Suffering an injury can have a substantial impact on your life. Injuries can mean medical bills, lost income, and overall hardship. The most serious injuries can lead to a lifetime of doctors appointments and medical care. If your injury is a result of a slip-and-fall due to the negligence of another, you may be entitled to compensation. As soon as possible after a slip-and-fall injury, call an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss the facts of your case and to help ensure you receive any compensation that is legally owed to you.
What to do After a Slip and Fall Accident in Atlanta
Injuries from accidents are common. In the United States in 2015 alone there were 30.8 million emergency department visits for accidents according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The first thing you or a loved one should do after an injury is get proper medical attention right away. Call 911 if necessary. Once it is medically appropriate, be sure to take the following steps after your accident:
Obtain a Car Accident Report from the Police
Notify the property owner or manager of the fall and request a written report.
Thoroughly Document Your Car Accident Injuries
Write down as much as you can about the incident as soon as possible after you’re injured. Take note of the conditions of the location where the accident occurred, including anything that seems dangerous or unsafe. Take photos of the area and your injuries. If possible, also take note of any witnesses to the fall and request their names, addresses and contact information.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Immediately
The law is complex and slip-and-fall cases are no exception. Make sure you speak with an attorney before you give any statements to an insurance company or agree to sign any settlement documents. Statements made to an insurance company can be used against you at a later date should the case be litigated. Additionally, once you settle, your case is over and you cannot later go back to request more money should your injuries prove to be more serious than initially thought.
Modified Comparative Negligence in Georgia
Georgia follows the modified comparative negligence doctrine in personal injury cases. It provides that an injured victim has a duty to exercise reasonable care and if the victim’s own negligence contributes to the accident, any award of damages will be reduced by a percentage equivalent to the victim’s percentage of fault. It must be determined that the injured party was less than 50% at fault in order for him or her to pursue a slip-and-fall claim.
For example, imagine Mary slips and falls in a grocery store. The court finds that the storeowner was negligent, however, it also finds that Mary was not exercising reasonable care when she fell and that she was 20% negligent in causing her own fall. The court awards $20,000 in damages but the damage award will be reduced by 20% as a result of Mary’s comparative negligence. Mary’s damage award will be $16,000.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Slip-and-Fall Claim
In order to recover damages in a slip and fall case, you must prove negligence on behalf of the property owner or manager. A property owner owes a duty to others to maintain the property and to keep the environment safe, however, you, as the slip-and-fall victim, also owe a duty to exercise reasonable care. Examples of conditions that may contribute to a slip-and-fall include uncleaned spills, icy parking lots, cracks in sidewalks, slippery substances on the floor, and any other unmarked dangerous conditions.
If you are able to prove negligence in a slip-and-fall case, recoverable damages can include:
- Economic Damages – ambulance bills, medical bills, loss of income
- Non-Economic Damages – pain and suffering
- Punitive Damages – these types of damages are reserved for those cases where the property owner acted willfully or recklessly
How a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Slip-and-fall cases can be difficult to prove but your injuries are undoubtedly real. A qualified personal injury attorney can provide you with essential legal knowledge and guidance to help you recover compensation that may be legally owed to you. Call Ghiaasiaan & Briceno to speak with an experienced attorney and to discuss the unique facts of your case.