How Can I Prove Negligence Caused My Georgia Slip/Trip and Fall Injuries?

At Dermer Appel Ruder LLC, our Norcross premises liability attorneys know there is a lot of confusion about when a business owner or occupier is liable for injuries on their properties.

Georgia law requires that homeowners and commercial entities exercise reasonable care to keep their property safe for any “invitee” while they are approaching, exiting, or present on the premises.

Slip/Trip and Fall

Typically, that involves proving four essential legal elements are true in order to demonstrate that the property owner or occupier failed to meet a certain standard of care and that this failure was the direct cause of your injuries.

The Four Elements of Negligence in Premises Liability

There are four parts to proving negligence in a Georgia premises liability case.

  1. There Was a Duty of Care

Georgia Code § 51-3-1 specifically addresses the duty of property owners or occupiers and provides in material part that they must keep the premises and approaches safe for those they invite or lead onto their property. For example, if you are a customer entering a grocery store, the store’s owner or operator must ensure the premises are safe while you shop.

  1. The Duty Was Breached

If a property owner, operator, or occupant did not fix, prevent, or warn customers or visitors of a hazardous condition, they may have breached their duty of care. Using the grocery store example, customers can easily slip and fall without warning if freshly mopped floors are not clearly marked with “wet floor” signs. A grocery store can also breach its duty in failing to remove items from the walking surface that can cause a customer to stumble or fall.

  1. You Were Injured Because of the Breach of Duty

Besides showing that the store or property owner breached their duty, you must also prove that your injuries resulted from that breach. If you fell on a wet floor without warning because there was no wet floor signage in place, the injuries you sustained were directly caused by the lack of signage or warning that the floor was wet.

  1. Your Injuries Lead to Damages

Along with proving the property owner’s negligence led to your accident and injuries, you must also demonstrate the damages you suffered. Damages may include the medical bills or other expenses you incurred while out of work — resulting in lost wages — because of the injuries from the slip/trip and fall.  Damages also include your pain and suffering.

How Can I Help Strengthen My Georgia Premises Liability Claim?

Our Georgia premises liability attorneys know that these incidents often surprise the injured party, leaving them stunned and not initially able to identify that there was a hazard before it was too late and caused them harm. In reality, this is not your fault at all. It is the property owner’s duty to keep you safe from these types of incidents.

To help strengthen your claim and hold the property owner liable for their negligent actions or inaction:

  • Report the slip and fall to the property owner, manager, or whoever is in charge as soon as possible. Ensure that the incident is well documented, and obtain a copy of the report if one is generated.
  • Before leaving the premises and to the extent possible, determine the cause of the fall. Was there a spill that wasn’t cleaned up? a broken handrail? inadequate lighting? or uneven or poorly maintained flooring? Identifying the specific hazard is crucial to establishing negligence and the breach of duty
  • Document the scene of the fall as soon as possible. If your injuries allow, take photographs of the area, including the hazard that caused your fall, like thewet floor, uneven surface, or debris.
  • Collect contact information from any witnesses who saw the incident, including employees of the owner/operator. Witness statements can provide valuable testimony regarding the conditions during the fall and the property owner’s response. Equally important, if employees actually witnessed your fall, that is an important piece of information, as it shows that an employee was in the area and should have known of the hazard and addressed it before you fell.
  • Obtain medical attention promptly, even if your injuries seem minor initially. Take photographs of your injuries and record your medical treatment, including doctor visits, prescriptions, and rehabilitation or therapy sessions. Medical records are crucial evidence linking your injuries to the fall incident. Avoiding large gaps in treatment for your injuries is crucial.
  • Keep the footwear and clothing you wore at the time of your fall in the same condition as when the incident occurred. These items may serve as evidence of the conditions during the fall. To the extent you suffered a “slip”, the bottom of your shoes and their condition can show that the surface of your shoes did not cause or contribute to your fall and resulting injuries.

Contact Our Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in Norcross, Georgia

Slip or trip and fall and other premises liability incidents happen suddenly and without warning. Chances are the property owner or operator will usher you away from the location of your fall quickly before you have time to fully appreciate what happened. We can help ensure the proper party – or combination of parties – is held liable for your damages.

Contact our skilled premises liability attorneys in Georgia today by calling (404)-892-8884 or online to discuss your case during a free consultation.

We can assess the details of your case, guide you through the legal process, and help you gather the necessary evidence to establish negligence — including surveillance footage and maintenance and inspection records — that will help solidify your claim.

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