Slip and Fall Cases: The Notice Requirement

Categories: Premises Liability

slip and fall

In order to prove that your slip and fall claim is legitimate, you must first be able to show that the responsible party (the defendant) was aware or would have been aware of the danger that existed, and did nothing to prevent your injury from happening. Premise liability is defined as a landlord’s tort liability for conditions or activities that occur on the premises. Premise liability claims, including slip and fall cases, occur when a plaintiff is injured on the property of the defendant – this can be a private property or business property. Proving these cases is exceptionally difficult, and will require the assistance of an Atlanta personal injury attorney.

The Property Owner’s Duty and Negligence

Premise liability actions require multiple things. First, the owner owes a duty to provide you with a safe visit to the property, but you must establish first that you had a right on that property. For example, if you were visiting a business and were injured on the property, or you were invited by the property owner, then you have a right to be there. If you do not have a right to be on the property and you are injured while trespassing, you cannot find a claim against the owner – regardless of the condition or cause that injured you.

The owner is required under Georgia law to provide you with a safe premises, and prevent individuals from being injured. Therefore, if the owner knows of a potential hazard, he or she must rectify it before it causes injury.

Establishing the Elements of Your Claim

The premise liability elements are the same with all basic claims of negligence. You must establish:

  1. That there was a duty to provide you with a safe property.
  2. The owner breached that duty.
  3. The breach was what led to your injury.

The Notice Requirement

One thing that often goes overlooked in these types of claims is the notice requirement. This requirement focuses on proving that the owner owed a duty to you, the injured party. This is what is referred to as the notice requirement.

As the plaintiff, the burden of proof is on you to show that the defendant was aware of the hazard and did not take steps to prevent your injury after becoming aware of the potential danger. You do not need to show actual knowledge – you can show that it is reasonable to assume that the owner would have known about the hazard, such as stairs that were broken. Also, if the owner fails to perform routine maintenance or inspections, it could be considered negligent enough to prove your case.

In addition, the landlord must have a reasonable amount of time to correct the hazardous condition. For example, if it is snowing (but only for 20 minutes), and you slip on the snow and injure yourself, this is inadequate. While it was snowing and there was a hazardous condition on the property, the owner did not have adequate time to become aware or correct the issue; therefore, he or she would not be considered negligent under the law. If, however, it had been snowing for five days and the owner had not taken precautions to clear the sidewalks, then you could prove negligence.

Speak with an Attorney Regarding Your Slip and Fall Case

Proving that adequate notification had occurred is not easy, and often requires the assistance of an experienced attorney. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact Van Sant Law, LLC for a free consultation at 404-991-5950, or fill out our online contact form with your legal questions.