Any time you that enter a retail store or other property as a lawfully invited customer, the owner or manager of that property has a duty to demonstrate ordinary care in keeping their property free of hazards. Unfortunately, not every property owner takes this responsibility as seriously as they should, and the outcome of that lapse can be devastating for unsuspecting patrons.
If you slipped or tripped and got hurt on someone else’s property, you may want to consider talking to a determined personal injury attorney about your options for filing suit. With guidance from a Macon slip and fall lawyer who has handled similar cases before, you could improve your chances of holding a negligent property owner or manager liable for every form of harm you suffered from a sudden slip and fall.
When Are Property Owners Liable for Falls?
State law only holds property owners liable for accidental slip and falls under certain circumstances. According to Official Code of Georgia §51-3-1, property owners only have to exercise ordinary care in maintaining their property in order to prevent harm to “invitees,” a term which refers to lawful visitors invited onto property for the owner’s benefit.
Conversely, under O.C.G.A. §51-3-2, property owners only have to protect “licensees”—lawful visitors who enter property for their own purposes, such as houseguests—from “willful or wanton” harm. This means that a person who slips and falls inside someone’s private residence or on some other private non-commercial property generally will not have grounds to file suit for damages. One exception is if they can prove the property owner knowingly and intentionally tried to cause them harm.
Even if a property owner owes a visitor a duty of care, that does not mean the owner will be liable for any and all harm the visitor suffers on their property. For instance, if someone slips on a spill that occurred just seconds before they encountered it, the owner or manager’s failure to immediately know about this hazard would probably not constitute a breach of ordinary care. However, if a hazard existed for long enough that a responsible manager should have become aware of it, a Macon tripping accident lawyer might be able to help an injured plaintiff seek compensation based on that negligence.
Damages That Could Be Recoverable
Civil litigation allows people injured by someone else’s negligence to seek restitution for every form of harm that the negligence caused, whether it has already happened or will likely occur in the future. Recoverable damages can be economic in nature like medical bills, or they can be non-economic in nature like physical pain and suffering.
However, there are several legal obstacles that may inhibit recovery if a plaintiff is not prepared to overcome them during the process of pursuing compensation. A local slip and fall attorney could explain possible roadblocks like comparative fault and the statute of limitations in further detail during a private consultation.
Seek Help from a Macon Slip and Fall Attorney Today
While someone getting hurt on another person’s land does not automatically confer civil liability onto a property owner or manager, you might have grounds to file suit if you can show that your injury stemmed from a lack of ordinary care. However, knowing that someone should be liable for your injuries, and proving so in court or in private settlement negotiations, are different things. That is especially true if you have no legal representation to back you up.
Retaining a Macon slip and fall lawyer could make a difference in your prospects of recovering fair compensation for your injuries and losses. Learn more about the possibilities in your situation by calling us today.