Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common causes of personal injuries. Many scenarios can lead to a slip and fall, such as damaged walkways, ignored leaks and spills, and patches of ice. If you slip and fall, you may believe it’s your own fault. However, falls on another’s property that are the result of improper maintenance maybe eligible for compensation.
In these situations, the victim must prove the blame for the accident rests with the property owner to receive compensation. Improper lighting, uneven sidewalks, ice in front of an entryway, or a spill in a grocery store are all examples of failed owner responsibility. Depending on the scenario, it may be difficult for you to prove the fault lies with the property owner.
Property Owner’s Duty to Maintain Reasonably Safe Conditions
Georgia has no specifically detailed rule on what qualifies as trying to maintain reasonably safe conditions. However, property owners must put forth some effort to maintain safety, whether it be in repair action, maintaining cleanliness, or putting up proper warning signs. The court will often balance a case between the property owner’s effort and the victim’s care when walking on the scene.
Was the Accident Preventable?
If the property owner did not act to prevent the situation that caused the fall, blame may rest with him or her. For example, if a spill occurs in a restaurant and the staff did not try to clean the mess and put up warning signs in a timely manner, the restaurant would be responsible in the event of a slip and fall accident.
Conversely, more blame may fall with victims if they did not exercise due caution. For example, if you were on their phone instead of paying attention to posted warnings, you would be responsible for your own fall and likely would not receive any compensation for the accident.
Determining Liability in Slip and Fall Accidents
If you have been in a slip and fall accident and have suffered harm, then you and your attorney will likely need to prove one of the following scenarios to win your claim:
- The property manager or an employee should have known about the conditions and tried to fix it, as another “reasonable” person would have done.
- The property manager or an employee did know about the conditions and did not fix it.
- The property manager or an employee caused the dangerous conditions.
The second two situations are easier to prove. However, most property managers maintain correct upkeep of their premises, so the first scenario is one of the most common in slip and fall cases. It is also the trickiest to prove, as it is difficult to show that a property manager or employee should have known about any dangerous conditions.
Steps You Can Take to Support Your Case
No matter what type of scenario you are trying to prove, you can take certain actions to better improve your chances of winning your claim.
Following your accident, you should seek medical care. Your injuries could be more severe than immediately recognizable, and medical records can help show the extent of your injuries.
You should also report your accident to the property manager or a member of staff. Often places have their own procedures for accidents in place, which can require documentation. Any forms can provide a confirmation on the property or facility’s part that an accident took place.
Taking pictures of the scene following the accident is also important, especially if you are trying to prove a piece of faulty equipment or improper maintenance as the cause of your injuries. The property may fix damages or malfunctions before a proper investigation, so it is important to have evidence of what caused your fall. Collecting witness information can also help your case.
Personal injury cases can lead to a lot of financial and personal damages. If you are considering filing a claim, speak with an attorney following the accident so that you do not pass the time limit to pursue your case. A lawyer can help you determine fault and pursue your rightful compensation in court.