More than nine-million Americans suffer injuries from unintentional falls each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with older adults most vulnerable to fatalities and injuries. In addition, one out of five of those falls results in serious injuries such as broken bones or a head injury, with about 800,000 injured people hospitalized. Slip and fall accidents might occur at home, at work, or while going about your daily life.
Under Georgia law, property owners have a legal obligation to maintain a safe environment for visitors and warn them of any dangerous conditions. Property owners that fail to meet their legal obligations put others at risk.
If you sustained an injury in a slip and fall accident due to a property owner’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation related to your injuries. Call Hasner Law in Savannah at (912) 234-2334 to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case with one of our skilled slip and fall attorneys.
How Slip and Fall Accidents Occur
Multiple scenarios might result in an unintentional fall that leads to injury. Slip and falls typically include those who fall on a slippery surface or trip over a hazard.
Here are some dangerous situations that sometimes lead to slip and fall accidents:
- Concrete, ceramic tile, and natural stone floors that have been polished
- Uncleared snow, ice and debris from storefronts, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, etc.
- Failure to salt or sand icy spots
- Falling debris from a construction site or dilapidated building
- Broken steps, tiles, or floorboards
- Slippery floors as a result of wet or dry spills or product usage including water, cleaning supplies, melted snow, food, mud, sawdust, etc.
- Poorly maintained sidewalks and walkways
- Loose railings and handrails
Severe Injuries Might Result From a Slip and Fall
Slip and fall injuries vary greatly depending on the particular circumstances of the fall, but the most common injuries include:
- Broken bones, including wrists and arms which people often use to break their fall, legs, ankles, and more. Older adults are especially likely to break or dislocate a hip.
- Head injuries are especially common because many fall backward and hit their heads when they slip and fall, resulting in concussions and traumatic brain injuries.
- Sprains, strains, and tears of muscles and tendons and other soft tissue damage.
- Back and spinal cord injuries are less common, but do occur when someone slips and falls down a stairway or lands on another object, causing injury to the vertebrae.
- Falling often causes emotional trauma, especially in elders. Victims develop a fear of falling that keeps them from leaving their home and partaking in any activity where they might fall. This creates an unfortunate cycle where elders become weaker because of their lack of activity, putting them at risk for even more falls.
Recovering Damages After a Slip and Fall Accident
After a slip and fall accident occurs, injured victims might recover damages related to their injury from the property owner and/or his insurance carrier.
In Georgia, like many other states, punitive damages are rare and only awarded in the case of gross neglect or intentional harm. Compensatory damages for a slip and fall injury can include compensation for:
- Medical costs including emergency services, hospitalization, X-rays and other scans, pain medication and other prescriptions
- Rehabilitation costs including physical therapy and assistive devices such as walkers, canes, and wheelchairs
- Future medical costs for severe or catastrophic injuries
- Lost wages if a victim has to miss time from work
- Loss of earning capacity for a long-term disability that prevents a victim from returning to work
- Pain and suffering and other non-economic damages that might apply to your situation
Property Owners Will Try to Avoid Liability After a Slip and Fall
Homeowners’ and commercial insurance companies that cover property owners do not make money by paying out 100 percent of every claim they receive. When an insurance company denies your claim or offers you an inadequate settlement for injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident, contact a seasoned slip and fall attorney who can negotiate directly with the insurance company and take legal action, if necessary.
Expect the defense to use every tool in its arsenal to avoid some or all liability for your injuries. Georgia applies a modified comparative negligence rule to personal injury cases, which means that the court examines the extent to which you might be responsible for your own injury and reduces your award by the percentage fault that it assigns to you. In the event that you are found to be 50 percent or more at fault for your slip and fall accident, you are prohibited under Georgia law from collecting damages.
The following are some examples of arguments that the defense might make to shift blame to you for your own injuries:
- You were trespassing, so the property owner does not owe you a duty of care.
- You were walking in a prohibited area of the property.
- The hazard which led to your fall was marked and you ignored the posted warning.
- You weren’t paying attention because you were talking with another person, you were on your cell phone, or you were texting someone.
- You were wearing unsafe shoes—often in relation to walking on or near a construction site.
- You should have seen the hazard; it was obvious and any reasonable person would have seen it.
A skilled slip and fall attorney knows the ins-and-outs of Georgia law and will be prepared to defend you against these arguments.
Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney in Savannah Today
If you, your child, or an elder family member has been injured in a fall on someone else’s property, contact an experienced slip and fall lawyer at Hasner Law in Savannah at (912) 234-2334. Georgia law gives you two years to take legal action if you suffered an injury in a slip and fall, so it can be urgent that you discuss your case with a lawyer as soon as possible. Let a skilled personal injury attorney in Savannah guide you through the complex legal process while you work on making a full recovery.