Personal injury is the wrongful injury of one person caused by the fault of another. A Georgia personal injury claim can seek compensation for lost wages, medical expenses and potentially punitive damages to punish the offender. Gwinnett County personal injury attorney Shane Smith explains a victim's rights when a slip-and-fall accident occurs in a retail store.
There are four general types of "fall down" accidents:
- Slip-and-fall accidents—A foreign substance causes a shoe to slide on a floor resulting in an injury.
- Trip-and-fall accidents—A foreign object obstructs an area used for walking.
- Step-and-fall accidents—A hole or uneven surface causes someone to lose their balance and fall.
- Stump-and-fall accidents—A permanent obstruction in the walking surface causes someone to fall.
Retail businesses have a duty to keep customers safe. Slip-and-fall accidents are often considered premises liability cases because a business is liable to a customer if he sustains an injury. Business patrons are considered "business invitee" and are owed a duty of care.
Stores are obligated to clean up hazards on a floor and maintain the premises, including stairs and elevators, in a safe condition. Larger stores often employ risk management personnel to handle patrons' accidents. Frequently there are internal policies and forms already designed to document an incident. The store might encourage a victim to sign a statement or agree to compensation at the time of the incident. This is often done in an effort to minimize legal liability and commit the victim to a settlement without the aid of an attorney. Such agreements may cover medical treatment associated with the slip-and-fall but it may not pay for lost wages, pain and suffering and continuing medical treatment or therapy.
An experienced Gwinnett County personal injury attorney will pursue a case to get fair compensation for the victim. Call the Law Office of Shane Smith to schedule a free legal consultation.