When you slip or trip and fall, sometimes you can get lucky and walk away without a scratch, but if you have made your way to this page, odds are that wasn’t the case for you. If you have been seriously injured after a slip and fall, you may be entitled to compensation from the liable party’s insurance company. Our Atlanta slip and fall lawyer is here to help guide you through your pursuit of compensation. After you read a little bit about your slip and fall claim, please do not hesitate to give our office a call. We offer free initial consultation to our clients.
Most Common Types of Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and falls may be regarded as a non-serious accident, but that is a misconception. Slip and falls have the potential to cause life-long injuries and even fatalities in some cases. Depending on where you fell, what you fell in, and how hard you hit the ground, you could be feeling the pain of your injuries for a very long time. The most common types of slip and fall injuries include:
- Broken and fractured bones
- Cuts and lacerations
- Concussions or contusions
- Head, neck, or back injury
- Spinal cord injury
The most important thing to do after you have been seriously injured in a slip and fall accident is to seek medical attention right away. It is imperative that you do not wait to see a doctor. You have options; you can go to your primary doctor, an urgent care facility, or the emergency room if need be. If you wait to seek medical attention, then you run the risk of two negative consequences. First, you run the risk of worsening the pain you are in. There is a chance you will have adrenaline running through your body that will moderately mask the pain. You should not assume that you will not have any pain after this wears off. It is better to be sure than to be further injured by avoiding treatment. The second negative consequence has to do with the insurance company. If they see that you did not seek medical attention right away, then they will try to use that against you by saying either your injuries occurred after your slip and fall or that you are lying about your injuries. This will be an excuse they use to reduce or eliminate your compensation.
Georgia Slip and Fall Statute of Limitations
In order to have a chance at compensation, you will have to either bring your claim or settle it in civil court within two years of the accident occurring. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. Georgia law permits victims of personal injury cases two years to bring or settle their cases. While two years may seem like a long time, it is not all that long in terms of a lawsuit. Try as we might to speed things along, lawsuits sometimes are drawn out. If you wait to hire an attorney, it puts them on an even tighter schedule to build a strong case for you and deal with the liable party’s insurance. If you wait past the two years, or even right up to the days before the deadline, you will not be able to bring a claim. These lawsuits take time and once you miss the deadline, there is nothing we can do to help you. We strongly suggest you call an attorney right away so that they have the most possible time to build you a successful case.
Frequently Asked Slip and Fall Injury Questions
What mistakes should I avoid after a slip and fall accident?
There are a number of mistakes we commonly see people make that can harm their slip and fall case. It’s important to make sure these things don’t happen. One of the primary things that we see that can harm a slip and fall case is the client failing to make a report of what occurred at the facility, whether that be a grocery store, restaurant, or department store where they have fallen and suffered an injury. Don’t leave the premises without telling an employee and allowing a report to be made.
The next thing we see is people failing to get immediate medical treatment. When you don’t get immediate medical treatment, it makes it much harder to connect your injuries to the accident. If you’re having pain, even if it’s minor, go to an emergency room and get medical treatment. It’s important to get treated because what may start as minor pain will often become significant pain over the coming days. You want to make sure that you have that pain documented from the beginning.
Another mistake that we see people make is not following their doctors’ orders. When a doctor prescribes you treatment, it’s very important to follow through and do what your doctor says. Insurance companies will latch on to gaps in treatment to claim that if you were as injured as you say you are, you would have been going to every treatment session that you had available to you. Don’t give them that opportunity. Make sure you get to every treatment session that you’re supposed to be going to.
Finally, it is crucial to hire an experienced slip and fall attorney immediately after your incident. We need to preserve evidence that allows us to prove your claim going forward, which is why you mustn’t delay. We only have a limited amount of time to procure video of the fall, which is often crucial to our cases. Make sure that we are contacted right away so we can investigate and make sure that all the evidence that we need is preserved.
Also, don’t hire the wrong attorney. If you hire an attorney who doesn’t know the proper steps because he or she does not handle slip and fall cases, all the evidence may be lost, along with your ability to recover compensation. Make sure to hire someone who is experienced in handling these claims.
What should I look for when choosing a slip and fall attorney?
We frequently get calls from potential clients wanting to know how to pick the best attorney for a slip and fall case. At The Gunnels Law Firm, we handle a large volume of these types of claims. Most of them happen on premises that are owned or run by businesses such as grocery stores or department stores. In picking an attorney to handle these types of claims, you need to make sure that you have an attorney who has a lot of experience with these types of matters. A lot of people don’t realize that you are not entitled to compensation just because you injure yourself on a premises owned by a business. In order for a business to be responsible for compensating you for injuries, we have to prove that they have done something wrong, or maintained their premises in a manner that is not safe to you, or that they have knowledge of a danger on their premises that they haven’t warned you of.
Most of the evidence to prove these types of things comes about by an attorney who knows what to look for and the right questions to ask. If you are utilizing an attorney who doesn’t have extensive experience handling these types of claims, they are going to have a hard time finding the information you need to prove these cases.
Another thing to make sure that you have is someone who knows what motivates insurance companies to resolve these types of cases. I spent many years of my career defending slip and fall cases for businesses and insurance companies. I know what information to look for and I know how to use it. Make sure that you have someone who knows how the other side works. It’s important to know that your attorney is able to take those bits of information that they’ve learned and put them to the best use.
Another thing to keep in mind is you want an attorney who will take a case all the way to trial when necessary. Many lawsuits settle, but you want to make sure that you have an attorney that is willing to take a case all the way through trial when an insurance company is not being fair and reasonable in what they are offering. At The Gunnels Law Firm, we spend a significant amount of our time in court. Insurance companies know that we are not going to take an unreasonable offer just to settle the case quicker.
We are going to make sure that we do everything possible to receive the best possible compensation for our client even if that means taking the case all the way to trial.
Can I sue a city or county for a slip and fall on a faulty sidewalk in Georgia?
People often want to know whether they can sue a city or a county for an injury that occured when they may have fallen on a curb or a public sidewalk. The answer is it is possible, but it’s much harder than suing a private entity. Governmental entities have a lot of protections and what are called “immunities” under the law. However, if they fail to maintain items under their control in an appropriate fashion, a lawsuit can be filed against them and a claim can be pursued. These are different cases in that there are different steps that you have to take to sue a municipality. One of the main things that you have to do is give what is called an ante litem notice to the governmental entity within a certain period of time (generally, 6 months), putting them on notice of what this potential claim may be.
If you’ve been injured on a sidewalk or curb of some sort that’s maintained by a governmental entity and you want to know if you have a personal injury claim, please contact us so we can investigate the claim, make that determination, and help you preserve all the evidence necessary to pursue such a lawsuit.
Can I recover compensation if I slip and fall due to faulty stairs?
We’re often contacted by people who have been injured after a fall on a staircase who want to know if they have a potential personal injury claim. Staircase matters are unique in that people often slip or trip on staircases for a reason that has nothing to do with the negligence of another person. Most staircase falls are simply due to the carelessness or rushing of a person who’s going downstairs; it doesn’t have anything to do with someone else doing something wrong. In those situations, there’s no personal injury claim to pursue.
However, in some situations, a fall may occur because a staircase is not up to applicable regulations or has not been maintained in an appropriate form and, therefore, has become defective and dangerous. In those situations, we oftentimes can pursue a personal injury matter. It’s important in situations where you’ve been injured in a fall on a staircase to immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney. That attorney can locate and determine the appropriate standards for maintaining staircases and building staircases to evaluate whether there is a claim or not and evaluate who the potential parties are that may be liable for these falls.
If you have been injured in a fall on a staircase, please give us a call so we can begin investigating and preserving evidence in order to maintain your claim and present it in the best possible light.
Can I recover compensation if I slip and fall due to a faulty handrail?
If you have been injured due to a defective handrail, there are several things you need to do to make sure your claim is preserved. The first thing you need to do is get medical attention. You need to get this care in order to maximize your recovery potential, but also to document the injuries that you’ve suffered in a timely fashion. The next thing you need to do is put the owner of the property on notice of your claim and of what occurred. If that is a commercial property, you need to alert the owner or someone that may be working at the property and ask them to fill out an incident report. If you were on a residential property, alert the owner and ask them to put their insurance carrier on notice.
The next thing you need to do is be aware that the insurance company may contact you and ask you to give a written statement. If that occurs, don’t give them a written statement. You have no obligation to do this, and doing so can potentially be detrimental to your claim. The next thing you need to do is contact a personal injury attorney who has experience handling premises liability matters, such as injuries occurring from a defective handrail.
We have handled many of these claims and know the process to work through in order to gather all of the necessary evidence and investigate liability. If you’ve been injured in this type of situation, please give us a call as soon as possible after the incident so that we can begin preserving evidence and be ready to present your claim in the most effective way.
What should I do if I slip and fall on residential property?
If you have been injured in an incident on a residential property, there are several things you need to do to make sure you preserve your claim. The first is to put the property owner on notice. If you have fallen on someone else’s property, make sure that you notify them as soon as possible. Doing so in writing is preferable. If the person is not there, make sure that you, as soon as possible, put them on that notice and ask them to put their own insurance company on notice so that a claim can be set up.
Once an insurance company is on notice of a potential incident, they’re generally going to want to take a recorded statement from you as the injured person. Don’t ever do this. You have no responsibility to do this, and it will often be detrimental to your case, as insurance companies like to try to trick you into saying things that pin you down to a set of facts that may not be completely right.
If you’ve been injured on someone’s residential property and you think you may have a claim, please contact us so we can evaluate the claim and conduct an investigation to help you through the process.
How does a warning sign affect a slip and fall claim in Georgia?
There are times when clients ask us whether a personal injury claim for a slip and fall can still be made if a warning sign was placed in the area. The answer is it’s possible. When a premises owner is aware of a dangerous condition on their property, they have the obligation to warn people who are on their property, for legitimate purposes, of that potential danger. That is the purpose of putting out a warning sign in the area where a business, such as a grocery store, has water or some kind of liquid on the floor— to alert the customers that there is a potential danger there.
Having a warning sign out makes a much more difficult case to pursue than if there has been no indication. However, there are situations in which a recovery can still be made when there was a sign out. If the sign was not obvious enough or was hidden in some way so that the person couldn’t see it before they reached the dangerous condition, that can negate the fact that the sign was out in the first place. It also could be an issue if the sign is out, but it’s not clear what type of danger it addresses.
The most important thing to do if you’ve encountered this type of situation is to quickly hire an attorney who is experienced with these types of matters so that we can investigate these types of claims and preserve all evidence. In these types of claims with businesses, there’s often video footage of the incident. It’s important to make sure you have that footage preserved to show exactly what happened.
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall matter of any sort, please contact us as soon as possible, so we can begin preserving evidence and investigating the claim, so that we can position your case as good as possible.
Should I speak to insurance companies after a slip and fall accident?
We are often asked by people whether they should give a recorded statement to an insurance company after they have been injured in a slip and fall accident. The answer to this question is no. While you should speak with the manager on duty to make an incident report immediately after your fall, don’t ever speak to the insurance company on your own without an attorney.
While you may think you are helping your claim, what you are doing is the exact opposite. Insurance companies use trained claims examiners to ask questions in a way that will lead to misleading answers and make it much more difficult for you to prove your claim going forward. There’s nothing to be gained from this process. You have no obligation to give such a statement. If you are not represented by an attorney and asked to give one of these statements, don’t do so.
Do I need a minimum amount of medical bills to file a slip and fall injury claim?
When we have clients come in who have been injured in slip and fall, one of the first things they want to know is if they need to have a minimum amount of medical expenses incurred in order to justify a personal injury case. While there are some cases that have very significant injuries and minor medical expenses, those are the exception and not the rule. When looking at a slip and fall claim, you need to have an injury that’s pretty substantial to warrant pursuing one of those cases.
The reason for that is because these types of cases are so fact and expert-intensive. They’re expensive to work up. No one wants to spend their time going through a case where the value of the injury is $15,000, but you have to spend $20,000 on the case to make that recovery. In order to pursue one of these cases, you generally need to have a situation where someone has a significant injury such as a broken bone, or an injury requiring surgery, in order to justify the claim. If you have been injured in a slip and fall, it’s a good idea to immediately contact a personal injury lawyer who can help you evaluate your case and make sure you understand what’s necessary to pursue it.
How long will my slip and fall accident case take?
People who have slip and fall cases often want to know how long it will take to resolve their claim. The answer to that question is we never know. They can vary greatly depending on the severity of the injuries and how strong the evidence is. Slip and fall cases are very evidence-intensive because you have to prove the liability of the premises owner where the slip and fall occurred. That often involves receiving video evidence that the store may have, internal reports, questioning workers that were there, and trying to figure out if these types of injuries had happened previously. In a slip and fall, it’s very rare for the case to resolve prior to filing a lawsuit. With car wreck cases, you’re often able to resolve them quickly because the liability of the at-fault driver is clear. That’s usually not the case in a premises liability claim.
You can usually expect from the time the lawsuit is filed that it will take 18 months to three years before you can expect to get a resolution in a slip and fall case. Generally, we’re not able to file those lawsuits until the injured party has finished treating for his or her injuries because we need to know the full extent of the damages suffered.
How much is my slip and fall claim worth?
One of the first things our slip and fall clients want to know is the value of their claim. That’s not something that can be answered immediately. In fact, I tell clients all the time that if they go see an attorney right after their incident who tells them what their claim is worth, you need to go find another attorney because that attorney is not being truthful with you. The value of your claim will depend on a number of factors, such as the severity of your injury, the length of recovery, whether the injury is permanent, lost wages, the amount of disruption your life suffers, and the amount of your medical expenses. You have to look at all the various factors in there to determine what type of impact this injury will have on your life.
One of the good things about slip and fall cases is they generally occur on a premises of a store or business that will usually have plenty of liability coverage. Generally, you don’t have the same situations you may have in a car wreck where there’s not enough insurance to compensate you for your injuries. However, getting compensation on a slip and fall case is much harder than a car wreck case because there’s often a lot more defenses to liability.
If you’ve suffered an injury in a slip and fall, it’s very important to get to a lawyer immediately who will make sure everything is done right. There are a lot of things that need to be done, such as gathering video evidence and making sure evidence doesn’t disappear.
Contact Our Office Today for a Free Consultation
When hiring a lawyer to represent you, you want to make sure that they have experience successfully dealing with slip and fall cases. You are allowed to turn down a lawyer if they do not fit your needs and you have the right to seek out a different lawyer. The right lawyer will be someone you trust, have a good rapport with, and who has a good track record with slip and fall cases in Atlanta. Who you choose for a lawyer is very important and will affect the amount of compensation that you get from the liable party’s insurance company.
If you would like to be represented by a competent, dedicated, and caring Atlanta slip and fall lawyer, then please call our office today to set up a free initial consultation. We will go over the details of your case, let you know your legal options, then go to work for you. We will conduct interviews with your witnesses to make sure we have their testimony, we will protect your evidence and make sure it does not get misplaced by the liable party’s insurance company, and we will fight to get you the best possible result.
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