Slips and falls can cause serious injuries. The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) assesses that slip and fall accidents are the cause of more than one million emergency room visits in the U.S. each year. If you slip and fall at a Georgia business, that company may be legally responsible for your injuries. However, liability is not automatically imposed. You must prove that the negligence of the business caused your slip and fall accident. Here, our Atlanta premises liability attorney provides an overview of the key things to know about proving fault in a slip and fall accident claim in Georgia.
A Slip and Fall Accident Claim is a Premises Liability Case
Slip and fall accidents fall under the umbrella of premises liability law in Georgia. Broadly explained, premises liability is a legal concept that holds property owners and property occupiers—including businesses—can be held responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on their premises. However, they never bear strict liability. A business in Georgia is only liable for a premises liability case—such as a slip and fall accident—if there is a finding of negligence. In other words, businesses in Georgia have a duty to keep their premises in reasonably safe condition. They can be held liable for accidents that happen as a consequence of their failure to do so.
An Overview of the Elements of Slip and Fall Accident Liability in Georgia
What are the elements of a successful slip and fall accident claim in Georgia? Under state law, a victim in a slip and fall accident will need to be able to satisfy the following four required elements to prove liability:
- Duty of Care: The business had a duty of care to maintain safe premises for visitors. Notably, businesses in Georgia have a heightened duty of care for customers and other guests. They owe very limited duties to trespassers.
- Breach of Duty: The business breached this duty by allowing a hazardous condition to exist on the property. A breach of a duty of care occurs when a business fails to maintain conditions that are as safe as an ordinary business would provide in similar circumstances.
- Causation: Slip and fall accident liability is only imposed to the extent that the hazardous condition directly caused the victim’s slip and fall accident.
- Damages: Finally, the victim must have suffered actual damages to bring a successful slip and fall accident claim against a business in Georgia. Some examples of damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Common Slip and Fall Safety Hazards that Could Be Deemed Negligence
There are various hazards that, if left unaddressed by a business, could be deemed negligence in a slip and fall case. Some notable examples of slip and fall hazards at businesses in Georgia include:
- Wet or Slippery Floors: This is one of the most common causes, often due to spills, recent mopping, or leaks.
- Cluttered Walkways: When aisles or walkways are cluttered with debris or merchandise, it can create tripping hazards.
- Poor Lighting: Insufficient lighting can prevent individuals from seeing and avoiding potential hazards.
- Uneven Surfaces: Examples include uneven flooring, torn carpeting, or irregularities in walking surfaces that aren’t clearly marked.
- Loose or Missing Handrails: Stairways should have sturdy handrails. A loose or missing handrail can lead to falls.
- Weather-Related Hazards: Failing to address ice, snow, or rain that accumulates at entryways can cause slip and fall accidents.
Every Serious Slip and Fall in Georgia Requires a Thorough Investigation
After a serious slip and fall accident at a business in Georgia, it is crucial that your case is proactively and thoroughly investigated by an experienced premises liability attorney. You cannot rely on a business or its insurance company to look out for your best interests. Among other things, a comprehensive investigation of a slip and fall accident involves gathering evidence—such as photographs of the accident scene, statements from witnesses, surveillance footage, etc. Our Atlanta, GA slip and fall accident lawyers are more than ready to take action to prove liability and take action to help you maximize your settlement or verdict.
Set Up a Free Consultation With a Top Atlanta, GA Slip and Fall Accident Attorney Today
At Lourie, Chance, Forlines, Carter & King, PC, our Atlanta premises liability attorneys have deep experience handling complex slip and fall accident claims. If you or your loved one was hurt in a slip and fall, we are here to help you take action to hold the responsible business or property owner accountable. Contact us right away for your free, no strings attached case review. From our law offices in Atlanta and Augusta, we handle slip and fall accident cases throughout Georgia.