Slip & Falls
“Slip and fall” accidents usually involve a scenario where 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, and are most often caused by wet floors, but can also be caused by poor lighting near uneven stairs or steps, uneven or broken flooring, weather-related hazards such as snow or ice, especially black ice, or by other non-obvious hazards.
A fall on a premises can occur anywhere at any time but most frequently we see them occur at department stores, in parking lots, grocery stores and often on 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
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, the owner is under no duty to discover and then remove the hazard unless there is evidence that this had become an obvious hazard. This does not mean that a land owner or occupier has no duty to inspect its premises – it still has 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 its failure to inspect. Such an inspection must be a thorough one and an owner cannot get by with a perfunctory review of its 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 rain water 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.
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 so that the lawyer can immediately begin investigating and request that the property owner preserve all evidence and start talking to witnesses, including employees.
For further information about a slip, trip and fall injury, please contact McAleer Law today for a free consultation.