If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, experienced slip and fall attorneys in Atlanta at The Graham Firm can help you get the full and fair compensation you deserve for your medical care expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.
A slip and fall injury is exactly what it sounds like: a type of injury caused by someone slipping (or tripping) and subsequently falling. When we hear the term “slip and fall” in the legal context, the term is often in regards to a premises liability lawsuit. A lawsuit for a slip and fall injury is a civil claim for monetary damages where the injured victim (plaintiff) sues the property owner/lessor (defendant), based on a claim that they were negligent in either creating a condition or not correcting a condition.
What to Do Immediately After a Slip and Fall Accident
If you fell and suffered an injury that warranted a trip to an emergency room, caused a broken bone, or required surgery, you should immediately:
- Preserve Evidence of the Dangerous Condition: Unlike a car accident, police do not typically respond to a slip and fall accident, so you do not have the standard law enforcement report. You must preserve evidence to the best of your ability. Take photos/videos of the dangerous condition and your injuries, and note the specific time and location. Ask that any surveillance footage be preserved. Get the contact information for witnesses.
- Get Medical Care: Go to the emergency room or urgent care and get medical treatment. Call emergency services and request an ambulance if necessary.
- Call a Slip and Fall Lawyer: Speak to an Atlanta slip and fall attorney about your potential case.
Liability for a slip and fall can be based on the defendant’s ownership of the premises, their control of the premises (such as leasing a storefront), or both owning and controlling. In Georgia, cities and towns may be liable for injuries due to defects in streets or on sidewalks.
Slip and Fall Accident Statistics and Injuries
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 800,000 patients each year are admitted to hospitals because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or a hip fracture. Below are several other statistics provided by the CDC:
- One out of five falls results in a severe injury such as a head injury or broken bones.
- Falling causes more than 95% of hip fractures.
- Falling is the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries in the United States.
Slip and fall accidents often result in FOOSH injuries, a term ER doctors have coined to stand for “Fallen Onto Outstretched Hand.” FOOSH injuries often result in wrist fractures, scaphoid fractures, or other fractures to bones in the hand. Other types of injuries that may result in a slip and fall accident include:
- Head injuries
- Hip fractures
- Broken bones
- Torn ligaments
- Cuts and bruises
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Shoulder injuries
Elderly adults are especially vulnerable to slip and fall injuries, and having one fall makes them at an increased risk of future falls. Along with age, the severity of injuries will vary greatly depending on the way you fall, and the force of your impact with the ground. In some cases, fall injuries can cause permanent disability.
Most Common Types of Slip and Fall Accidents
A wide variety of dangerous and hazardous conditions and cause injuries. Some of the most frequent causes of slip and fall accident injuries in Georgia include:
- Equipment left in a walkway
- Trash left in a walkway
- Unsecured extension cords
- Loose, worn, or curled carpeting
- Wet or slippery floors
- Uneven flooring surfaces
- Broken floor tiles
- Accumulations of melted snow
- Inadequate lighting
- Improperly maintained stairways.
If you would like to know if you have a valid premises liability claim for your injuries, talk to our slip and fall accident attorneys in Atlanta at The Graham Firm about your legal rights and options. We will evaluate the nature of the accident and your injuries, and explain your options to file a claim.
How Does A Slip And Fall Case Work?
In Georgia, if you are injured at a business, residence, school, or public property, your case must meet several elements in order to recover compensation. You must prove:
- The property owner/occupant had a duty to keep the property safe
- The property owner/occupant failed at that duty to keep the property safe
- The failure to keep the property safe caused your injury
- Your injuries resulted in financial damages.
Just because you fell on private or public property does not mean you will automatically be compensated. The owner of a property is only responsible for your injuries if you, the injured person, can demonstrate specific elements:
- The property owner/occupant had actual knowledge (they knew) or constructive knowledge (they should have known) of the hazard or condition that caused the fall.
- You did not know about the hazard or condition, despite your exercise of care.
If you were careless and being negligent yourself, you will not be entitled to compensation. For example, if you were walking around a Publix store talking on FaceTime, and slipped on a slippery patch of the floor next to a “wet floor” sign where an olive oil spill had been freshly cleaned up, you would likely not have a claim.
Defense counsels for businesses and insurance companies will fight slip and fall accident lawsuits, doing everything they can to deny or devalue your claim and offer you as little as possible. Although a fair settlement is most desirable, we thoroughly prepare every personal injury case as if it will go to trial, and will take your case to trial if necessary. At The Graham Firm, our lawyers are well known as skilled negotiators and aggressive litigators, with a long history of successful case results.
Can I Sue For Slip And Fall?
A slip and fall lawsuit can be brought against an individual, a company, a non-profit organization, or a government agency, such as a school district. A premises liability claim can be brought from a number of types of slip and fall accidents in Georgia, including accidents caused by a dangerous condition, resulting in serious injury, where there was no actual “slipping.” The types of premises liability accidents we handle include:
- Accidents at public and private schools
- Airbnb / private vacation rental accidents
- Apartment and condominium balcony collapse accidents
- Escalator accidents
- Airport accidents
- Falling merchandise accidents
- Fires on property accidents
- Convenience store/gas station accidents
- Construction site accident
- Grocery store accidents
- Gym and fitness center accidents
- Hotel, resort, and spa accidents
- Movie theater accidents
- Office building accidents
- Negligent security accidents
- Stadium and arena accidents
- Swimming pool accidents.
After any Georgia slip and fall accident, getting prompt medical attention is critical and must be prioritized. Do not decline going to the hospital or wait until the next day to see if you feel better. When you pursue a personal injury claim, your medical record, including your emergency room visit, is necessary documentation for your claim. If your doctor prescribes a follow-up visit to your primary care provider or a specialist, be sure to follow all recommendations.
Georgia Laws For Property Owners
The following laws may apply to Georgia property owners regarding slip and fall accidents:
Ga. Code Ann. §51-3-1 (2010) - Owner or Occupier Bound to Keep Premises Safe for Invitees
Where an owner or occupier of land, by express or implied invitation, induces or leads others to come upon his premises for any lawful purpose, he is liable in damages to such persons for injuries caused by his failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.
Contact a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury attorney to discuss your rights and determine if you may be entitled to compensation.
Slip and Fall Accident Statute of Limitations
Georgia has a statute of limitations that applies to slip and fall accident claims. Georgia Code section 9-3-33 states: "Actions for injuries to the person shall be brought within two years after the right of action accrues." In other words, after an accident, an injury must be filed within two years. This applies to privately owned and public properties, with the exception of government properties.
If you are injured on government property, such as county or city property, or at a public school, you must give notice of the claim within 12 months of the injury. Your notice must be given in writing, and you must follow very specific requirements for who the notice must be sent to, how it is delivered, and what the notice contains (see GA Code § 50-21-26).
Following an accident causing serious injury, it’s always best to contact slip and fall attorneys in Atlanta promptly. Don’t wait until the last minute to file a claim. Many cases can be settled without filing a lawsuit, but after the statute of limitations deadline passes, defendants will not be willing to negotiate because the case would not hold up in court.
Accidents Caused by Static or Permanent Defects
Slip and fall accidents can occur from a fresh hazard or defect (like a liquid spill), or something that has been present a long time. A long-existing defect is known as a static defect. Examples of static defects include:
- High curbs
- Open manholes or grates
- Potholes or sunken depressions
- Sidewalk cracks or buckling
- Slippery surfaces without traction or tread
- Steep ramps or walkways
- Steps are that are too long, too short, or too tall
- Uneven heights between curb and pavement
- Uneven steps on stairs.
If your injury occurred as a result of a static defect, a key issue to your case will be whether you have visited the premises before. If someone has encountered a dangerous static defect previously, they may be presumed to know about it.
How Can The Graham Firm Help With Your Slip And Fall Case?
At The Graham Firm, we have the best slip and fall attorneys in Atlanta to get you the maximum compensation available, while providing you with the highest level of service. While you focus on healing, we will fight for maximum compensation. Our case results are a testament to our experience and knowledge in premises liability and personal injury litigation. Call us today and see why clients and other attorneys recommend us to their friends and colleagues.
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