Proving a property owner legally liable for a slip & fall on their premises takes considerable legal acumen. Evidence must demonstrate that the owner was aware of the hazard causing injury and that the injured person had a valid reason for not avoiding the hazard. This often requires considerable investigation and testimony from expert witnesses.
Under the concept of premises liability, all property owners, both residential and commercial, owe what is called a duty of care to people who they invite on their property. These invited people, such as guests, customers, or another company’s workers, are called “invitees” under the law. A chief part of the duty of care is the duty to keep invitees reasonably safe from foreseeable dangers. All too often, though, property owners neglect this duty of care, leading to a slip and fall, trip and fall, or other accident on the property causing injury.
Slip & falls, trip & falls and other accidents that occur on another’s property are a major cause of serious injuries, including brain bleeds, concussions, and other traumatic brain injuries, fractured ligament and tendon tears, and injuries to internal organs. It is critical to retain an experienced Atlanta slip & fall attorney as soon as possible if you are seriously injured.
If you or a family member is seriously injured as a result of a slip & fall, trip & fall, or other accident that occurred on another’s property, call The Baer Law Firm today at 404.THE.BAER (404.843.2237). Atlanta slip & fall lawyer Bryan Baer will meet with you in a free consultation to answer your questions.
Slip & fall accidents or trip & fall accidents occur following all types of property owner negligent acts. For instance, a grocery store may fail to clean up a spill in one of its aisles, allow a refrigerator to leak on its floor, or mop the floors yet fail to place warning signs in a noticeable location. A shopping center may neglect to fix a broken curb in a parking lot, leave a manhole uncovered, or place a parking space too close to a storm drain creating a trip hazard. An apartment complex that has a staircase which is not property marked or poorly lit can cause a misstep resulting in a trip and fall. Other trip hazards include torn carpeting, cables, and poorly shelved merchandise.
There are many other types of avoidable accidents that can lead to serious injuries. For instance, poor signage and lax safety procedures on a loading dock may cause injuries to a truck driver picking up freight. Failure to maintain or supervise the use of bouncy houses, large inflatables, or rides can cause serious injuries to children invited to play on them at a fair, carnival or community festival. Poor parking lot design can create conditions more likely to cause serious if not fatal injuries to pedestrians in the parking lots of grocery stores, shopping centers, and big box stores. Poor workmanship constituting negligent construction at a home or building can cause a deck to collapse, a roof to cave in or any number of otherwise avoidable accidents resulting in serious injuries or even wrongful death.
A property owner is not legally responsible for every accident or injury that occurs on its property, and property owners rarely accept legal responsibility for these injuries. Unlike a car wreck, where it is sometimes clear which driver was at fault and hence legally responsible, there can be much more to demonstrating that a property owner is legally responsible.
As stated above, owners and operators of property must keep the property reasonably safe. They cannot foresee all hazards, and the law does make allowance for this. For example, if a grocery shopper brings in a young toddler who spills some apple juice seconds before a customer slips and falls in the spill, the law is not going to hold the grocery store responsible for injuries as a result of that fall. It is not the grocery’s store legal duty to keep the child from spilling juice, and there was not enough time for the grocery store to identify and clean up the spill.
Typically for a property owner to be legally responsible, the injured person must prove that the owner either caused or should have known about the hazard and, despite the owner’s knowledge, failed to remove or warn of the hazard. The injured person must also show that he or she exercised ordinary care and still got hurt.
Victims must also prove that they used the property in a reasonable manner. If, for example, a patron was running or skipping in the mall before they slipped and fell, their chance of succeeding with a claim is slimmer than if they were walking in the mall before the accident.
Given the burden of proof involved, proving that a property owner is legally responsible for a trip & fall, slip & fall or other accident is often expensive and time consuming. In many cases, one or more expert witnesses must be retained in order to prove the property owner’s negligence and customer’s ordinary care. Accordingly, not every injury can be pursued as the out of pocket costs involved may be larger than the potential monetary recovery for the victim.
If you or a loved one is seriously injured following a slip & fall, trip & fall or other accident while on another’s property in or around Atlanta, Georgia, you need to call an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. The Baer Law Firm is here to help you.
Attorney Bryan Baer will act swiftly to meticulously capture and preserve evidence necessary to make your case. He will track down independent witnesses who saw the accident, visit the accident location to take photographs, measurements, etc., secure video recordings from nearby security cameras, and obtain construction plans. If warranted, attorney Bryan Baer will also engage investigators and experts to assist.
Bryan Baer is a slip & fall injury lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia who has handled dozens of cases for people seriously injured following a slip & fall, trip & fall or other accident that occurred on the property of another. The cases below demonstrate the hurdles involved in these types of cases and how diligent, courageous and compassionate representation can lead to successful results.
Attorney Bryan Baer’s client badly broke her ankle requiring two surgeries when she slipped and fell on the slope of a storm drain adjacent to the parking space where she parked. It had just begun to snow at the time of her fall. The property owner claimed that they were not legally responsible for several reasons, including that they had no knowledge of any hazard and that she slipped and fell due to newly fallen snow which they could not help. Both arguments appeared reasonable at first blush, so it was many months before the trip and fall victim sought legal representation.
Once hired, attorney Bryan Baer inspected the scene and noticed that the slope from the parking space to storm drain appeared significantly steeper at the space where his client fell than other locations in the parking lot. After filing suit, attorney Bryan Baer obtained construction drawings for the parking lot which showed the proposed slope of the drain. The actual slope appeared much steeper than the slope in the drawings. Attorney Bryan Baer then hired two experts.
One expert witness was a professional engineer who testified that (i) the slope of the drain as constructed was significantly steeper than that shown on the drawings and (ii) the steepness of the slope violated building codes and industry standards. This testimony enabled attorney Bryan Baer to prove that the property owner should have had knowledge of the hazard.
The second expert was able to testify why a person in his client’s position fell despite exercising ordinary care and how the fall was due to excessiveness of the slope as opposed to just general wetness from the rain or snow.
As a result, attorney Bryan Baer successfully overcame the for this premises liability case and recovered a six-figure settlement for his client.
Attorney Bryan Baer’s client was placing merchandise on a display wall at a trade show when the wall started falling. She put her left hand in front of her face to protect herself. The force of the wall on her left arm caused it to break. Fortunately, she did not need surgery, and her medical bills were covered by her employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. However, it was a traumatic experience and the injury took some time to heal.
The operator of the building where the trade show was held denied liability on the grounds that they did not construct the wall. Attorney Bryan Baer’s thorough investigation discovered that the group contracted to build the wall contracted with another entity out of state to actually perform the construction. To prove the client’s case, attorney Bryan Baer flew to Los Angeles, California, Louisville, Kentucky and Hartford, Connecticut to take depositions. His dedication paid off as it ultimately led to a witness willing to tell the truth about what happened: the contractor was told by his sub that the wall should not be built without lateral supports; yet, due to the contractor’s haste in getting it completed, instructed his workers to build it improperly anyway.
With the truth revealed, attorney Bryan Baer successfully resolved the case at a mediation shortly thereafter and recovered a six-figure settlement for his client.
If you have suffered a slip & fall, trip & fall or other serious injury while at another’s property, contact attorney Bryan Baer at The Baer Law Firm. Attorney Bryan Baer has handled dozens of cases for people seriously injured in accidents resulting from the negligence of property owners. Call 404.THE.BAER (404.843.2237) or fill out our online contact form so we may discuss your case in a free consultation.