WHO IS RESPONSIBLE IN A SLIP OR TRIP & FALL
In a Georgia slip or trip & fall incident, the land owner or landlord are generally not responsible for your injuries if such land owner or landlord has given up possession and the right of possession to the tenant or occupier as stated in O.C.G.A § 44-7-14. That owner or landlord is only responsible for injuries from defective construction or failure to keep such property in repair.
Often in slip or trip & falls incidents, the commercial tenant or occupier of that property is responsible for your injuries under O.C.G.A § 51-31-1.
PROVING FAULT IN A SLIP OR TRIP & FALL
To determine whether the tenant or occupier was at fault, you should figure out your status on that property. These are discussed below.
- Invitees receive the highest duty of care by the tenant or occupier under O.C.G.A § 51-31-1. Invitees are persons who enter the tenant or occupier's property to potentially benefit that owner or occupier such as customers.
- Licensees are social guests and receive lesser duty of care under O.C.G.A § 51-3-2.
- Trespassers receive the least duty of care.
After determining your status on the property where you slipped and fell, the level of duty that the tenant or occupier owes you are discussed below.
- For invitees, the tenant or occupier has a duty protect them from injuries by hazardous conditions that are known or should have be known to an unreasonable risk of harm if such owner or occupier exercised reasonable care. This includes a duty to inspect, maintain, repair, clear, and warn about known hazardous conditions on their property to prevent injuries to invitees.
- For licensees, the tenant or occupier has a lesser duty to maintain, repair, clear, and warn about hazards to prevent foreseeable harm. There is no duty to protect licensees from obvious hazards that the tenant or occupier is not aware of.
- For trespassers, the tenant or occupier has a lesser duty to maintain, repair, clear, and warn about artificial conditions on their property that pose a risk of death or serious bodily injury for trespassers who are likely to enter their property.
The common question is whether the tenant or occupier had superior knowledge of the hazardous condition than you. Knowledge may be either actual knowledge or constructive knowledge. Actual knowledge is simply knowing about the hazardous condition while constructive knowledge is where the law presumes knowledge because the hazardous condition could have been discovered from exercising reasonable care.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A SLIP OR TRIP & FALL
- Take photographs of the hazardous condition that caused your slip or trip & fall.
- If there were any eyewitnesses, get their contact information such as (1) Name (2) Phone number and (3) Current address.
- Report your incident to the person who managing the place and make an incident report to document your slip or trip & fall.
- Seek medical attention if you have been injured.
- Do not provide any statement to any insurance adjusters who may contact you because they will be seeking information to potential discredit or devalue your injury claim.
HOW WE CAN HELP
Often, electronic evidence such as videos related to a slip or trip & fall incident can be "wasted away." To preserve these types of evidence, we will send out notices to all potential responsible parties to preserve such evidence. We will begin our investigation of the place where you slipped or tripped & fell to document all potential sources of evidence such as locations of video cameras and interview all persons who have knowledge of your slip or trip & fall. If necessary, we will file a lawsuit to protect your rights and seek the compensation that you deserve.