Hawk Law Group | September 7, 2023 | Slip and Fall
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that accidents involving falls accounted for 42,114 fatalities in 2020. Only traffic accidents equal them in terms of lethality. And for those that survive, many must face the pain and suffering of injuries and their effects on a victim’s life and livelihood.
Fortunately, compensation is available for many of these slip and fall victims. But even better than compensation is avoiding the incident altogether. By learning how slip and fall accidents commonly occur, you can potentially steer clear of the harms that typically result from them.
How Do Slip and Fall Accidents Happen?
In many slip and fall accidents, the cause is some form of negligence and thus avoidable, such as:
- Failure to warn of recently mopped or cleaned slippery floors
- Failure to clean spilled oil or other liquids
- Failure to deal with clutter, trash, and debris in walkways
- Failure to remove snow and ice
- Unrepaired or loose floorboards
- Unexpected holes in the ground or floor
- Uneven sidewalks or flooring
- Tripping hazards, such as exposed wiring and cords
- Missing or damaged handrail
In each of these contexts, the property owner or tenant has the duty to remedy the various defects or face liability if an accident occurs. However, the liability they face often depends heavily on the legal status of the person on their property.
Under Georgia law, not every type of guest is treated the same for slip and fall purposes.
Liability For Slip and Fall Accidents in Georgia
In Georgia, there are three classes of individuals who may be present on your premises: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
An invitee is a person who is on your property for a reason that benefits them and yourself.
There may be a contract between you and the invitee, who may be a:
- Landscaper or yard worker
- A delivery driver
- A home renovator
In other words, an invitee going to your house is similar to a customer going to a grocery store. The duty of care owed to invitees is the highest of all. It requires the property owner to exercise reasonable care, such as marking a hazard or clearing an icy walkway within a reasonable time.
Licensees, on the other hand, are parties who go to your house or a business for reasons other than conducting business or fulfilling a contractual obligation. They include people like friends, family, and others who are not present to perform services or work for the owner.
Generally speaking, licensees are owed a lower duty of care than invitees. Liability for a slip and fall accident will only attach if the property owner engaged in willful or wanton behavior, such as intentionally concealing the existence of a hazard on the property or downplaying or misrepresenting a risk.
However, if the risk was labeled or clearly visible, the victim’s claim would likely be unsuccessful.
Trespassers have no legal right to be on your property. And you would think that a property owner has zero obligations toward a trespasser. However, this is simply not the case. Some instances of trespass can result in slip and fall liability for the property owner.
For example, if a property owner knows that trespassers are or will be on their property, they may have the duty to take reasonable measures to ensure their safety, especially if the trespassers are minors.
Consult a Waynesboro Personal Injury Attorney To Discuss Your Slip and Fall Accident Case
Slip and fall accidents are common and sometimes deadly. Knowing how they often occur can help keep you safe in the future. Understanding when you may be held liable for one can help you avoid an accident from ever happening at all. In both cases, an attorney is extremely helpful for getting the most optimal outcome.
Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers In the Central Savannah River Area at Hawk Law Group for Legal Assistance Today
For more information, please contact the personal injury lawyers at Hawk Law Group at our nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.
We serve throughout the Central Savannah River Area and its surrounding areas:
We also serve in Edgefield County, SC.