Business owners should keep their properties free from hazards that endanger their customers. If a customer suffers an injury because a property owner fails to fix or warn of a dangerous condition, the customer may seek compensation from the individual or entity responsible. Atlanta premises liability attorney Terrence R. Bethune has significant experience litigating personal injury cases. If you were injured because of wet or slippery floors, you may be entitled to compensation.
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FALLS ARE A LEADING CAUSE OF INJURY
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were more than 8.9 million non-fatal injuries caused by falls in the United States in 2012. Falling is one of the leading causes of injury across all age groups. When it happens on property owned by another person, the owner of the property may be legally liable under Georgia law, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
INJURED CUSTOMERS MAY HAVE A CLAIM
Business owners in Georgia have a special duty to protect customers on their property. If a customer slips on the wet floor of a grocery store or other business, he may have a claim against the property owner. In Georgia, succeeding in this type of lawsuit depends on proving four elements:
- A dangerous condition existed on the property;
- The property owner knew or should have known about the condition;
- The owner did not fix or warn about the situation; and
- The condition proximately caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
Wet or slippery floors are usually considered a dangerous condition on commercial properties, such as grocery stores, department stores, or malls. Whether the property owner knew or should have known of the condition depends on the circumstances of the case. If a store employee recently mopped the floor, for example, the knowledge is imputed to the property owner. If something was spilled outside the view of any employee, however, whether the property owner should have known may depend on several factors, including how long the floor was wet.
The third element will be met if the property owner failed to fix the condition. Signs warning of a wet, freshly cleaned floor may be considered a sufficient response, as would cleaning up a spill. If the owner failed to protect customers from the condition, and a customer falls and sustains an injury, the property owner may be legally liable.
A person injured from a fall on a wet floor has two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. Although this seems like a long time, the victim has a better chance of success if he or she contact a personal injury attorney soon after the accident. The sooner that important evidence is requested, the more likely that it is to be preserved.
SUCCESSFUL CLAIMANTS MAY COLLECT DAMAGES
People who successfully pursue premises liability claims in Georgia may be entitled to damages from the defendant. Economic damages reimburse the victim for expenses such as past and future medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages reimburse the victim for subjective physical and psychological injuries, such as pain and suffering or emotional distress.
CONSULT A GEORGIA ATTORNEY TO DISCUSS YOUR CASE
If you have been hurt due to the property owner’s carelessness, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Atlanta slip and fall lawyer Terrence R. Bethune has helped ordinary people seek damages from those responsible for harming them since 1997. To schedule a free case evaluation, call 1-800-INJURED or submit a contact form online. An experienced attorney can explain your rights and help you decide how to proceed.