Personal injury law in Atlanta Georgia
If you are injured in an automobile wreck or if you slip and fall and injure yourself in a store or business establishment, you have the right to be compensated for the pain and suffering you have endured due to the negligent actions of other parties.
In any personal injury case two tests have to be shown before the party who injured you can be held liable for your injuries. The first test that’s got to be passed is whether or not the person that injured you was “negligent” in his or her actions resulting in your injuries. The second test that must be passed is to show that in fact you were injured as a result of the negligence of the party that injured you.
However, you should be advised that Georgia law treats a person who slips and falls at a grocery store differently than a person who is rear-ended in an automobile accident. It is a much harder case to get an out-of-court settlement, or a verdict from a lawsuit, for a premises liability case as compared to an injury resulting from an automobile accident.
Personal Injury Example
Let’s say you are walking into a grocery store and you slip and fall on a banana skin on the floor. Let’s further say that you broke your leg in this fall. Whether or not the merchant who owns the store in which you were injured is liable legally for your injuries turns on the specific question of fact as to what color the banana skin was at the time that you slipped on it. Under Georgia law a merchant has the legal obligation to anyone entering his business to make sure that the premises are safe for his customers. However, the first test the law imposes on you, the injured victim, is whether the owner of the business knew, or should have known, about the hazard.
In my example of the banana skin, if it was black, that implies that the owner knew that the banana skin was laying on the grocery store floor for a long period of time. In this case, whether or not the owner actually knew about the specific hazard to his customers is not the point. Georgia law states that because the banana skin, “the hazard”, was laying on the floor for a long period of time, the owner should have known about the hazard. On the other hand, if the banana skin was yellow, there is no realistic expectation that the merchant-owner knew, or should have known, about a hazard which occurred without his notice.
This means that even if you were injured, and your injuries were in no way your fault, (i.e. a yellow banana skin was laying on a yellow floor and therefore invisible to you) the merchant-owner of the store would likely not be held responsible for the injuries you sustained. You’d be responsible for your medical bills to fix your broken leg, and all of the pain and suffering that you had to endure because of your injuries. All this, because Georgia law differentiates the notion of “negligence” from injuries sustained in a premises case, versus injuries you might receive in an automobile accident.