Slip and fall accidents are the most common type of personal injury case in Smyrna, Georgia. Slip and falls can happen anywhere. They can happen at work, a department store or a city parking lot. If you fall because somebody failed to keep their premises safe, you may have a claim against them. An experienced Smyrna slip and fall lawyer will get you the compensation you deserve.
It’s important to point out that not all falls result in a lawsuit. If you’re wearing stiletto heels and fall while walking through a construction site, it’s going to be hard to blame the site owner. Any reasonable person would wonder why you were wearing these kinds of shoes at a construction site. Likewise, if you’re walking home drunk one night and stumble on a curb, it’s hard to blame the property owner.
However, if you fall because of somebody’s negligence, chances are you’ll have a legitimate claim for damages. If you aren’t sure if you have a strong case, it’s a good idea to talk to an injury attorney. They will review your case and see if there is negligence. They will also determine if you suffered injuries that warrant compensation.
In order to file a claim against a property owner for a slip and fall, you need to prove that they were negligent. Negligence just means that somebody didn’t do what they were required to do. If you’ve fallen on someone’s property, the first thing you need to do is seek medical attention. Even if you don’t think you’re hurt, it’s a good idea. The second thing you need to do is call an experienced Smyrna slip and fall lawyer.
In order to recover under a slip and fall claim, your slip and fall attorney in Smyrna will need to prove the following:
If you aren’t able to prove all four elements, you may not be able to recover. Because most slip and fall claims are paid through insurance, your Smyrna slip and fall lawyer may be able to negotiate with the insurance company for you. In other words, if your case is weak on one of these elements, the insurance company may be willing to settle just to make your claim go away. It’s much easier to settle a claim than it is to deal with a lawsuit.
Here are some examples of slip and fall cases. One is a clear-cut case of negligence. The other is an example of a negligence claim that may not prevail in court.
Example 1: You are Christmas shopping with your mother. It’s snowing out and the roads are wet and slippery. You park in the department store lot and walk up to the store’s entrance. As you enter the store, you turn to get a shopping cart and slip and fall on a wet floor. You break your leg and injure your back. An ambulance takes you to the hospital for treatment. You contact one of the Smyrna slip and fall lawyers the next morning to discuss a possible lawsuit.
In this case, you have a clear example of negligence. The store owner should have kept the floors clean and dry, especially given the weather. They didn’t put any signs up warning of wet floors. They had to expect people would be entering the store, especially given the holiday season. You fell on a wet and slippery floor and got hurt. Your injuries were clearly the result of your fall.
Example 2: You are leaving a nightclub at 3 a.m. You have been drinking since 8 p.m and you are quite intoxicated. You and your friend decide to walk to the local diner a few blocks from the club, and you don’t mind the walk, despite your wearing 4-inch stiletto heels. It’s raining pretty hard and has been for hours. As you get to the diner, you yell, “I’m so drunk but I’m so hungry.” A waitress hears you yell this as she finishes sweeping the dry, tile floor. On your way to your table, you drunkenly stumble and can’t balance yourself on your 4-inch heels. You sprain your ankle as a result.
In this example, your Smyrna slip and fall lawyer will be hard pressed to prove negligence. You were clearly intoxicated. The waitress even heard you say it. You were wearing shoes that are hard to walk in even in the best conditions. The floor was dry. Your fall was probably the result of your walking drunkenly in high-heeled shoes. The diner is probably not negligent in this case. In fact, a Smyrna slip and fall lawyer would be hesitant to accept a case like this.
What happens if you are partly at fault? Most states have laws that address comparative or contributory negligence. Smyrna slip and fall lawyers know the law in Georgia when it comes to this issue. Georgia follows the contributory negligence rule. You may recover under a slip and fall claim as long as the defendant is more at fault than you. This means that if you are less than 50% at fault, you may still have a claim for negligence.
Even if your claim is still valid, it doesn’t mean you will recover the same amount as you would if you weren’t at fault. Under the contributory negligence standard, your settlement award or judgment will be reduced by your percentage of fault. So, if you would normally be awarded $100,000 but were found to be 30% at fault, your award will be reduced by $30,000.
It’s important to note that under Georgia law, if you’re more at fault than the defendant, you recover nothing. So, in the example above with the drunken diner patron, she would more than likely recover nothing. Any jury or judge would find that she was more at fault than the diner. A slip and fall attorney in Smyrna probably would not want to handle a case like this.
Even if you slip and fall, you still need to suffer damages in order to file suit. A good Smyrna slip and fall lawyer knows how to prove your damages. Most of this proof will come from your medical records. This is why it’s so important that you always seek medical attention following a slip and fall. If you refuse treatment, there is no way to document that you have injuries. If you wait a few days to go to the doctors, the defendant’s lawyer will claim that you had injuries at some point after the accident.
When you go the hospital, they will do the necessary tests to see if you’re injured. They may perform x-rays, CT scans and MRI to determine the extent of your injuries. Smyrna slip and fall lawyers rely on these medical records to show the court how severe your injuries were. Without this information, it’s your word against the defendants. No Smyrna slip and fall lawyer will want to rely on just his client’s word to prove injuries.
Your slip and fall attorney in Smyrna will demand the following in the way of damages:
It’s important that you communicate with your slip and fall attorney in Smyrna if you want to win your case. He has to rely on you for a lot of this information. If you don’t return phone calls or miss appointments, it will be difficult for your Smyrna slip and fall lawyer to get you’re a fair settlement.
If injured in a slip and fall, you may have entitlement to pain and suffering. Your slip and fall attorney in Smyrna will have to demonstrate that you suffered these damages. Because pain and suffering are non-economic damages, they are hard to prove. Nobody else can measure or feel your pain. It is a very subjective issue.
Your Smyrna slip and fall lawyer will present evidence to prove your pain and suffering.
The court will look at the following when considering damages for pain and suffering:
It is your slip and fall attorney in Smyrna’s job to prove these things to the court. He will rely on testimony from your family and friends. He may have medical experts testify as to the long-term effects of your injuries, and he may introduce evidence from your therapist that you have depression and anxiety since the accident. All of these things are into consideration when proving pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a slip and fall, you need to contact a slip and fall attorney in Smyrna today. You will likely have to file a claim against the defendant’s insurance company. In a perfect world, that claim would be paid without question. However, we don’t live in a perfect world. You are going to face challenges when it comes to your claim. A Smyrna slip and fall lawyer can deal with the insurance company for you.
When you first meet with your slip and fall attorney in Smyrna, you want to bring the following:
Smyrna slip and fall lawyers need this information to review your case. Once they get an understanding of your claim, they can let you know what your case may be worth.
It’s important to remember that a Smyrna slip and fall lawyer’s job to make you whole. It is not his job to make you rich. Regardless of what you’ve seen on television, you will likely not receive millions for your slip and fall case. Smyrna slip and fall lawyers will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve. They negotiate with the insurance company to get you a fair settlement.
If you’ve suffered a slip a fall accident, contact our Smyrna personal injury attorneys today. The initial consultation is absolutely free. It gives you a chance to ask any questions you may have. It also gives your slip and fall attorney in Smyrna a chance to review your case. Remember, you pay nothing until you settle your case!