SLIP-AND-FALL CASES IN ATHENS, GEORGIA
Causes of Slip-and-Falls
Athens slip-and-fall cases usually arise after someone slips or trips on someone else’s property. These accidents often lead to emergency room visits and severe injuries. Sadly, many of these incidents are entirely preventable. Owners or managers of property should take steps to protect you from a slip-and-fall injury.
There are several common causes of slip-and-falls that injure individuals regularly. One frequent cause is wet floors. The slippery surface can be challenging to walk on even when you see a warning sign and know that the floor is wet. If you walk into a room and do not anticipate that the floor will be wet or slippery, you may be even more likely to slip and hurt yourself.
Many slip-and-fall incidents take place on staircases. A broken step or a missing handrail can increase the chance of something going wrong. Falling on a staircase can lead to severe injuries and even life-threatening harm. Another possible cause of slip-and-falls is poor lighting, which can make it difficult for you to identify obstacles or objects on the ground that could cause you to trip. If a stairwell is poorly lit, you may have a hard time seeing the steps well enough, and you could injure yourself by missing a step and losing your balance.
Other common causes of slip-and-falls include:
- Uneven surfaces
- Loose floorboards
- Cracked sidewalks
- Torn carpets
- Slippery surfaces due to weather conditions (e.g. rain, snow, or ice)
Of course, many of these incidents are nothing more than a minor accident that may cause bruises or scraped knees. However, other times the results can be life-altering or require significant medical care and recovery time. In many situations, the property owner or manager is responsible for keeping the property relatively safe. If you suffer any of these types of injuries, the property owner or manager might owe you compensation.
Common Slip-and-Fall Injuries in Athens
There are several types of falls that can lead to slip and fall injuries in Athens. Older individuals tend to face a greater risk of sustaining more serious harm due to a fall. However, anyone can experience extreme injuries if they fall in the wrong way.
If you have a severe slip-and-fall accident, you could suffer from any of the following fall-related injuries:
- Head injuries, concussions, or traumatic brain injuries
- Broken hips
- Broken back, neck, or other spinal cord injuries
- Knee or elbow injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Other broken bones or fractures
When it comes to severe brain injuries, the true extent of the harm might not be immediately present. However, if you strike your head, you can experience long-term effects. Spinal cord injuries may also lead to lifelong, debilitating harm, including paralysis. These types of accidents can forever impact your ability to work and support yourself. Because of this, you may be able to recover significant financial help for yourself and your family if you pursue a claim against the responsible party following a severe slip-and-fall accident.
Falls on Commercial vs. Residential Property
Under Georgia law, the level of care that property owners must apply to prevent harms differs depending on what type of property they own.
Georgia law gives the highest level of protection to those on the premises for business reasons, such as customers at a shop. Such visitors are called “invitees,” according to legal terminology. Property owners have to take reasonable steps to ensure that conditions on the property are safe for these visitors. The duties of a property owner include inspecting the premises for the benefit of any invitees. If the owner knows or should know about the hazard, then they may be liable for failing to fix the issue. For example, imagine you slipped on a puddle of water in a store, and the puddle had been on the floor for five hours. A court may determine that the owner or employees failed to inspect the store for hazards often enough and breached their duty to protect customers against hazards. In that situation, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries.
Social guests fall into a separate legal category called “licensees.” In Athens, houseguests and door-to-door salespeople are licensees. If you have visitors to your home, you, as the property owner, still have a duty to protect them from hazards, but there is a lower standard than that for places of business. For your visitors, you are required to protect them from hazards that create unreasonable risks of injury, and are prohibited from willfully exposing them to unreasonable risk.
Unlike a business owner, you are not required to inspect your property for hazards. However, for example, if you know that the bottom step on your stairs is missing, you may have a duty either to replace the step to fix the issue or to warn your guests of the hazard to prevent them from falling in case they fail to notice that the step is missing.
Individuals who are on your property without permission are considered “trespassers” by the law. Even though you did not invite the trespasser to set foot on your land, you still owe them a duty of care. All that is required of you is that you avoid willfully or carelessly harming a potential trespasser. For example, if you dig a large pit on the edge of your property and leave it there without any barriers or warning signs, a court might consider your action careless especially if you live in an area where it is feasible that someone could come onto your property and get injured by falling into the pit.
Understanding Damages After an Athens Slip-and-Fall
Suppose you file a successful claim against a property owner in Athens after suffering injuries in a slip-and-fall. In that case, you may be able to collect damages for your medical bills, lost wages from time off of work due to the injuries, and, if your injuries are lasting, future lost earnings and future medical bills. You can also recover damages for pain and suffering, emotional trauma, disfigurement, and other losses that do not have a set, monetary value.
The damages available in your case will vary depending on the facts. Speaking to a personal injury lawyer in Athens may help you better understand the value of your claim.
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Statute of Limitations
If you suffer injuries in any type of accident, including a slip-and-fall, you should remember that you only have a certain amount of time to file a claim. This deadline is called the statute of limitations. Georgia law requires you to file any personal injury claim within two years of the accident. Limits may be shorter if you are bringing a case against a government entity. It is wise not to wait until the end of the two years to speak to a lawyer. If you wait, you could lose track of witnesses. Physical evidence may become less noticeable. Other events may impact your ability to gather evidence and build your claim, so it is important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
Hiring an attorney early on in the process can also assist you in negotiating or speaking with insurance companies. Your lawyer can serve as an advocate for you and counsel you throughout the process.
Williams Elleby – Athens Slip-and-Fall Attorneys
Sustained an injury from a slip-and-fall in Athens, Georgia? After getting medical attention, it makes sense for you to promptly contact a personal injury attorney to determine your options. The skilled personal injury attorneys at Williams Elleby are well-versed at taking on property owners and their insurance companies in slip-and-fall cases. For a free consultation with a knowledgeable Williams Elleby attorney, call (833)-534-2542 or contact us online.