Slip & Fall
Georgia law requires property owners to keep their premise in a safe condition. Too often they fail to do so, resulting in unsuspecting persons tripping, slipping, or falling and getting hurt. Unlike car or truck accidents, it is very difficult to determine if the owner acted negligently, and is legally responsible for your injuries. Just because a fall occurred does not mean that you are entitled to recover. Like car and trucking accidents, you need to show that the store owner, or its employees did something wrong (i.e. were negligent and at fault). Most fall cases rarely resolve without filing a lawsuit.
One way of recovering against a property store owner (i.e. negligent) is by showing that they had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition causing your fall. As the term suggests, actual knowledge is shown by having the store owner or its employees admit to knowing of the hazardous condition and failing to take action. A simple example would be catching an employee on video walking over the hazardous condition and failing to clean it up. Other examples include a customer telling an employee that there is a spilled drink and the employee failing to remedy the situation. Actual knowledge is very difficult to prove as most times store owners and employees will not readily admit to knowing off the hazardous condition prior to your fall.
Almost all fall cases are won or lost by showing constructive knowledge. Constructive knowledge means that the store owner or its employees “should have known”. The burden rests upon the injured party proving constructive knowledge before recovering for his or her injuries. Courts have routinely held that constructive knowledge applies in situations where an employee was in the vicinity of the dangerous condition and failed to take action. Other examples include showing that the hazardous condition was in the line of sight of an employee who yet again failed to recognize the danger. Constructive knowledge can also exist in circumstances where the store failed to implement reasonable inspection and cleaning procedures, or in situations where the store failed to actually perform these written policies.
Unlike car and tuck accidents, police are not called to the scene of your fall and investigate the matter. Rather, a store employee will investigate the incident, getting names and numbers of witnesses, and then provide a report to their supervisor. Such incident reports are only accessible only after you file a lawsuit, which means that it may only be available years after your fall. A slip and fall attorney should investigate your claim like the employee and store owner. Going to the actual scene should be done so as to get a better understanding of where and how the fall took place. Photos of the scene should be obtained to better visualize the area of your fall. An attorney should also immediately send the store a spoliation letter to preserve key evidence. Failing to do so might result in the destruction of key evidence such as videos, employee time sheets, cleaning manuals, inspection reports, etc, which you will need to prove your case.