What happens in Georgia if you trip or slip, fall, and become injured on someone else’s private property – in a hotel, a shopping mall, a supermarket, or a parking area, for example? Can you be compensated? Will you need advice you can trust from an Atlanta premises liability lawyer?
“Yes” is the answer to both of those questions, but keep reading, because anyone can be seriously injured on someone else’s property.
If you’re hurt in a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall incident, a swimming pool accident, or even if someone’s dog bites and injures you on private property, after you’ve been examined and treated by a medical professional, discuss the case with a Georgia premises liability attorney.
Any person who has been injured on private property because the property owner was negligent is entitled under Georgia law to complete compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, personal pain and suffering, and all other related losses.
HOW SHOULD YOU REPORT AN INJURY ON PRIVATE PROPERTY?
How you report an injury on private property hinges on exactly where the accident and injury happened. Try to inform the owner of the property or the property, facility, or store manager. Large retailers, hotels, restaurant chains, and theme parks have accident report forms pre-printed.
When you submit an accident report, keep it brief, stick with the facts, and say nothing that makes you look liable or negligent. Consult your lawyer before making a formal statement, signing an insurance or legal document, or accepting any settlement offer.
WHAT DETAILS WILL YOUR LIABILITY ATTORNEY NEED?
If you’re injured in an accident on private property, no attorney will be there to offer advice, but you must start gathering basic evidence at once.
You need to put in writing:
1. exactly how you were injured
2. the location, time, and date of the incident
3. the name of the doctor or healthcare facility that examined and treated you
4. the names of eyewitnesses (if any)
5. the name of anyone who received your accident report
If you choose to take legal action against the property owner to recover damages, your lawyer will require these details during your first legal consultation.
WHY IS AN IMMEDIATE MEDICAL EXAMINATION SO IMPORTANT?
Even if there’s only a slight possibility that you’ve been hurt in a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall incident, an immediate medical exam is imperative. Some injuries can be hard to detect, and some injuries may remain latent for weeks and suddenly surface as a severe medical condition.
An immediate medical exam after a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall injury also creates medical records that you’ll need should you later decide to pursue a claim for premises liability.
Without an immediate medical examination – within the first 24 hours after the accident – if you file a claim for damages, a property owner’s lawyers may insist that your injuries aren’t serious if you failed to seek immediate treatment – and a jury might agree.
WHAT ELSE WILL YOU NEED TO PREVAIL WITH AN INJURY CLAIM?
If you can, you should also take photographs of the accident site and the exact spot where your injury occurred. Try also to obtain the names and contact details for any witnesses. If you bring a premises liability action, your lawyer may need statements and testimony backing up your claim.
If your clothes were torn during the accident, or if there is blood evidence on your clothes, don’t wash them. Save them and tell your attorney. In many premises liability cases, the victim’s clothes can point to the truth about the cause of the accident and injury.
If you are injured in a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall incident on someone else’s private property, you will probably be contacted by that property owner’s insurance company. Refer those calls to your lawyer – an experienced negotiator who’s familiar with the tactics insurance companies use.
HOW ARE PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIMS RESOLVED?
It’s rare when premises liability cases go to court. Typically, the lawyers for the two sides privately work out an arrangement that’s acceptable to everyone who’s involved. Many businesses are anxious to resolve these cases quickly to avoid any potentially negative publicity.
But if an acceptable settlement offer is not made during the out-of-court negotiations, your lawyer may recommend taking your case to court. To prevail at trial with a premises liability claim, the injured victim’s lawyer must show that:
1. The owner of the property failed to keep the property safe.
2. The property owner’s failure constituted negligence.
3. That negligence directly caused the victim’s injury.
In premises liability trials, if a property’s owner could have averted an injury by repairing a hazard, and the owner did not make that repair while knowing about the condition and having the time to make the repair, the owner will be held liable and ordered to pay damages to the victim.
WHAT IS THE DEADLINE FOR TAKING LEGAL ACTION?
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for a premises liability claim is two years, but if you’re injured, do not wait two years. Put the right premises liability lawyer on the case from the beginning – as soon as you’ve been examined and treated for your injuries.
You need to act promptly because evidence can deteriorate over time or even disappear. Memories fade, and witnesses move away or become hard to find. The sooner you put a premises liability attorney to work for you, the more likely it is that your injury claim will prevail.
JUSTICE MAY COST LESS THAN YOU THINK
If you do not think that you can afford a good attorney’s help, consider this. Your first consultation with a premises liability attorney in Georgia entails no cost or obligation.
This state’s injury lawyers work on a contingent fee basis, so you’ll pay no fees to any attorney unless your injury claim prevails and until you are compensated. The contingent fee system gives every injured victim of negligence a chance to seek justice through the legal system.
You’ve been reading the basics about premises liability cases in Georgia, but each case is unique, so you’ll need to have the right Atlanta premises liability lawyer explain your rights and explain how premises liability law applies in your personal circumstances.
You can’t take any risks with your health and your future, but if you are a victim of negligence in Georgia, the law is on your side, so do not hesitate to obtain legal help – and put the law to work for you.