If you sustained injuries after a slip and fall on someone else’s property, you may be eligible for substantial compensation. Property owners have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their guests and to keep their property free from hazards. If they knew about a wet floor and didn’t promptly clean it up, for example, they could be liable for the resulting injuries and damages.
At Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C., our Alpharetta premises liability lawyers have in-depth experience with slip and fall cases. We’ll work exhaustively to gather crucial evidence, and we’ll leverage our extensive resources, such as access to esteemed expert witnesses, to build a solid case. We give each case everything we have, and we’ll dedicate ourselves to fighting for the maximum compensation you deserve.
When you hire us, we’ll handle all the legal aspects of your case so you can focus on your recovery. You can count on our compassionate team to provide open communication at all times and guide you through the legal process. Call us today at (770) 205-8827 if you were the victim of a slip and fall accident.
What Causes a Slip and Fall Accident?
A slip and fall accident falls under the broader category of premises liability. If a property owner’s negligence leads to someone’s injury, they will become financially responsible for the victim’s expenses and suffering associated with the accident.
Slip and fall accidents typically happen because of a hazardous condition on the exterior or interior of the property. Examples include:
- Wet floor from a spilled liquid
- Loose carpeting, floorboard, rugs, or mats
- Icy sidewalk or pavement
- Uneven or unleveled surface
- Debris or other items on the floor
- Polished or waxed floor
- Electrical cords that run along a hallway or walkway
- Inadequate lighting
- Unusual flooring transition
- Lack of handrails or damaged handrails
- Warped or damaged stairways
If you fall and get hurt through no fault of your own, you could file an injury claim with the property owner’s liability insurance company. Anyone who’s responsible for a property will purchase a general liability policy that includes coverage for bodily injury and property damage suffered by a guest. Depending on the limits they chose, you could receive compensation for your medical treatment, lost wages, and other costs incurred from the accident.
The Importance of Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case
Just because you fell on another person’s property and got hurt doesn’t mean you’re automatically eligible to recover an insurance settlement from the property owner’s insurance company. You must prove negligence existed. If they knew of any hazards, or if they reasonably should have known about the hazards, and failed to repair the damage promptly, that would be negligent.
There are five elements of negligence you’ll need to show:
- Duty: The property owner owed you a duty of care to reasonably prevent you from harm;
- Breach of duty: They breached their duty;
- Cause in fact: If it wasn’t for their actions or inaction, you wouldn’t have gotten hurt;
- Proximate cause: Your injury was the direct result of the property owner’s breach; and
- Damages: You incurred damages from the slip and fall accident.
Another negligence rule that could affect whether or not you’re eligible for compensation is modified comparative negligence. It reduces an injured victim’s damages by the percentage of fault they share. In other words, if you’re partly responsible for your injuries, you can’t collect the maximum compensation available.
For example, if you incurred damages that total $100,000, but the insurance company determines you share 20% blame for the slip and fall accident, the most you could pursue would be $80,000. If it’s discovered that you’re 50% or more at fault for your injury, you would be prohibited from recovering compensation.
What Are Damages?
Damages are the total expenses and suffering of an injured victim after an accident. Slip and fall damages fall under two separate categories. Economic damages are actual expenses, while non-economic damages are intangible losses. Examples include the following:
- Medical costs
- Out of pocket expenses
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
Economic and non-economic damages are available in an insurance claim and lawsuit. Since things like emotional distress are difficult to monetize, the insurance adjuster or jury will consider the following factors when picking an appropriate number for the non-economic damages.
- Type and severity of the injury
- Total value of economic damages
- Length of the recovery period
- Duration of the inability to return to work
- Impact the injury has on quality of life
- Availability of sufficient evidence proving negligence
- If the injury led to disability or impairment
- Emotional or psychological trauma caused by the slip and fall accident
- Effect on personal relationships, such as the inability to care for a child or provide support to a spouse
A common calculation used in personal injury cases, such as a slip and fall, is known as a multiplier. The multiplier is a number between 1.5 and 5. After adding all the medical costs and other expenses associated with the incident, it gets multiplied by the multiplier to come up with an appropriate value to demand from the at-fault party.
Damages Available in a Lawsuit
If you want to file a lawsuit, there’s a third type of damage you could pursue. Punitive damages don’t compensate for your economic and non-economic damages. Instead, it’s a form of punishment against the other party and aims to prevent similar behavior in the future.
A jury will only award punitive damages to a slip and fall victim if the property owner exhibited grossly negligent, egregious, reckless, malicious, or wanton acts. It’s a rare financial award and typically only happens in extreme situations. For example, let’s say a pipe was leaking water and the business inspector informed the owner of the building to close off that section to customers. If they ignored the recommendation and a customer slipped on the water and got hurt, that would be a form of gross negligence that may justify punitive damages.
In Georgia, there’s a statute of limitations for filing lawsuits. A statute of limitations is a strict deadline you must follow if you want to bring legal action against someone else in the civil court system. The statute of a slip and fall case is two years. That means you have two years from the date you sustained injuries to sue the property owner for compensation.
If there was damage to your personal property during the fall, such as an expensive watch, the statute of limitations for compensation of those costs would be four years.
Why You Should Hire an Alpharetta Slip and Fall Lawyer
If you choose to pursue compensation without legal representation, you may lose your case. Insurance companies will take advantage of victims who don’t have the assistance of an experienced lawyer. They might request that you sign a form that relinquishes your rights to the maximum settlement. They could also offer a low number that doesn’t cover all your damages. If you don’t know what you’re entitled to, you might feel tempted to accept it.
When you work with the legal team of Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C., we will handle every step of the legal process on your behalf to ensure we reach a favorable outcome.
- Investigate. We’ll investigate the slip and fall accident thoroughly to determine the cause and who’s at fault for it occurring.
- Evidence. During our investigation, we’ll obtain sufficient evidence that proves the property owner was at fault and that your injury was the direct result of their negligence. Examples of evidence we’ll collect include:
- Eyewitness statements
- Video surveillance footage
- Photos of the accident scene
- Copies of your medical records
- Incident reports
- Property owner’s liability insurance policy
- Value of the case. We’ll review all your economic and non-economic damages to determine the appropriate value of your case. We’ll file an insurance claim on your behalf and demand that settlement amount from the insurance company.
- Notify all parties. Once we find out who the negligent party is, we’ll mail them a notice of claim letter. The letter will inform them of our intent to pursue compensation and request a copy of their liability insurance policy information, so we know who to file the claim with.
- File a lawsuit. If we’re unable to reach a fair settlement agreement with the insurance company, we’ll file a lawsuit against them and the property owner. We have the resources to take slip and fall cases to court and aggressively argue for the maximum compensation our clients deserve.
Speak to a Dedicated Alpharetta Slip and Fall Lawyer
At the law offices of Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C., we understand how traumatic it is to sustain injuries because of another person’s careless actions. You deserve the chance to hold them accountable and collect the financial award you need to cover your damages. You can depend on us to work diligently and build a strong case for you.
Many people will choose not to hire a lawyer because of the financial burden they’re already facing. If you retain our legal services, you won’t have to pay upfront fees or costs. We don’t expect our clients to pay unless we’re able to recover compensation from the at-fault party. If you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid.
We also provide an initial consultation free of charge. You won’t have to pay us for our time. We’ll be happy to meet with you and discuss your slip and fall accident in detail. We’ll let you know the legal options available to you and help guide you towards the right decision.
For help with your slip and fall accident case, call us today at (770) 205-8827, and we’ll connect you with an experienced Alpharetta premises liability lawyer.