Grocery chains, national retailers, shopping mall owners and managers – they are all required by Georgia law to maintain their properties in a reasonably safe condition so that shoppers and others are protected from avoidable injuries. They aren’t absolute insurers of a visitor’s safety, however. As a shopper or visitor to a mall, Georgia law also requires visitors to exercise some reasonable degree of care and watchfulness on their own.
Tug of War
Thus, the victim of a Georgia slip and fall injury is often in a tug of war. The insurance company for the grocery chain says that you should have seen the three grapes lying on the tile floor. You say, “how could I see them when you always put the best merchandise at eye level?” What defense does a premises owner or manager have when someone slips and falls on its premises?
Assumption of the Risk
Under Georgia case law, a premises owner or manager may successfully defend an injury claim filed by a slip and fall victim if it can establish that the victim:
- Had actual knowledge of the danger,
- Understood and appreciated the risks connected to that danger, and
- Voluntarily (deliberately) exposed himself or herself to the risks.
For example, if a large spill has happened on a grocery store floor and, while the maintenance folks are gathering their cleaning materials together, the store manager places several waist-high plastic cones around the area warning shoppers of a wet floor, in Georgia (and many other states), you can’t blame the store if you ignore the warning, proceed through the slick floor area, and fall. In such a case, you are on your own.
Most slip and fall situations aren’t that clear, of course. In some instances, both the premises owner and the shopper/visitor might be partially at-fault. What then?
Georgia Has a “Modified Comparative Negligence” System
In Georgia, the slip and fall “victim” is able to recover at least some compensation for his or her damages, as long as the victim was less than 50 percent at-fault for the accident. If, for example, it is determined that the victim was more than 50 percent at-fault, then he or she can recover nothing. On the other hand, if the victim was determined to be, say 20 percent at-fault and the victim’s damages were valued at $100,000, then the victim would recover $80,000 from the premises owner or its insurance company (total damages less 20 percent).
Experienced Legal Counsel is Crucial in Establishing a Valid Slip and Fall Claim
It is becoming more and more difficult to win a premises liability slip and fall case in Georgia. In virtually all situations, you can recover only if you have retained the services of a strong, skilled attorney. That is, of course, what you have with the Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash. He is professional, experienced, and aggressive.
With the Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C., you don’t get an office full of case managers behind a television face. You get caring, skillful, personal representation. When you call the office to check on your case, you can discuss the situation with Clarke himself. Clarke once worked for the insurance companies; he knows how they operate and what motivates them. He has office availability throughout the state of Georgia, so contact the Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C., at (912) 200–5292, to schedule a consultation today.