This sounds rather simple, but can be more complex than it appears. You need to be able to understand how the law and other cases will apply to your case, as well as which facts will be relevant. An Atlanta slip and fall lawyer can give you guidance as to whether you may be entitled to compensation and help you understand your options.
Common Slip and Fall Accidents in Georgia
Slip and fall accidents occur in a much broader context than simply slipping on a wet floor. Some of the most common accidents an Atlanta slip and fall lawyer at our firm can help with include:
- Falls due to poor lighting
- Tripping and falling due to broken flooring, torn or wrinkled carpeting
- Tripping and falling due to broken pavement
- Falls due to broken stairs or loose handrails
- Injuries caused by broken escalators or elevators
Slip and fall accidents can happen almost anywhere. An experienced Atlanta slip and fall lawyer can tell you whether you may be entitled to compensation from the property owner.
Other Types of Premises Liability Accidents
As noted above, slip and fall accidents are a specific type of premises liability case. You may be entitled to compensation from the property owner even if your injury was not the result of a fall. For example, the following situations can also give rise to a premises liability claim:
- Injuries due to inadequate security. These cases commonly arise in sports and entertainment venues where owners have an obligation to actively police for drunkenness, fighting, gang activity, and other activities that would result in an unsafe situation.
- Failure to comply with safety ordinances. Local, state, and federal ordinances are intended to keep people safe. When someone is injured on another person’s property, the property owner’s failure to comply with safety ordinances is compelling evidence of their negligence.
Negligence Explained by an Atlanta Slip and Fall Lawyer
Proving negligence is often the crux of a slip and fall case. Generally speaking, a property owner is negligent whenever they fail to take action that a reasonably prudent person would take under the same or similar circumstances. It’s not easy to define what a “reasonably prudent person” would do. An experienced Atlanta slip and fall lawyer can usually identify early on whether the property owner in your case was negligent.
Many slip and fall cases revolve around dangerous conditions that the property owner claims they were unaware existed. In these cases, the question then becomes whether the property owner should have known about the issue. These cases often involve the following questions:
- Does the owner regularly inspect the property for dangerous conditions?
- Does the property owner employ someone to manage the property, and are they in regular communication?
- Does the property owner promptly respond to reports of dangerous conditions? Do they require their employees to promptly report dangerous conditions?
Other cases may involve conditions beyond the owner’s control. Weather-related hazards such as ice and snow are a common example. The owner may not be able to immediately clear the sidewalks, but they may have a duty to warn of icy conditions. On the other hand, the owner may have been negligent if the storm has ended and the icy conditions have been unaddressed for hours.
10 Hazards That Can Cause Trip and Falls in Georgia
When you slip and fall on someone else’s property, recovering financial compensation requires evidence of a property-related hazard. Property owners (and their insurance companies) will often try to blame fall victims for their own injuries, and the way to overcome this is by proving that the property owner could (and should) have prevented the fall. Here are 10 common examples of hazards that can cause slips and falls—and that can entitle fall victims to just compensation in Georgia:
1. Dangerous Sidewalks
We all use sidewalks, and the existence of sidewalks is something that most of us take for granted. But, someone had to put the sidewalk there, and someone has to be responsible for maintaining it.
Various hazards can make sidewalks dangerous for walkers, runners and bike riders. Cracks, missing chunks of concrete, protruding tree roots, crumbling curbs, and uneven walking surfaces are just some of the issues that can lead to harmful slips and falls. If a sidewalk was improperly constructed or has been inadequately maintained, then a fall on the sidewalk could justify a claim for just compensation.
2. Dangerous Steps, Stairs and Ramps
Dangerous steps, stairs and ramps are to blame for many slip and fall accidents. This includes steps and stairs that are crumbling, ramps that lack adequate guardrails or anti-skid protection, and other means of ascent and descent that haven’t been properly built or maintained.
Steps, stairs and ramps that are too steep can also present serious risks. Despite the existence of building codes and safety standards that are intended to ensure proper construction, many steps, stairs and ramps are much steeper than they should be.
3. Changes in Elevation
Our Atlanta slip and fall lawyer knows that changes in the elevation of walking surfaces are common factors in slip and fall accidents. Stepping down or up onto a slippery walking surface can increase the risk of a fall as compared to walking on level ground. Unmarked changes in elevation and changes in elevation that are difficult to see due to inadequate lighting frequently lead to falls as well.
4. Changes in Walking Surfaces in Georgia
In addition to changes in elevation, changes in walking surfaces can also present slip and fall hazards. One of the most common examples of this is a transition from carpet to tile. Carpet provides a firm grip for most types of shoes, while tile can be incredibly slippery. If a person who is walking on carpet is unaware that the floor is about to change to tile, this can lead to an unexpected, painful and expensive fall.
5. Slippery Walking Surfaces
Even in the absence of a change in walking surfaces, our Georgia slip and fall attorney knows firsthand that a slippery walking surface can still present a risk for serious injuries from a fall. Some types of flooring materials (i.e. stone or ceramic tile) are inherently slippery, and they can become even more slippery as they get worn down or their texture gets filled in with dirt and debris. If a property owner fails to take adequate steps to prevent walking surfaces from becoming too dangerous, the property owner can be held liable when this failure leads to a harmful slip and fall accident.
6. Trip Hazards from Spills on Property in Georgia
All types of spills can lead to slip and fall accidents. Water, milk, soda, oil, paint and other liquids can present fall risks for unsuspecting pedestrians, as can gravel, sand, and other materials spilled on the ground. If a spill has just happened, the property owner may not yet have had an opportunity to clean it up or rope it off. However, if the property owner has had an opportunity to remedy the hazard, then the property owner (or its insurance company) may be financially accountable for any injuries that result from the spill.
7. Hazards from Rainwater
Rainwater is another common slip hazard. Rainwater can make all types of walking surfaces slippery, and puddles can hide other slip and trip risks for pedestrians. While property owners cannot change the weather, what they can do is take appropriate measures to ensure that rain does not create any unreasonably dangerous hazards on their premises.
8. Slip Hazards from Recently-Cleaned Floors in Georgia Buildings
Cleaning is an important part of property maintenance; however, recently-cleaned floors can also present slip and fall hazards for visitors and guests. If a floor becomes slippery after cleaning, the property owner has a duty to warn of the hazard by placing signs or prevent access by placing appropriate barriers.
9. Inadequate Property Maintenance
Inadequate property maintenance can lead to a host of issues that can present slip and fall risks for unsuspecting visitors and guests. Some of the most common slip and fall risks associated with inadequate property maintenance include:
- Rotting wood that can give way under a person’s weight
- Spills that soak in and create permanent slip hazards
- Steps, stairs and ramps that have fallen into states of disrepair
- Torn carpeting, chipped tiles and other walking surface hazards
- Walking surfaces that have become slippery due to insufficient cleaning
These are just examples. All types of maintenance issues can lead to slip and fall accidents, and these issues are among the most common grounds for pursuing premises liability claims. Seek legal guidance from a Georgia slip and fall lawyer if you’ve been injured in such an accident.
10. Inadequate Warnings or Guarding
We already touched on property owners’ duty to provide adequate warnings or guarding around spills and recently-cleaned floors. But, property owners have a duty to warn of, or prevent access to, hazards in various other circumstances as well. Some examples of hazards for which warnings or guarding may be required include:
- Areas of a property in need of maintenance or repair
- Construction sites
- Malfunctioning elevators and escalators
- Swimming pools, hot tubs and spas
- Other “attractive nuisances” for children
Ultimately, if you were injured on someone else’s property and you believe that an issue with the property may be to blame for your accident, you should speak with an Atlanta slip and fall lawyer about your legal rights. Along with the types of hazards discussed above, there are numerous other types of property-related hazards that can support claims for just compensation.