Getting hurt as the result of slipping and falling is a classic example of a personal injury case that a business may end up being taken to court over. However, a slip-and-fall injury is only considered a property liability case in certain situations. Personal injury law is complex, and there are a lot of nuances regarding what does and doesn’t count as something the business is at fault for. As a result, it’s important to know whether or not your specific case is something that, under Georgia law, the business is responsible for so that you can take the necessary steps afterward to get the help and compensation you deserve.

The Four Elements of Negligence

In Georgia, if a case doesn’t fit all four of the “elements of negligence,” the case will not be considered valid. These elements are:

  • The duty to keep the property safe. 
  • A breach of that duty, which resulted in the hazard.
  • The presence of the hazard itself.
  • Injury, which was caused by the hazard being present.

These elements are what they are to establish that the business was truly at fault for what happened and that an injury did indeed occur. Without these elements, a business cannot be found to be responsible for the slip-and-fall.

  1. Duty of Care

If a business has a duty of care, it means that they’re responsible for keeping anyone on that property free of harm. Trespassers may be exempt from this protection, as uninvited guests or anyone attempting to break into a commercial property are not supposed to be there and thus could not have been under protection. As a result, establishing who was “invited” to be on the property is important.

     2. Breach of Duty

Once it’s been established that the business has a duty of care, it must then be established that it breached this duty and allowed hazards to impact property guests. One factor that’s really important here is whether or not the business owner knew that there were hazards present. If they were aware of the problem but chose to ignore it, they’re at fault for what happened. 

This means that incidental accidents that the owner could not have seen coming are not something the business is responsible for. For example, a business would not be found liable for someone slipping on spilled milk in a grocery store that was never reported to the employees. However, if the business knew of the spill but didn’t set up any wet floor signs, then it’s their fault that the injury occurred.

     3. A Present Hazard

Of course, there must be a hazard actually present on the property. Merely tripping and falling while walking, if there’s nothing that would’ve caused this tripping and falling to occur, is not the business’s fault. Hazards include:

  • A wet floor, without any precautions taken, such as mats and wet floor signs.
  • Improper lighting, whether outside in the parking lot or inside of the building itself.
  • Broken, dangerous, or otherwise rundown staircases.
  • Uneven or damaged flooring, such as with bumps in the rugs or cracks in the ground.

Of course, any number of things can cause a person to slip and fall. The key is that something must be present to cause the accident, and the business should have been aware of and able to help guests avoid the hazard. 

   4. Injury

This one is the easiest factor. When you slipped and fell, did you get hurt? Did you suffer from a different sort of damage, like a broken phone? Can you prove that the injuries came from slipping and falling? As long as an injury honestly did happen at the scene because of the slip and fall, then you are able to pursue the case.

Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you have a personal injury case to pursue in Georgia, you need an attorney who can help. At Lamar Law Group, we know the nuances of a personal injury case, and we can help you get the evidence you need to earn the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more.