I slipped and fell what do I do?
Published in Dog bites and Animal Attacks, Warning Signs?,Home Safety Tips, Prevent Accidents and Protect Yourself,Liability,Premises liability on July 12, 2017.
In Georgia, Slip or trip and fall accident, are considered in most cases are covered under premises liability. These cases commonly result in injuries caused by the owner or his custodian’s negligent maintenance of his or her property. In many cases, these falls may not seem serious at first; however, they can disrupt and have life changing effects on the innocent victims.
Depending upon the type of Fall, Injuries from a slip and fall vary and can include the following:
- broken bones;
- bruises or contusions to parts of body;
- injuries to one’s knee, back, and head, or
- a combination of these or others.
Premises liability cases are difficult to pursue because of the elements required by Georgia Statute 51-3-1. Furthermore, in Georgia, the burden of proving a premise liability rest with the injured party. Finally there are numerous types of premises liability claims and the elements vary depending upon the type of fall and specifically what caused the fall, and the type of injury the victim sustained. As stated above, this article will focus on the two most common types: Slip and Falls and Trip and Falls, and discuss the elements of each, and some helpful tips.
Slip and Falls
Slip and Fall accidents are by far the most common type of premise liability accident. These usually involve a person stepping in a substance and as the name implies you “slip and fall”. In this type of situation the injured party must show the following:
- What caused the slip and fall;
- That the owner knew or should have known of the hazardous condition;
- The owner failed to warn of the hazardous condition;
- That you were injured because of the hazard and the fall, and
- You suffered damages because of the injury.
It is important to emphasize that this statutory obligation extends only to persons deemed to be invitees. An “invitee” includes anyone who lawfully uses or comes on the premises. Moreover, the owner’s knowledge requirement can be “constructive” and is met if the injured party shows that reasonable inspection of the premises would have revealed the hazard. failure to meet any one of these elements may defeat your claim.
Trip and Falls
Trip and Falls accidents are very similar to Slip and Falls. However, there is one key difference. Trip and Falls generally involve a defect in the property, commonly called a “static defect”. In these type of situations the injured party must show the following:
- The defective condition of the premises presented an unreasonable risk of harm to a person;
- The risk of harm was reasonably foreseeable by the owner
- The owner had actual or constructive notice of the defect
- The you were injured by the defect despite exercising ordinary care, and
- You suffered damages because of the injury sustained.
What should I do if I fall?
As shown above, premise liability cases are very tricky and can result in difficult legal procedures. This can be very complicated because the victim has the burden of proving the elements, however, in most cases the owner, not the victim, has the necessary evidence. They know this, and do not give it up willingly. So what can you do to protect your claim?
5 tips to premise liability claims:
- Take pictures of the area where the fall occurred;
- Document the scene of the accident (persons present including witness or employees, placement of items, things you were wearing etc…)
- If witnesses are present take down their name and phone number, and ask if they can give you a statement
- Ask where the hazard came from, and if the owner know about it, and for how long, and
- Above all else, make an accident report, and get a copy of it.
Of the above listed tips, number 5 is the most important. Most places will not willingly give you a copy of the accident report. You have to ask for it. After you get it, review it, if you see that something is not correct, tell the owner to change it, or tell them you want to note your opinion on the report.
Common mistakes made in premise liability claims:
- You have one shot, if it was not written down, it did not happen;
- Reliance on video footage, many times no video exist, and;
- Not asking for medical attention, or seeking medical attention after the accident.
Slip and Fall and Trip and Fall accident are a small part of premise liability claims. If you have been injured on someone’s property due to their negligence, you owe it to yourself to see help from an experienced personal injury law firm. Premise liability claims are difficult and complex because the injured party shoulders the burden of proving each element. It is for this reason that you should seek guidance from an experienced personal injury attorney.