Slip And Fall Accidents On Private Vs. Business Property
Slip and fall accidents can result in serious injuries, whether they occur on private or business property. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 29 Georgia residents lost their lives in workplace accidents involving slips, falls, and trips in 2019. Injured victims in these types of accidents are often not sure who is liable for compensation of medical and other costs related to their injuries. Those interested in learning more about slip and fall accidents on private vs. business property may want to consider visiting with the experienced personal injury attorneys The Mark Casto Law Firm at 708-940-4002 to ensure their legal right to compensation remains protected.
Common Injuries in Slip and Fall Accidents
Approximately nine million people visit emergency rooms in the United States each year following slip and fall accidents. Some of the most common injuries suffered by those involved in these accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Sprained wrists and ankles
- Hip fractures
- Spinal cord and back injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Knee injuries
- Neck and shoulder injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injuries are more common in slip and fall accidents than any other type of accident. The CDC also predicts that by 2030 there may be seven deaths every hour related to falls if rates continue to rise.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
There are several reasons slip and fall accidents may occur on either private or business properties. Some of the places this type of accident occurs include:
- Small businesses
- Nursing homes and assisted living facilities
- Grocery and retail stores
- Rental properties and apartment complexes
- Government-owned buildings
- Private or residential property (personal homes, etc.)
Some of the reasons someone may suffer a slip and fall accident resulting in injuries include:
Whether indoors or out, someone may slip or trip over hazards they cannot see due to poor lighting.
Wet or Slippery Floors
Retail and grocery stores frequently mop and polish floors. In a grocery store setting, there may be food or beverage items that have been dropped, broken, and create a slip hazard. When floors are wet or otherwise slippery customers must be made aware of conditions with "caution" or other signs indicating the danger.
Stairs, Steps, and Railings
Stairs without railings put those who enter a business or other building at risk of falling. Businesses must make certain that stairways, steps, and railings are in good condition, so clients and customers are safe. This involves ensuring there are no loose floorboards, missing or broken steps, or other potential hazards.
Damaged Floors and Carpets
Floors that are loose, unlevel, or otherwise damaged can cause someone to slip or trip. Rugs and carpeting used in retail and other businesses should lay flat, without frays or curled up edges that could cause a slip and fall accident.
Parking Lot Hazards
Potholes, cracks, gaps in concrete, and uneven pavement in parking lots can cause accidents for those who visit an establishment. In many cases the business owner is responsible for keeping the parking lot and sidewalks safe.
The Mark Casto Law Firm is available for those with questions or who need legal assistance after suffering injuries resulting from someone else's negligence.
Differences Between Private and Business Slip and Fall Accidents
When a private or business property owner fails to maintain their property so that it is safe for others, the property owner is liable when someone suffers injuries in a slip and fall accident under Georgia law. Property owners may fall into one of three categories:
- Residential property owners and landlords
- Commercial and business property owners
- Government property
Property owners are generally not liable for injuries that may occur in slip and fall accidents when the victim was trespassing or otherwise on a property unlawfully.
Commercial and Business Properties
Owners of restaurants, stores, and other commercial establishments may be held liable for injuries in a slip and fall accident when they caused the hazard to appear or occur, knew about the hazard but failed to remedy the situation, or as a "reasonable" person responsible for overseeing the property would have known of the hazard and taken care of the problem.
Residential (Private) Property
Residential property owners are obligated to keep their property free of hazards, just as business owners are. Landlords must also keep their property free of hazards and may be responsible when a tenant or visitor of the tenant suffers injuries in a slip and fall accident.
Special rules apply when someone is injured in a slip and fall or other premises accident owned by a federal, state, or local entity. Sovereign immunity applies in some cases, which means that without the consent of the government, it cannot be sued. However, in specific circumstances the state of Georgia as well as the United States federal government have waived sovereign immunity regarding premises liability lawsuits to a limited extent.
With few exceptions, a lawsuit for a slip and fall accident resulting in injuries must be filed within two years of the accident. In addition to the state's statute of limitations, it is important to note that taking swift legal action ensures that physical evidence is preserved and any witnesses to the accident will clearly recollect what occurred. Injured victims who wait for months or longer before filing a claim often have a more difficult time collecting compensation for costs related to their injuries.
Consider Scheduling a Visit with The Mark Casto Law Firm
Slip and fall accidents often result in serious or even life-threatening injuries. Insurance companies often limit or deny claims, and work to pay out as little as possible. A seasoned personal injury attorney can work on the client's behalf by negotiating with the insurance company or filing a lawsuit if it is necessary to collect damages from those who were negligent. Damages may include medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other expenses. Those who want to learn more about slip and fall accidents on private vs. business property may want to consider reaching out to The Mark Casto Law Firm at 706-940-4030.