Slip and Falls
In some cases, slip and fall accidents don’t inflict any serious harm. However, in other cases, these accidents can lead to critical injury and even death. Marietta slip and fall accident lawyer Norman Miller can provide you with the resources, information, and representation you need if you or someone you know was injured in a slip and fall incident while on another’s property.Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are typically considered “premises liability” cases. A slip and fall accident is exactly what it sounds like – it is when an individual slips, trips, or falls on another person’s property. In Georgia, property owners owe certain duties to those who enter their land. The duty varies depending on the relationship between the landowner and the visitor, and thus, not every slip and fall accident will result in the owner being liable. Under Georgia law, property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees, and then to a licensee, and then to trespassers to whom there is virtually no duty in most cases.
If a visitor is on someone’s land for a business purpose then that visitor is considered an invitee. A landowner’s duty to an invitee is to exercise ordinary care and make sure the property is generally safe and free of any dangerous conditions. Here, a property owner may be liable if he knew or should have known about the dangerous condition through the exercise of ordinary care.
A licensee is a visitor who has been invited onto the property but has not entered the property for business or commercial reasons. An example of a licensee is a social guest. The duty of care owed to a licensee is much lower than the duty owed to an invitee in that the property owner is only liable to a licensee for willful and wanton injury.
A trespasser is someone who neither has express or implied permission to enter the property. The duty owed to a trespasser is less than an invitee or a licensee. One exception to this may be circumstances involving children where the property owner has something on his land that is man-made, inherently dangerous, and appealing to children. This is known as the “attractive nuisance” doctrine. If the property owner is aware of an attractive nuisance, a child’s status increases from a trespasser to a licensee and, therefore, the duty owed to that child increases as well.
Under Georgia law, in order to have a valid slip and fall accident claim, the injured person must prove the following:
- The property owner owed the visitor a duty;
- The property owner breached his duty by failing to exercise ordinary care toward the visitor;
- The property owner’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the harm;
- The visitor sustained actual injuries as a result of the slip and fall accident.
For example, the owner of a grocery store has a duty to maintain aisles that are free of any hazards. If there is a hazard in the aisle that leads to a customer becoming injured, then that customer may have a valid premises liability claim against the grocery store owner.What Causes Slip and Fall Accidents?
Although each slip and fall accident is different, some of the most common reasons for these accidents include the following:
- Broken, uneven, or slippery surfaces such as a floor, ramp, sidewalk, or staircase
- An unrepaired leak
- A spill that has not been cleaned up
- Proper safety signs are not used
- Unlit walkways
- Hazardous obstructions in aisles or hallways
- Understaffed facilities
- Dim or insufficient lighting
It is important to remember that not every slip and fall accident will give rise to a premises liability claim against the property owner. However, if you have consulted an experienced attorney who believes you have a viable claim, then that attorney may visit the scene of the accident to gain a better understanding of how the incident took place by taking photographs, questioning witnesses, and trying to access any surveillance or documentation of the accident.
Since proving a slip and fall case depends heavily on gathering evidence, it is best to contact an attorney as soon as the incident occurs so that witnesses don’t forget key details of the case and evidence doesn’t get lost or destroyed.Helping You Seek Compensation for Your Injuries
At Miller Legal Services, Marietta premises liability attorney Norman Miller has the experience to handle your slip and fall accident case. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident on someone else’s property, then you may have a valid claim and be entitled to relief. Call us at 770-284-3727 or contact us online for a free, no obligation consultation today.