Slip and Fall Accidents

Atlanta Slip and Fall Accident Attorney

Most people, including many Atlanta injury lawyers who handle premises injuries refer to these cases as "slip and fall" accidents. However, the more appropriate term is "unsafe conditions" because the unsafe condition is what causes the fall and gives the proper grounds to base a lawsuit. Regardless of what they are called, most of these cases occur when someone falls and is seriously injured at a business, store, parking lot, apartment complex or even someone else's home. While the majority of unsafe conditions cases in Georgia are not serious, each year over 250,000 people suffer serious injuries and are rendered disabled after tripping and falling in a store or other business location. A relatively simple fall can result in catastrophic personal injuries. This can be especially true with children and the elderly, but is certainly not limited to them.

Why Timely Representation is Important

If you have been seriously injured in a slip and fall accident, timely representation is essential. Why? It is especially critical in slip and fall cases to perform a timely and thorough investigation. Photographs should be taken of the scene and witnesses should be interviewed, if possible. Many times, there is a video tape of the incident, as many stores and restaurants routinely video tape their establishments. It is important to notify the establishment immediately, in writing, of the incident and demand that all recordings be preserved. Many times the defendant will erase the recording even after being put on notice. This has happened many times in litigation against large store chains who have a reputation for trying to destroy evidence that is not helpful to them. In other words, if the video helps them, they will preserve it and not destroy it, but if it is harmful to their case, they will destroy it, even after being put on notice by Plaintiff's counsel that the evidence must be preserved and not destroyed (spoliation in legal terms). However, this does not work to the defendant's advantage, as there is a presumption that the evidence was damaging to them at trial if they erase the recording after receiving notice to preserve it. This presumption can also apply in situations where they have not been put on notice, but are aware that litigation is a distinct possibility. That is why hiring an experienced and thorough personal injury attorney who can quickly address these issues is critical.

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Every Georgia business or property owner (the "premises owner") has a "non-delegable" duty to keep the property in a safe condition and to warn visitors of any safety hazards or unsafe conditions. This means that the owner is ultimately responsible for keeping the premises safe and the owner cannot escape liability by claiming someone else was responsible for keeping everything safe. This duty extends to the entryways and exits of the business, which includes stairways, walkways, breezeways, decks, parking decks and parking lots. The premises owner is liable for injuries caused by unsafe conditions which the they knew or should have known created an unsafe condition. In addition, an "occupier" of the premises (often a renter or business leasing the space from the owner), has a similar duty to keep the property in a safe condition and to make reasonable inspections to protect invitees who enter the property. In such a situation, both the tenant and the landlord would be liable for an unsafe condition which causes an injury on the premises.

Common Causes of Slip and Falls on Premises

Many serious injuries are caused by inadequate lighting, a lack of warning signs, steps and handrails which do not comply with the applicable building code, uneven steps or unmarked bumps or dips in the walkway, slippery or wet floors, icy walkways that have not been cleared after storms, poor visibility, boxes falling on customers from over-stocked shelves, slippery conditions caused by food and other foreign objects in restaurants and supermarkets that are left on the floor, misaligned sidewalks, cracks in driveways, uneven walking surfaces, unsafe stairs or railings not built to code, and low objects which are not visible but jut into an aisle or walkway. Other types of common premises liability cases include serious dog bites, failure to properly repair unsafe conditions such as holes or bumps in the ground on the business premises and failure to exercise reasonable care for the safety of customers which results in criminal acts such as being shot or badly beaten in an unsafe parking lot. Unfortunately, too many customers become the victim of violent crimes such as rape, robbery and shooting caused by the premises owner not providing adequate security and reasonably safe conditions.

Common Slip and Fall Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are very common in slip and fall cases when customers trip and land on their head. Others suffer broken ankles, broken legs, torn knee ligaments, herniated discs in the neck and back, broken wrists, and torn rotator cuff injuries. Serious injuries usually result in large hospital bills, a lot of pain and suffering and lost wages.

If you would like to discuss your Georgia Slip and Fall Accident with an experienced attorney, call Robert J. Fleming directly at (404) 525-5150 or contact us online. We are here to help.

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