If you've suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one, an Atlanta injury lawyer can help answer your questions on how to win your personal injury claim in a Georgia personal injury court!
At S. Burke Law we are here to help give answers to these important questions. Our Frequently Asked Question database covers the common questions you may have regarding what to do after a serious accident, how to file a claim in personal injury court, and tips on how to win your personal injury claim. When researching information on the legal process following a serious accident you want legitimate advice from a source you can trust.
When you’ve suffered serious losses and damages from an accident due to the negligence of another you aren’t alone. An Atlanta injury lawyer from our office is always available to answer additional questions not addressed on our page. Contact us for a FREE consultation and get the answers you need to seek compensation for your losses!
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Are Slip and Fall Cases Hard to Win?
Whether a slip and fall case will be hard to win depends on the facts of the case and the available evidence. Since every situation is unique, it is impossible to say whether your slip and fall case will be easy or hard to win until we talk with you about the circumstances. Call our firm of personal injury lawyers today at S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 for assistance.
Sustaining an injury from slipping and falling does not guarantee that someone else will have to pay money, and without proof a judge will not award compensation. Winning a slip and fall case is a two-step process:
- The facts must reveal that the person or company is legally responsible for your injuries, and
- The evidence we have in hand must prove your claim for compensation.
Elements of Slip and Fall Liability in Georgia
State law requires that all three of these factors exist before someone has to pay compensation for a slip and fall injury:
- The landowner owed you a duty of care. For instance, you went to a movie theatre to watch a film with friends. The property owner owed you a duty to exercise ordinary care to keep the premises and approaches (such as parking lot and sidewalks) safe.
- The landowner failed to satisfy its duty toward you (negligence). It was autumn, and there were many leaves on the sidewalk from a maple tree in front of the theatre. It rained the night before, and the leaves were slippery. Leaving glossy leaves on the sidewalk was negligence on the part of the movie theatre.
- You suffered measurable harm as a result of the landowner’s negligence (causation). Your feet went out from under you as you walked on the leaves to get to the ticket window, and when you landed hard on the concrete sidewalk, you broke your tailbone. You went to the emergency room, where the doctor took x-rays and prescribed painkillers and rest. Your recuperation was within the standard eight to 12 weeks for this type of injury, so you missed work and lost wages. Your medical expenses and lost wages were measurable harm that you experienced because of the landowner’s negligence. Since you sustained physical injuries, the movie theatre will also have to pay your non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.
Evidence We Use to Build Your Slip and Fall Case
Merely notifying the movie theatre of your injury is seldom enough for you to receive compensation. We must compile the evidence to prove to them what happened. With the right evidence, slip and fall cases are winnable.
The negligent condition on the property. If possible, take a photo of the place where you fell right away, before the theatre has time to clean up the situation – in this case, the wet leaves. Today’s cell phones take high-quality photos. Getting a lawyer on board as soon as possible can also help, as the lawyer can preserve and document evidence.
Your injuries. We will use your medical records to show the harm you suffered and to link your injuries to the date of your visit to the movie theatre. Make sure that you tell the doctor where you were when you fell.
Your lost wages. Your employer’s records will establish the amount of income you missed because of the injury . If you are self-employed, we can use other available records.
We put all of the evidence together and add up your economic damages, which are the “out-of-pocket” items like medical bills and lost wages. We then calculate the fair amount for your non-economic damages, which can include things like pain and suffering, inconvenience, and your spouse’s loss of consortium.
What Happens if You Were Also Negligent
Do not despair if you were partly at fault in your slip and fall accident. Perhaps you were distracted or tired, and not as cautious as usual. Everyone is human. Georgia law allows you to recover compensation – albeit a reduced amount – for your injuries under the rule of comparative negligence.
The law will subtract from your damages award an amount that is in proportion to your percentage of the total negligence. For example, if you were 10 percent at fault and you had $80,000 in damages, you will get $72,000 in compensation after the $8,000 reduction for your 10 percent fault.
How to Get Legal Help for Your Slip and Fall Case in Georgia.
Help for your slip and fall case and finding out if it’s difficult to win is but a phone call away. The team at S. Burke Law is waiting to hear from you and set up your free consultation. If you call us today at 404-842-7838, we will schedule a meeting with you so that we can evaluate your case and advise you on your legal rights. There is no obligation, and we do not charge for the consultation.
Can You Sue a Restaurant for Slip and Fall?
You can sue a restaurant for slip and fall if their negligence caused your injury. The restaurant is not automatically responsible for your damages just because you fell on their premises. Restaurants must, however, pay the damages of people who suffer harm due to the company’s carelessness. Call the team of personal injury lawyers at S. Burke Law today at 404-842-7838 to discuss your legal options if you are thinking about suing a restaurant for slip and fall.
The Restaurant’s Duty of Care Under Premises Liability
The restaurant’s legal duty of care will depend on why the injured person came onto the property. For example:
Invitee. An invitee is someone the landowner or tenant invited onto the property, expressly or by implication, for any lawful purpose. For instance, if you went to the restaurant to have a drink or eat a meal, you are an invitee.
Georgia law requires that the landowner or tenant exercise ordinary care to keep the property and approaches (like sidewalks) safe for invitees.
Licensee. A licensee comes onto the property strictly for his own benefit, and not to transact business with the landowner or tenant. For example, if you went into a fast food restaurant to use the toilet but did not buy any food or beverages, you are a licensee.
Under Georgia law, the restaurant does not have to keep the premises safe for invitees. The landowner or tenant simply must not cause willful or wanton injury.
Trespasser. A trespasser enters the property without the invitation or consent of the landowner or tenant. Someone who is on the premises illegally is a trespasser.
The landowner or tenant has no duty of care toward the trespasser. Georgia law does not, however, allow the owner or tenant to cause intentional harm to the trespasser. In addition, the owner and tenant are not permitted to “booby trap” the premises. For example, if you are trespassing on property and you slip and fall, sustaining injury because the owner or tenant poured a slick substance on the ground to make trespassers fall, they are liable for your injuries.
The Three Elements of Negligence for a Slip and Fall in a Restaurant
We must prove three things to hold the restaurant liable for negligence when suing a restaurant for a slip and fall accident:
- The restaurant must have owed you a duty of care. The level of care the company owed you depends on why you were on the property (invitee, licensee, or trespasser).
- The restaurant failed to meet the duty of care appropriate for your status on the property (negligence).
- You suffered measurable harm because of the restaurant’s negligence.
In restaurants, the most common restaurant scenario that gives rise to a slip and fall claim is when:
- There was a dangerous condition (slippery or slick walking surface) in the restaurant or on the approaches (sidewalks).
- The restaurant knew or should have known about the hazard.
- The restaurant did not take action to repair or post sufficient warnings about the situation before someone got hurt.
Who Can You Sue If You Slip and Fall at a Restaurant
Sometimes the same person or corporation that operates the restaurant also owns the property, but that is not always the case. For example, if the restaurant is in a shopping center or other multi-unit commercial development, the restaurant business might lease the premises from the landowner.
Depending on the facts of your case, both the restaurant operator and the property owner might have legal liability for your injuries. You do not have to investigate this issue, however. We explore the possibility of multiple defendants for our clients.
What Happens If You Were Also Negligent
Georgia follows the rule of comparative fault when the injured person was partly at fault. The law will apportion fault among all the negligent parties, then subtract money from the plaintiff’s damages award in proportion to his amount of fault. Let’s say that a server spilled some liquid on the floor after clearing a table and went to get a mop, but did not block off the area. Before she got back with the mop, a customer who was a little tipsy from too many glasses of wine slipped and fell on the spill.
The judge might find the restaurant 80 percent at fault and the injured person 20 percent negligent. If the injury damages were $50,000, the plaintiff could receive $40,000 after the deduction for his negligence.
How to Get Legal Help for Your Slip and Fall in a Restaurant
You do not have to sort out whether you were an invitee, licensee, or trespasser, or what duty of care the landowner or restaurant owed you. Call S. Burke Law at 404-842-7838 and set up a free consultation with us about whether you have a valid case if you want to sue a restaurant for slip and fall.
We will discuss your injury claim with you. There is no obligation, and we do not charge legal fees until you receive compensation.
Can You Sue if You Slip and Fall in a Supermarket?
You can sue if you slipped and fell in a supermarket. The Georgia laws on premises liability will govern this type of case.
Ways the Grocery Store Can Be Negligent in a Slip and Fall
Under Georgia law, the store must use care to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition for people who legally enter the property. A negligent property owner is one:
- Whose property contained a dangerous condition, and
- Who knew or should have known about the dangerous condition, and
- Who failed to repair the condition or post adequate warnings about the condition.
What You Should Do to Protect Your Injury Claim
There are four actions you should take immediately following a slip and fall accident:
- Report the accident to store management right away.
- Take pictures of the dangerous conditions that caused the accident.
- Collect the names and contact information of eyewitnesses.
- Get medical help, then call a lawyer for legal help.
Things You Should Not Say After Slipping and Falling in a Supermarket
You should never admit fault or blame yourself after a slip and fall injury in a grocery store. If you do, the store may use it against you, calling it an admission of fault. You might have said some things out of embarrassment or being flustered that will come back to haunt you later.
Do not say to store employees or fellow shoppers things like, “Oh, this was so stupid of me,” or “I’m such a klutz,” or apologize for the fuss. You might intend to be polite, but the store’s insurance company may take your words out of context and twist them into something you did not mean.
Traps to Avoid After a Grocery Store Slip and Fall
- Do not give a written or recorded statement to the store or insurance company: Clear it with your lawyer beforehand. Again, they can take your words out of context. Those statements do not protect you. The insurance company may use written or recorded statements to try to reduce the amount of money they have to pay you.
- Do not accept a settlement check early in the process: While taking the money can be tempting, you should not settle your case without having a lawyer advise you. If it turns out that you develop medical complications, for example, or cannot go back to work, you cannot go back to the insurance company or grocery store to ask for more money if you already accepted a settlement check.
Damages in a Supermarket Slip and Fall Case
Every premises liability case is different, but you might be able to recover:
- Your medical bills for all reasonable and necessary treatments you have to undergo because of the accident.
- Wages and other income you lost because of the injury.
- Pain and suffering to compensate you for the physical pain and mental distress of the experience.
- Decreased earning potential because of the injury.
- Reduced earning potential from the physical damage you sustained.
- Loss of consortium, a claim your spouse might make for the harm to the relationship from the injury.
Getting Legal Help for Your Supermarket Slip and Fall Injury Claim
The personal injury team at S. Burke Law will meet with you and evaluate your injury claim. We will not charge you for this initial consultation. In fact, we do not charge legal fees until you get compensation. Call us today at 404-842-7838, so that we can set up your free consultation.
Can a Slip and Fall Cause Sciatica?
Yes, a slip and fall can cause sciatica.
How a Slip and Fall Causes Sciatica
Sciatica can be a result of a herniated disc, bulging disc, bone spur, or narrowing of the spine. When you slip and fall, the trauma of the impact can cause a disc in your back to herniate (e.g., when a disc between the vertebrae tears and the nucleus pushes through that tear, pinching nearby nerves). If a disc herniates near the sciatic nerve, you may develop sciatica.
Symptoms of Sciatica
The symptoms and pain associated with sciatica can vary greatly depending on the person. But knowing what symptoms to look out for is the first step to determining if you have sciatica and the cause of it. Sciatica occurs when there is irritation at the sciatic nerve, which causes significant discomfort.
The sciatic nerve controls the muscles in the legs and buttocks, leading to significant weakness when irritated. The following is a list of symptoms associated with sciatica:
- Constant pain in your lower back
- Persistent pain in your buttocks or leg
- Muscle weakness or numbness
- Bowel or bladder issues
- Sudden sharp pain (often when sneezing, coughing, or sitting for a prolonged period of time)
In many cases, you will only feel symptoms on one side of your body. Knowing the symptoms associated with sciatica is not only important for you to seek out treatment. Identifying these symptoms and seeking medical attention can also directly impact your ability to file a personal injury claim.
Treating Sciatica after a Slip and Fall
Of course, simply knowing the symptoms of sciatica is just the first step. You will want to visit your doctor to confirm your symptoms are indeed sciatica. Hospitals use a variety of methods to confirm that you have sciatica. Those methods include:
- CT scans
These tests will confirm your injury and begin the treatment process. Depending on the severity of your sciatica, there are several available treatments. Those treatments include:
- Physical Therapy: Therapy can involve exercises intended to loosen muscles and improve flexibility.
- Medication: Your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxers, anti-inflammatories and more to address your symptoms.
- Steroid Injections: For serious cases of sciatica, steroid injections may be necessary to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Surgery: Surgery may be necessary to remove the part of the herniated disc that is placing pressure on the sciatic nerve.
While getting your symptoms addressed and getting yourself well is your primary goal here, it is not the only one. Like we briefly mentioned above, seeking medical attention can directly affect your personal injury claim.
Recovering Compensation for Your Sciatica from Your Slip and Fall
In the aftermath of slip and falls, your primary objective will be demonstrating fault and negligence. In most cases, that is a matter of establishing the elements of negligence which are:
Duty of Care
The at-fault party must have owed you a duty of care. For example, per premises liability laws, all property owners owe a duty of care to keep their homes or businesses safe for invited guests and visitors.
Breach of Duty
The party breached that duty. For example, the manager of a grocery store knows their fridge is leaking. The manager does not get the fridge fixed or place a “Wet Floor” sign in front of the spill. You slip and fall in the spill.
You must prove your injury resulted from the slip and fall. In some injury cases, demonstrating this is relatively simple. For example, if you slip and fall and break your arm, it is reasonably easy to prove causation in this case. But sciatica presents a different brand of issues.
Because sciatica is generally a degenerative condition, it is likely that the responsible party will argue that you had a pre-existing condition and that your fall did not cause it.
This could substantially lower what you can collect in a settlement. Particularly if you are someone above the age of 50. But this is also where your medical records and seeking treatment becomes valuable. If you can compare your MRIs, x-rays, etc. after your accident to your records from before the slip and fall, you prove that your condition is new.
Lastly, you must prove you suffered damages. This might include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
Discuss Your Case with an Atlanta Slip and Fall Attorney
Sciatica can be an expensive, often life-altering injury. After suffering such an injury, it is common to wonder how you will make ends meet. While S. Burke Law cannot guarantee you a particular dollar amount in a settlement, our injury attorney will fight to get you every cent you deserve.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury like sciatica in a slip and fall recently, we encourage you to call S. Burke Law. Our slip and fall accident team will do everything in its power to get you the settlement you need. Call us at 404-842-7838.
What Insurance Covers Slip and Fall Accidents?
The insurance that covers your slip and fall accident depends on where it occurred. Below, we discuss which insurance policies cover injuries from a slip and fall accident at/on:
- A business
- A private residence
- An apartment complex
- Government-owned property
Business Insurance Policies Cover Slip and Fall Accidents at a Business
Every business carries commercial property insurance of some sort. Let us say you slipped and fell at a store on a wet floor which had no visible wet floor sign. In this case, the supermarket’s business insurance would cover your medical expenses.
The one exception which may change matters a bit is if a third-party or vendor contributed to your injury. Let us say that you slipped and fell because a vendor spilled a carton of milk while stocking shelves at the supermarket. You may be able to draw funds from the vendor’s insurance as well.
Workers’ Compensation Covers Slip and Falls at Work
Your employer must carry insurance coverages to protect its employees. In the case of a slip and fall while on the clock, your employer’s workers’ compensation covers you. Worker’s compensation covers your reasonable medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages.
Note: If your employer carries workers’ compensation, you cannot sue your employer for any injuries you sustain in a slip and fall, regardless of whether he was at-fault.
Homeowner’s Insurance Policies Cover Slip and Fall Injuries at A Friend’s House
Slipping and falling at a private residence is usually straightforward.
If you slip and fall at a friend’s house, you would likely file a claim with the friend’s homeowner’s insurance.
Renter’s Insurance May Cover a Slip and Fall in an Apartment or Rented Home
Things may get a bit more complicated if you slip and fall at a rented home or apartment. Depending on where the slip and fall occurred, you may file a claim with the person’s renter’s insurance.
However, if you fell in a common area, such as the parking lot or a stairwell, you would likely file a claim with the property management company’s commercial property insurance.
Insurance for a Slip and Fall Injury on Government Property
If you suffered an injury on government-owned property, such as a park, you may be able to recover compensation from the state. However, there are various rules you must follow to recover the compensation. If you make a mistake or miss a deadline, you might find yourself out of luck.
What If the Business or Homeowner Did Not Have Insurance?
If the business or individual failed to purchase liability insurance, we may be able to sue it, taking the at-fault party to court and winning the damages you deserve.
What Do I Have to Do to Recover Compensation After a Slip and Fall Accident?
To recover damages from an insurance company, you must prove that another party’s negligence caused your injury. So, your slip and fall must occur due to negligence on the part of the property owner or renter. To prove this, you must establish the following:
- The at-fault party knew or should have known of the hazard (e.g., the property manager knew about a broken handrail.)
- The at-fault party did nothing to remedy the hazard (e.g., the property manager ignored the broken handrail and did not warn those who might use the handrail.)
- The hazard caused your injuries (e.g., you fell down the stairs after the handrail fell off the wall).
Call an Atlanta Slip and Fall Accident Attorney
Determining what insurance covers your slip and fall accident injuries can be difficult. The team at S. Burke Law has handled countless slip and fall accidents in the last two decades. We can help you review your options for compensation and help you build a strong case to recover your damages.
And because we handle all cases on a contingency basis, you do not pay anything upfront. In fact, you only pay us a percentage of your settlement if you win your case.
Our slip and fall accident attorney wants to help you recover the compensation you need after a slip and fall accident. The team at S. Burke Law understands that filing a personal injury claim is not a simple decision and can feel like more trouble than you are prepared to deal with. However, we will handle the entire case from start to finish, determining which party was liable, gathering evidence, building your case, and negotiating with insurers, even taking your case to court if necessary.
Call today to discuss your case with our slip and fall accident team for free: 404-842-7838.
What do I do after a slip and fall accident?
If you are in a slip and fall, you should do the following:
- Get medical care
- Report the accident
- Speak with a lawyer
- Continue your medical care
Get Medical Care
Ideally, you should seek medical attention immediately after your accident. If you are reading this days or weeks after your accident, and have not yet seen a doctor for your injuries, it is not too late to do so; see a doctor right away. There are several reasons for this.
First, just because you do not appear to have any serious injuries – no scratches or bruises – it is still possible for you to have internal injuries. So get checked right away if for no other reason than to ease your mind.
Also, medical evidence is necessary if you file a premises liability lawsuit. The sooner after your accident that you seek medical attention, the easier it is to draw a link between your accident and your injuries. If a long period elapses between your accident and your diagnosis, it becomes easier for the insurance company to suggest that something else caused your injuries.
Report the Accident
If you have not done so yet, inform the property owner or manager of your accident. Ask to fill out a written incident report and ask for a copy of it. The report documents that your accident occurred and may provide details of how it happened. The accident report may be a crucial piece of evidence if you decide to pursue legal action to recover compensation for your damages.
Speak to an Attorney
Set up a meeting with a personal injury lawyer, preferably one who has experience with premises liability cases. At S. Burke Law, we have helped many clients injured in slip and fall accidents pursue fair compensation so they can get medical care, pay their bills, and move on with their life after their injuries.
Let your lawyer take over all correspondence with the insurance company. We will compile all available evidence, including accident reports, medical records, any photographs or video surveillance, and more. Then we will negotiate a settlement that accounts for the full extent of your physical, emotional, and financial damages.
Call us at 404-842-7838 to set up a consultation about your case.
Continue Your Medical Care
Follow doctor's orders and go to all follow-up medical appointments. Continuing treatment, physical therapy, etc. is not only important to your physical recovery, it may be important to any legal claim you file. If you fail to follow the doctor's orders, the insurance company may attempt to blame the severity of your injuries on your failure to follow up with your medical care. The insurer may try to use this to reduce your claim's value.
So, be sure to continue with your medical care for as long as it takes to recover from your injuries.
Call the Team at S. Burke Law Today at 404-842-7838 for a Free Consultation
Ready to get started? Contact our legal team today to set up a free consultation. You can schedule your appointment by calling our office at 404-842-7838.
What Happens If You Slip and Fall in a Store?
Did you slip and fall in a store? You might be eligible for compensation from the business. Georgia has a premises liability law that holds property owners responsible for preventable dangers on their property that cause injuries.
But to win fair compensation for your injury, it is important to take the right steps after a slip and fall accident. Read below to learn what you should do. For additional information, call an experienced personal injury lawyer at S. Burke Law for help: 404-842-7838.
What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall Accident?
There are five important steps you should take after you slip and fall in a store. Depending on how long ago your accident occurred, you might have already completed one or more of them. If not, start from the beginning and work through them as best you can.
- Seek Medical Treatment: Ideally, you want to seek medical treatment immediately after your accident. Even if you think you are not seriously injured, a doctor should check you out. If you have not yet seen a doctor following your accident, schedule an appointment right away.
- Report the Accident: If you have not done it already, file a report with the store manager or owner. Put the details of what happened in writing, have the manager or owner produce their own statement, and make sure both you and they have a copy of the full report before you leave. This way, when you negotiate a settlement or take the case to court, there is no room for the other party to backtrack and claim things happened differently than they did.
- Talk to Witnesses: Did you remember to collect statements from witnesses at the scene, or at least get their contact information? If not, it might not be too late. For instance, if one or more of the witnesses were store employees, you might be able to track them down at work. Talk to them about what they saw, and try to get formal statements from them.
- Do Not Talk About the Accident: If you are dealing with pain from your accident, it can be tempting to vent about it on social media. But this is the worst thing you can do. The responsible party, and their insurance company, could take your statements and twist them to be used against you. Do not discuss the details of your slip and fall accident with anyone but your attorney.
- Call an Attorney: You need a skilled and experienced personal injury lawyer fighting for your rights. I am that lawyer. Before I opened my firm, I worked as an insurance adjuster. My job exposed me to the other side of the negotiation table in personal injury cases. It gave me valuable experience that lets me anticipate and counter every tactic used by insurance companies.
What Can I Expect When Pursuing Compensation for My Accident?
Once you hire an attorney, we will start the process of negotiating a settlement or, if necessary, taking your case to trial. Our goal is to win multiple forms of compensation on your behalf, including:
- Medical Bills: We pursue the responsible party for both current and future medical costs associated with your injury.
- Lost Wages and Reduced Earning Capacity: If you are unable to work while recovering from your injury, or you suffer a reduction in your ability to do your job, we will seek compensation that covers the difference in what you are earning now and what you would have earned had you not been injured.
- Pain and Suffering: Your pain and suffering damages account for the noneconomic effects of your injuries, including physical and emotional pain.
Comparative Negligence Law
One thing to be aware of is Georgia's comparative negligence law. If the evidence indicates that you bear some of the liability for your slip and fall accident (for instance, witnesses saw you looking at your phone and texting when you fell), your compensation might be reduced by your percentage of liability. For instance, if your damages total $400,000, but you were 25 percent liable, your award would drop to $300,000.
Statute of Limitations
Keep in mind that in most personal injury cases in Georgia, you have two years from the date of your injury to pursue damages. It can go by faster than you think. Call a lawyer as soon as possible after your injury to start the process.
Call 404-842-7838 to Speak With a Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer
Have more questions? Schedule a free consultation to meet with an attorney at S. Burke Law. Call now: 404-842-7838.