Atlanta Slip and Fall Lawyer
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates more than 8.5 million injuries from unintentional falls occurred in 2017, resulting in more than 800,000 hospitalizations. Older adults over age 65 are most at risk for a fatality or injury from a fall. In fact, more than 300,000 elders per year are hospitalized because of hip fractures caused by unintentional falls.
Slip and fall accidents might happen anywhere including at home, work, while dining out, grocery shopping, or during any other normal daily activity. Georgia law requires property owners to keep their property safe for visitors and to warn them of any known hazardous conditions. When property owners don’t maintain a safe environment, they put visitors at risk for slip and fall accidents, which also include trip and fall accidents.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident because a property owner failed to maintain a safe environment, Georgia law entitles you to take legal action to compensate you for your injuries. Contact Hasner Law in Atlanta at 678-888-HURT (4878) for a free consultation to share the details of your case with one of our experienced slip and fall lawyers.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Many situations might lead to a slip and fall accident, which occurs when someone loses their balance on a slippery surface or trips over a hazard in their path. Here are some hazardous scenarios that might lead to a severe slip and fall accident that requires legal action:
- Run-down buildings with loose steps, handrails, floorboards, tiles, etc.
- Uncleared ice, sand, trash, or debris near storefronts, in driveways, and in parking lots
- Wet products or spills that cause slippery floors like water, wax, cleaning products, oil, food, and more
- Dry products or spills that cause slippery floors including powders, sand, sawdust, and more
- Falling debris, which is especially common at construction sites
- Escalator and elevator malfunctions
- Uneven walkways, sidewalks, trails, and other walking paths
Visitor Status in Georgia Slip and Fall Cases
Georgia property owners have a legal duty of care towards those that visit their property. The extent of that duty and the extent to which a property owner might be liable for injury-related damages in civil court hinges on a visitor’s legal status when they are on the owner’s property. Like many other states, Georgia recognizes three types of visitor status:
Under Georgia law, property owners have the highest duty of care towards invitees. If a person who is expressly or implicitly invited on the land for the (usually commercial) benefit of the property owner sustains an injury, the property owner might be liable for damages if he or she did not “exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.” Examples of invitees are retail shoppers, guests at a restaurant or bar, music festival attendees at a public park, and more.
The duty that a property owner has towards a licensee is lesser than the duty owed to an invitee. According to Georgia law, the property owner’s only duty towards licensees is to protect them from willful or wanton injury. A licensee must not be a customer, servant, or trespasser, nor have a contractual relationship with the property owner. Additionally, the licensee must have express or implicit permission to be on the property for his or her own benefit. Invited licensees typically include social guest including friends and family. (In other words, confusing as it sounds, someone invited to a party is a licensee, not an invitee.) Uninvited licensees include salespeople, missionaries, and the worker that reads the electric meter each month, just to name few.
A trespasser is a person who has no permission to be on another party’s property. Property owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers. Georgia law only requires that owners do not actively injure, harm, or set traps for them.
When a Child Trespasser Slips and Falls in Georgia
Children represent an exception to the rule eliminating any duty of care a property owner owes to trespassers. If a child sustains an injury after a slip and fall accident while trespassing, the property owner may still be liable for damages in civil court. Visitor status is irrelevant for children because they are protected under the doctrine of attractive nuisance. Georgia law states five elements that must be present for the doctrine of attractive nuisance to apply to a case:
- The property owner knows or should know that children might trespass.
- The property owner knows and realizes, or should know and realize that his or her property involves risk of harm or fatality to children.
- A child would not understand the risk of the “nuisance” or trespassing near it.
- The responsibility to maintain property in a safe condition and eliminate dangers for children outweighs other considerations like the time and expense that may require.
- The property owner fails to protect children by exercising reasonable care and eliminating the danger.
The most commonly used examples of an attractive nuisance are swimming pools and trampolines, both of which might lead to a slip and fall accident for a child. Other examples include construction sites with piles of lumber, dirt, or sand; heavy machinery such as tractors; and abandoned appliances, cars, or anything else that a child might want to climb.
Contact a Skilled Atlanta Slip and Fall Lawyer Today
Sustaining a serious injury brings physical pain from the injury and recovery, emotional distress, and possibly financial hardship to victims and their families. When another party’s negligence leads to an injury, you shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden of medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
Instead, focus on rehabilitation and let a skilled attorney handle the details of your case during this challenging time. Our firm takes personal injury cases on a contingent fee basis, so our clients don’t have to pay out-of-pocket. Instead, we recover fees from any settlement or court-awarded verdict in our client’s favor. If you or your child have experienced a slip and fall accident because of a property owner’s failure to exercise the necessary care, contact the experienced slip and fall attorneys at Hasner Law in Atlanta at 678-888-HURT (4878) to learn about how we might be able to help you.