When you fall on someone else’s property and sustain an injury, the person who owns or occupies the property might be liable to pay money damages to compensate you. Damages could cover your medical expenses and lost time at work, as well as many other losses the injury might have caused.
The law offers injured people only a short time to bring a claim, so consult a Sandy Springs slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible. A knowledgeable attorney could advise you about your best way forward.
Damages Can Be a Way to Get Justice
Slip and fall accidents result in expense, inconvenience, pain, and embarrassment. If the fall resulted from someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to compensatory damages.
Damage awards include money for economic damages, which are fixed expenses that are easy to prove and predict. Economic damages typically include items such as:
- Medical expenses and costs of treatment the injury might require in future
- All expenses associated with the rehabilitation of the injury
- Compensation for lost time at work
- Value of any sick time or vacation days the plaintiff used during their recovery
- Lost future earnings if the injury prevents the plaintiff from returning to their job
- Mental health treatment to cope with the injury
Non-economic damages are also available. These compensate for the intangible losses and diminished quality of life that a plaintiff might experience after an injury. Non-economic damages could include payments for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, mental anguish and humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. A skilled attorney could present evidence showing the life changes that resulted from the injury to support a claim for non-economic damages.
Relationship Determines Liability
You must be able to prove that the property owner was negligent in order to get damages in a slip and fall case. Proving negligence requires your lawyer to demonstrate that the defendant violated a duty to them. However, the extent of the owner’s duty depends on the reason the plaintiff was on the premises.
If you fell in a store, office, amusement park, hotel, restaurant, or any other business open to the public, you would be considered an invitee. Owners and operators must keep their premises safe for invitees. They must inspect the property frequently to find hazardous conditions, repair them promptly, and warn invitees of any dangers.
Social guests and people on the property with the defendant’s knowledge and permission are licensees. Property owners must warn licensees about known hazards but need not inspect the property to find hidden dangers. There is no duty to repair for the benefit of a licensee.
Property owners do not have a duty to keep their premises safe for trespassers. Their only obligation to trespassers is to avoid creating a condition that could cause a trespasser serious physical harm.
Delay Could Be Fatal to Case
State law allows an injured plaintiff two years from the date of the accident to bring a claim for damages. A plaintiff who allows this time to expire without filing a lawsuit loses the opportunity to present their case in court and loses leverage with the defendant’s insurer.
If the slip and fall happened on government property, the time frame for action is even shorter. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated §50-21-26 requires a plaintiff who intends to claim against the state or a local government to file a notice of intent within twelve months of the accident.
Failure to file this notice correctly will doom a claim. Securing the services of a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible after an accident could help prevent such a harsh result.
Contact a Sandy Springs Slip and Fall Attorney
Insurance companies are the ones that must pay the damages for a plaintiff’s injury in most slip and fall cases, and they defend these cases vigorously. It is unwise for an injured person to try to negotiate with the insurers on their own.
Instead, seek the help of a seasoned Sandy Springs slip and fall lawyer who will not back down in the face of aggressive tactics. Contact the office today to schedule a case review.