Slips and falls are no fun, especially for the elderly. But what happens if you or someone you know suffers injuries after slipping or falling? Georgia has laws in place to protect those who slip and fall—especially if it took place on someone else’s property, and the property owners were clearly negligent.
Here is some more information about Georgia’s laws regarding slips and falls and what you can do if it happens to you.
Georgia’s Slip and Fall Laws
Georgia has two primary laws regarding slips and falls:
- The statute of limitations deadline to file a slip and fall lawsuit
- “Shared fault” rules. These rules may impact your entitlement to recoup compensation if you have some responsibility related to the incident.
Statute of Limitations
This Georgia law gives you a timeframe on your right to have a lawsuit presented in the state’s civil court system. Your case will almost undoubtedly get dismissed by the court if you attempt to file a lawsuit following the deadline set by the statute of limitations. Although, in some rare instances, the clock for the statute of limitations may pause (or “toll”), and thereby give you more time to start your case. A personal injury attorney in Georgia can readily assist you with situations like these.
Georgia law states that you must file a personal injury lawsuit against the property owner within two years of the actual injury after a slip and fall incident. However, if you slipped and fell and were unhurt, yet your property got damaged (i.e., your watch, your eyeglasses, etc.), the statute of limitations for injuries to “personalty” gives you four years to file your claim.
Regardless if you file the lawsuit for injuries or property damage, the filing deadline is based on the date of the incident that resulted in injury or property damage.
“Shared Fault” Rules
Be prepared and know that the property owner will argue that you bear some responsibility for the slip and fall accident. It is a common tactic used in court and can significantly damage your case in the event the property owner is successful in pinning some of the blame on you. In this case, the settlement or court award that you could receive may be lower than anticipated or even completely wiped out.
But if your case goes to trial, and the jury finds that you (as the victim) were negligent regarding the slip and fall incident, Georgia’s “modified comparative negligence rule” determines how much you can recoup from the property owner. You will receive a reduced damage award amount according to the percentage of your fault. In the event your share of blame results in 50% or more, the court will prevent you from recovering any compensation whatsoever from the property owner or any other potentially liable parties.
For example, if you looked at your phone at the time of your fall, the jury may find you 30% responsible because of it. The jury may also find that your damages (including your medical expenses, lost wages, and “pain and suffering”) total $30,000. That leaves the property owner responsible for $21,000—the initial $30,000 reduced by $9,000, the amount which represents your 30% share of fault.
Slips and Falls in Georgia: Determining Liability
If you tripped, slipped, or fell on someone else’s property, one of the following must prove true:
- The property owner or an employee must have caused the spill, worn or torn area, or other slippery or dangerous space or item to be underfoot.
- The property owner or an employee realized the area was a danger or hazard yet did nothing to repair or amend it
- The property owner or an employee should have seen the area was a danger or a hazard because a “reasonable” person responsible for the property would have addressed it.
If you suffered injuries from tripping, or a slip and fall in Georgia, do not hesitate to reach out for legal counsel. The Law Office of John B. Jackson promises to help you and your family every step of the way. We promise to answer your questions, address your concerns, and meet your needs. The Law Office of John B. Jackson can direct you to the legal route you should take regarding the injuries from the slip and fall incident you or a loved one have suffered. So do not wait. So, contact the Law Office of John B. Jackson now and get the personal injury attorney in Georgia you deserve!