The Georgia Slip and Fall Guide was created by The Gunnels Law Firm to help injured residents obtain maximum compensation. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation.
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 consultations to our clients and make sure that every case receives the personal attention it deserves.
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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.
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Frequently Asked Slip and Fall Questions
How Do I Find the Right 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.
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What Mistakes Should I Avoid?
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.
How Much is My Case 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.
Do I Need to Give a Recorded Statement?
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.
How Long Will This 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.
Do I Need to Have Minimum Medical Bills?
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.
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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 Georgia. 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.