Premises liability cases can encompass a wide array of hazards. You often see them on steps; people fall down steps that may have loose boards, a lack of adequate lighting, or because there is not a handrail where there should be one. You also see them on holes in the ground. Often, when there is construction or yard work going on, someone digs a hole in the ground to put a post or a sprinkler system, and they will just leave the hole unfilled. Stepping in a hole when you don’t see it coming can be a very serious injury. We currently have clients who have had multiple surgeries because someone left a sprinkler hole open outside of a retail space.
Water or liquid causes hazards very often. You see that in restaurants and supermarkets, where there are products up on the walls and they have employees who are supposed to be going around and checking to make sure items stay off the floors every 15 minutes to 30 minutes. If this is not being done, people can slip and fall. Slip and falls are especially severe for elderly people, as they are more susceptible to have a serious injury when a fall occurs. Premises liability cases can happen anywhere where there is a known hazard or a hazard that should be known by the owner or occupant of that space, and it is left there until someone is injured.
When Should I Retain An Attorney After Being Injured In A Slip And Fall Accident?
Usually, when you are hurt on the premises of a business, there is security footage that is available to show what happened. There is also going to be some documentation done by the owner or occupier of the business. They have internal procedures for documenting these things, so they can hand them over to their insurance companies. You want to have an attorney put them on notice that there may be potential litigation involved in this as soon as possible. Georgia has what is known as a spoliation rule, which means as soon as you send a letter notifying them of potential litigation involving this fall, they have a duty to preserve any evidence that may be related to that incident. They do not have that duty until that letter is received.
Often, security footage is deleted on a weekly basis. If you wait three weeks to have an attorney send your spoliation letter, the store will have already deleted the footage. There are other reasons why you want to talk to an attorney quickly. You may need to find witnesses or employees of the business who can verify what happened. If you wait a year, those people are long gone.
What Are Some Examples Where Store Owners Would Not be Held Liable In A Premises Case?
The challenge in premises liability cases is almost always whether the victim was on notice of the hazard. It is what we call superior knowledge. If the victim knew of the hazard but slipped on it anyway, then they should no longer be able to be considered a victim. It is a tactic used by defense attorneys to try to deny liability. However, there are exceptions to the rule and every case has to be looked at. Even though you were aware of a hazard, if you did not have a way to avoid the hazard or if removing the hazard was someone else’s responsibility and they were negligent in doing that, then you may still have a claim. These are complicated cases and comparative fault is very often a major factor in being able to prevail in these types of claims.
For more information on Slip And Fall Accidents In Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (912) 401-8880 today.