Understanding Georgia’s Slip and Fall Laws

Slip and fall accidents currently account for over 1 million hospital visits. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident in Georgia, there are some things you should understand about the state’s laws regarding slip and fall accidents before you decide whether to file a personal injury claim.

You Have to File Your Claim Within Two Years

According to Georgia Code, an individual has two years from the date of the slip and fall accident to file a personal injury claim. This also applies to all other personal injury claims in the state of Georgia.

You Need to Determine Your Legal Status

Before deciding to proceed with a personal injury suit, it is important to understand what your legal status was when you entered the property where your fall occurred. There are three categories of people who enter upon the property of another. Each of these three types of visitors require the landowner to uphold certain duties of care. These three categories are:

  • Invitees: Invitees are individuals who have been either expressly or implicitly invited to the property for business reasons. An example of an invitee is a customer who enters the premises of a grocery store to buy groceries. In regard to invitees, the owner of the premises has a duty to exercise ordinary care to keep the premises safe. The owner also has to reasonably inspect the premises to ensure that conditions are safe for invitees. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees.
  • Licensees: Licensees are individuals who have permission to enter the property, but who do so to further their own interest. An example of a licensee is a door-to-door salesman who enters the premises to make a sale. In regard to licensees, the owner of the premises has a duty to ensure that he does not knowingly or intentionally expose licensees to an unreasonable risk of harm.
  • Trespassers: Trespassers are individuals who enter the property without permission from the owner. In regard to trespassers, the owner of the premises only has a duty to refrain from willingly or carelessly causing harm to trespassers.

Georgia’s Personal Injury Law is Based on Modified Comparative Negligence

In Georgia, personal injury law is based on the concept of modified comparative negligence. This means that if a court finds that your own actions contributed to your fall, any damage award that you are entitled to receive will be reduced to reflect that fact. For example, if you are running along the pool deck and fall because you ignored the rule that prohibited running, the court could determine that you are responsible to some extent for the fall and the resulting injuries you sustained. This is important to understand because under this modified comparative negligence rule, if the court finds that you are 50% or more to blame for your fall, you will be barred from recovery from the property owner, as well as any from other potentially liable parties.

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