Comparative Negligence in Slip and Fall Accident Cases

The cause of slip and fall accidents can frequently be attributed to the negligence of a property owner. The people who own homes and businesses have a legal responsibility to keep their property in a condition that is safe for any individuals who visit the premises.

Although safety and maintenance are ultimately the responsibility of property owners, the state of Georgia follows comparative negligence laws in slip and fall accident cases. This means the injury victim could share blame in their case and could have their compensation reduced according to their degree of fault.

Was the Hazard “Open and Obvious”?

In slip and fall accident cases, the victim may be partially liable for their own injuries if the cause of harm could be considered as “open and obvious.” Open and obvious dangers constitute any safety hazard that was clearly visible to guests, and therefore could have been avoided. For example, it may be difficult to claim that you were injured because you did not see a giant hole in the ground on a sunny day. The hole would be considered as an open and obvious danger, and the victim could share liability in this case.

Was a Warning Sign Posted?

If a danger is not inherently obvious, the defendant property owner may still be able to avoid full liability for a slip and fall accident if they posted a warning sign. Warning signs must be visible, legible, and understandable to qualify as a competent indication of an on-site hazard. The posting of any signage will not reduce a property owner’s liability, but the presence of an adequate sign could lead to reduced compensation for the injury victim.

Although the visibility of a hazard can reduce the liability of a property owner, it does not always completely exclude them from blame. Property owners can still be liable for the negligent management of their home or business if it causes another person to be injured, regardless of how obvious the danger was or if a warning sign was posted.

The attorneys of Busch, Reed, Jones & Leeper, P.C. can represent you if you were injured in a slip and fall accident. Contact us to discuss the details of your case and get started on your claim.

To schedule a free consultation with our legal team, complete our contact form or call (770) 629-0154.

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