nature of the premises and how is it being managed in a specific case. For example, in a mall, there could be an owner, a separate entity running the mall day-to-day, and a third entity who was contracted to handle the maintenance of a parking lot. All three – the owner, manager, and maintenance contractor – could have potential responsibility for failure to act reasonably in maintaining a specific area.
The duty of a property owner to ensure their property is safe does not mean they have to guarantee the premises are safe, but they do have a duty to act reasonably to provide as safe an environment as they possibly can. That duty is contingent upon what they are aware of given the history of the events on the premises, the history of events in the area, or other knowledge they may have. The duty of care in Atlanta slip and fall cases is also dependent on the property owner acting reasonably in light of what they are aware of or what they should have been aware of.
Safety Requirements in Atlanta
Atlanta has different requirements, codes, and ordinances that might relate to specific sorts of premises and the duties they have, but the overarching legal duty that premises owners have in Atlanta is to act reasonably to attempt to provide for safe premises. That means they must act in a fashion that is reasonable considering:
- what they are aware of occurring on the premises
- what they are aware of that occurred in the past
- what may occur in the future based on the nature of the premises and the activities thereon.
Whether a premises owner is acting reasonably based on that information is the ultimate question of liability.
When Judges Reject a Slip and Fall Case
The most common reasons that slip and fall cases are rejected by judges is the lack of notice. A premises owner is not required to ensure that there are never slip or trip hazards on the premises; their duty is to act reasonably in preventing them. That requires that they act if they have knowledge of the hazard. They could also be liable if they can be considered to have constructive knowledge of a hazard. Constructive knowledge means they may not have had actual knowledge of it, but they failed to have an appropriate procedure in place for inspecting the premises and should have had knowledge. If there is no evidence that the hazard was present on the premises for an extended period and the premises owner denied having been aware of it, a plaintiff can be faced with a challenge in establishing that they either had knowledge of it or should have been aware of it.
The other thing that can lead to cases being rejected is if an individual slips, trips, or falls and does not know what caused it. If they are unable to establish that the hazard caused the fall, their case may be dismissed.
Types of Compensation Awarded in Atlanta
Those suffering from a slip and fall injuries may have the right to receive compensation for various expenses resulting from the fall. They may be entitled to an award to cover the cost of medical bills and expenses such as household aids. They also frequently receive payments to cover lost income from time off work in the past and projected into the future, as well as money to cover diminished income potential.
Those filing claims in slip and fall cases may also recover damages for intangible consequences of their fall such as pain and suffering endured and loss of enjoyment of activities.
Facts An Individual Must Prove to Obtain Recovery
For an individual injured in a slip and fall accident to receive compensation, they must be able to prove that their injuries were a direct result of someone else’s negligence.
First, they must show the owner of the property knew or should have known about a dangerous condition that led to the accident. For example, a landlord might not have known that a stair was loose, but if they exercised due diligence and inspected the property regularly, they should have known about it.
In addition, the injured party must demonstrate lack of awareness about the dangerous condition. In the above example, the person slipping on the loose stair may not have been able to detect it because the there was no sign.
Get Help from an Atlanta Slip & Fall Lawyer Today
A person should contact an attorney immediately following an Atlanta slip and fall accident. In such a case, it is important to preserve evidence of the conditions and the hazard. There may be surveillance tapes and documents that might not be preserved properly or could even be destroyed. It is also important that all potentially culpable defendants promptly be put on notice of the potential claim and given notice of their responsibility to preserve any and all information and evidence that may relate to the incident. A failure to do this can lead to irreplaceable evidence being destroyed in a case.
The lawyer could analyze this information, identify all the avenues for gathering other sources of information, and then investigate and preserve information related to the claim. If you suffered a slip and fall injury, you should contact a slip and fall lawyer in Atlanta to discuss your case. An attorney could be vital in helping you recover the compensation you deserve.
When you work with an experienced Atlanta slip and fall lawyer, you may be able to find peace of mind knowing an attorney could work with you and take all the necessary steps to help you obtain your rightful recovery. Call today to learn how an attorney could help.