We have many success stories in obtaining justice for those seriously injured in a fall. In our experience, insurance companies routinely deny legitimate fall injuries in the hopes that the claimant will simply go away. We have discovered that much of the evidence needed to prove cases for a fall injury can only be obtained after a lawsuit is filed, subpoenas are sent for the relevant documents and videos, and sworn depositions are taken of the appropriate witnesses. After these tasks are accomplished, the “hidden negligence” of the property owner or business becomes clear. Mr. Hall has successfully handled and tried numerous personal injury cases for severe fall injuries against large grocery store chains, restaurant franchises and national retail stores. But, there are special legal requirements that must be shown by a person seriously injured in a fall.Is the Store Always Liable for My Fall?
No. In Georgia, a business is not liable for every customer’s fall. To have a successful fall injury case, the injured customer must show that the business knew or “should have known” of a fall hazard. Georgia law does place a duty on a business owner to provide a safe place for its customers to shop. The business must either correct the fall hazard or warn the customer of the hazard. Everyone is likely familiar with the bright yellow “Wet Floor” signs that stores sometimes use. These signs are the store's attempt to fulfill its legal duty to warn customers that the floor may be slippery, so the customer can avoid being injured by a "slip and fall."
The “high gloss” make-up of floors in many businesses also contributes to falls and injuries. For instance, most floors are designed to be “high gloss” to make the store more appealing and attractive to customers. However, the “high gloss” nature of the tile floors can create a slipping hazard when even a small amount of moisture is present. The same high gloss floor that is safe when dry can become suddenly dangerous and slippery when wet and cause a serious fall injury.
The “high gloss” also makes it more difficult for a customer to see moisture or water present on the floor. The shine created by the moisture can blend in with the natural gloss or shine already on the floor, particularly depending on the angle of the lighting. For this reason, the law places a duty on the business owner to perform routine inspections to discover any moisture or other slipping hazard that may be present. Should the business owner fail to conduct a reasonable inspection, the business may be liable for any fall injury that occurs.
The hardness of tile floors can cause severe injuries when a customer falls. Because the floors are usually made of tile or concrete, the floors are not very forgiving (especially to the elderly) and can cause broken arms, broken legs, fractured hips, and other severe fall injuries. Thus, a hard, glossy, tile floor can lead to a deadly combination of
1) becoming very slippery when wet,
2) making the moisture difficult to see, and
3) causing very serious injuries when the customer falls and strikes the unforgiving hard floor.
Yes, but legal notices must be sent to preserve it. Once a store has notice of your fall/injury, they always pull the video to see what happened. If the video of the fall is favorable to the store, they will certainly save it. If the video of the fall is unfavorable to the store, it has a way of getting lost. In most businesses, these videos are set on a “loop.” Under this loop system, the older videos are automatically written over by the newer videos. Thus, for an unfavorable fall video, the store will simply allow it to be “written over” by newer videos — unless the proper legal notices are sent immediately.Who Owns the Store Where I Fell?
Another tricky issue relating to fall injury cases can be determining who actually owns and/or operates the store where the fall occurred. Many times, larger corporations have layers of corporate entities, with a different corporation for each individual store. All of these corporate entities may be insured by the same insurance company or have separate insurance policies on each corporation. Thus, it usually takes an experienced personal injury lawyer to investigate and determine the proper corporate entities and to identify the insurance policies available to pay for the losses.
Mr. Hall is an experienced personal injury lawyer who has handled many fall injury cases. Mr. Hall and our trial team would love the opportunity to meet with you to discuss any potential fall claim. As always, the initial consultation is free and no obligation.