A “slip and fall” case is one in which a person is injured when they fall on another person’s property. If this has happened to you, it’s possible that you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries and other losses. This isn’t as easy as it seems, and there are some pitfalls you want to be aware of and avoid.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is basically a law that limits the period of time that you can file a lawsuit. There are different statutes of limitations for different kinds of cases, and these vary by state. Failing to file your lawsuit within the specified time period will almost certainly result in your lawsuit being dismissed by the court. As a result, it is essential that you know what the statute of limitations may be for your case and exactly when it expires. You might need a lawyer to work with you on this, as it can be more complicated than it appears.
In Georgia, a lawsuit for personal injuries must be filed within two years from the date of the accident. If you were not injured but suffered some property damage, you have four years to file a lawsuit. Two and four years sounds like a lot of time, but it can pass more quickly than you think. Also, the longer you wait to file, the more difficult the case becomes – records may be hard to find, and memories become stale; maybe the property has been sold, or the owner has died. You also want to keep in mind that simply hiring a lawyer and attempting to settle with the insurance company is not the same as filing the lawsuit – the papers have to actually be filed with the court before the deadline, even if you think the case will settle.
Comparative negligence is a legal doctrine where an at-fault party claims that the other party was also at fault as a way to reduce or even completely avoid responsibility. To put it another way, the property owner may claim that you were at least partially responsible for your accident, and therefore should bear at least a part of the costs arising from your injuries. If the property owner is successful in demonstrating that you were partially at fault, the court will determine how much of the fault is yours (e.g., 20%) and then deduct that amount from the award for damages.
Here are some common factors that a property owner may point to in order to establish that the injured party was partially responsible for his or her own injury:
- You were under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- You were behaving in a careless or reckless manner
- You ignored obvious signs or warnings
Contact an Atlanta Slip and Fall Attorney Today
If you’ve fallen on someone else’s property and need sound legal advice, the personal injury attorneys at Slappey and Sadd can help. We can closely review your case and give you the legal advice you need to move forward. Call us at 404-255-6677 or email us via our online contact form in order to schedule a free consultation.