Slip & Falls
“Slip and fall” accidents usually involve a scenario in which a person is injured by slipping or tripping and falling due to a dangerous hazard on an owner’s premises.
Falls can, of course, occur inside and outside. Wet floors are a common culprit of this type of accident, but they are certainly not the only cause. Other common causes include:
- Poor lighting near uneven stairs or steps
- Uneven or broken flooring
- Weather-related hazards such as snow or ice, especially black ice
- Other non-obvious hazards
A slip-and-fall accident can occur anywhere, at any time, but most frequently we see them occur at
- Department stores
- Parking lots
- Grocery stores
- City sidewalks
While many, including insurance companies and their lawyers, don’t think slips and falls are serious matters, the consequences of a fall can be devastating, even deadly. A slip-and-fall accident may result in closed head or brain trauma, injuries to the spine, shoulder injuries, wrist and hand injuries, knee injuries, coccyx fractures, as well as muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries.
We handle many different types of slip-and-fall cases, such as:
- General failures to correct hazardous or dangerous conditions
- Dangerous sidewalks, such as uneven sidewalks, cracks in the sidewalk, and potholes
- Dangerously slippery, wet floors
- Failure to warn of hazardous or dangerous conditions
- Defective stairs cases, broken steps or stair treads, and dangerous stairwells
- Slip and fall injuries caused by landlord negligence, e.g., apartments or condos, dorms, etc.
- Defective lighting, e.g., inadequate, non-functioning or complete lack of lighting
Property owners and businesses are not always liable for hazards on their premises. For example, consider when a foreign substance which can become a hazard is one that is naturally occurring, such as ice, snow, wet leaves, etc., and when the accumulation is not the fault of the landowner. In this case, the owner is under no duty to discover and then remove the hazard — unless there is evidence that an obvious hazard had developed.
Liability in Slip and Fall Cases in Georgia
This does not mean that a landowner or occupier has no duty to inspect their premises — they still have the duty to inspect. If a reasonable inspection had uncovered a hazard caused by the natural accumulation of ice, for instance, then the owner will still have liability for their failure to inspect. Such an inspection must be a thorough one, and an owner cannot get by with a perfunctory review of their premises. There is no bright line test as to what constitutes a reasonable inspection — it will depend on many factors that are examined on a case-by-case basis.
Beware of rainwater! Georgia courts have routinely held that when people enter buildings in rainy conditions this water is tracked in the building, and it is common knowledge that these areas will be hazardous. This does not mean that all falls caused by rainwater accumulation are doomed to fail; rather, it just makes for a much more difficult case because a plaintiff must prove that the landowner had superior knowledge of such a hazard.
Challenges with Slip and Fall Cases in Atlanta
Slip or trip and fall cases are some of the hardest cases to prove because, generally, there is little evidence for a victim to go on. The victim will not typically know, for instance, how long a hazard was present before he was injured. It is important to hire a slip-and-fall lawyer as soon as possible, so that they may immediately begin investigating.
Your attorney will request that the property owner preserve all evidence. They will then start talking to witnesses, including employees. As the case proceeds, they will ensure that you know your rights and the best steps to take to get the best results possible for your case.
For further information about a slip-and-fall injury, please contact McAleer Law today for a free consultation.