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Man slips and falls on sidewalk

What to Do When You’re Hurt in a Slip-and-Fall at a Business

The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC Aug. 30, 2023

When you slip and fall somewhere, it may not seem like a serious accident at first. However, these can often result in serious injuries that will need to be addressed and they may be more common than you think, especially for older individuals. According to data put out by the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), over 28% of adults aged 65 or older experience falls like this every year either in their home or on public property.  

If you’ve recently been involved in a slip-and-fall accident and would like help filing a claim for an injury on public property, schedule an appointment with The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC, serving those in Atlanta, Georgia, and the surrounding area, including Dunwoody and Alexandria. 

Premises Liability

When you slip and fall and are injured on another person’s property, you likely want to know who will pay for injuries sustained on public property. It’s important to understand what premises liability is and how this will affect any compensation you pursue.  

Premises liability states that a property owner has a certain duty of care to ensure there are no unsafe conditions or hazards that could result in injury to those who are legally there. If it’s found that the property owner’s duty of care was neglected in some way and someone was injured, that victim may then be able to seek damages. 

For example, if you’re shopping in a grocery store, you expect safety precautions will be taken to reduce accidents. If there’s been a spill, the store owner or manager should 1) quickly clean it up and 2) place caution signs around the area alerting customers to the spill and that the floor is wet. With these actions, they have fulfilled their duty of care and if a customer then walked past the caution signs and fell, they will have a hard time filing a claim against the store.  

However, if the store owner neglected to address the spill in a timely manner and a customer slipped and injured themselves, that customer may now be able to sue the store owner for damages.  

Georgia Business Liability Laws

Georgia sets its own business liability laws, and these serve both to protect the business owner from unreasonable lawsuits, as well as to protect customers and others who may be injured on the owner’s property.  

  • Duty of owner or occupier of land to invitee: This Georgia statute says that if you are invited onto a property, either explicitly or implicitly, then the owner is responsible for any damages due to injuries that occur due to their “failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.” 

  • Knowledge of dangerous conditions: To have a successful claim, you must also show that the owner not only created a dangerous condition through their negligence but also that they knew about it or should have known about it and still did nothing. 

  • The attractive nuisance doctrine: The last legal principle that can come into play here is called the “attractive nuisance” doctrine. This generally applies to children who are injured on someone else’s property. This doctrine states that if your property has a feature that would attract children (like a pool), you’re required to take basic precautions to prevent children from accessing this. For example, you would have to build a fence with a locking gate so children wouldn’t be able to get in.    

What to Do After a Slip and Fall in a Store or Business

If you’re injured in a store, the most important thing you can do is get medical help right away. Your safety and well-being are the single most important thing. Then, you should follow these basic steps: 

  1. Collect contact info of any witnesses who may have seen the accident happen. 

  1. Gather necessary documentation, including photos of where you fell, medical records, or witness statements. 

  1. Follow the business’s procedure for reporting incidents. This will likely mean notifying the store manager or owner and filling out an incident report.  

  1. Contact a personal injury attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you negotiate for a fair settlement that adequately covers all your current and future damages. 

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

When seeking a personal injury case in Georgia, you have two years from the date of the accident to file. It’s essential you don’t go past this date or else you likely be able to receive any compensation. You should also be aware that in cases like this, a judge may decide that liability be shared between you and the property owner which is possible under the state’s comparative negligence rule. For instance, if a judge deems you to be 20% at fault for the accident, your total settlement will be reduced by 20%. 

Don’t Face Your Legal Problems Alone

If you’ve recently sustained an injury at a business and are unsure how to seek damages, contact The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia. For your personal injury needs, Attorney Walter Gabriel is here to help fight for the compensation you deserve, as well as guide you through the process from start to finalization. Don’t face this alone.