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What is Comparative Negligence and How Can It Impact my Slip and Fall Claim?

When you have suffered an injury as the result of a slip and fall accident, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. However, Georgia law has a provision called comparative negligence that essentially allows for a reduction of your compensation if it is found that you, the injured party, were responsible for your accident and injuries.

In any slip and fall accident claim, merely suffering a slip and fall accident on another person’s property is not sufficient for you to recover compensation for your injuries. You must be able to prove that the property owner was negligent in his duty to exercise reasonable care and caution in ensuring the premises are safe.  If the owner can prove that he could not possibly have known of the hazard on his property or the risk it posed, you may not have a successful claim.

Georgia’s comparative negligence laws make the burden on the plaintiff or the injured party bringing the claim even heavier.  These laws allow for property owners to claim that an injured party was at least partly responsible for his injuries. This allows the property owner to reduce his liability in the accident.

If your claim goes to trial, the defendant or the owner of the party will attempt to show that you were negligent while on the defendant’s property in order to have his liability reduced. In other works, the property owner will provide evidence to show that you did not exert reasonable care and caution while on his property. This may seem like a classic “blame the victim” scenario, but it is very much the law in Georgia, as in other states that also follow comparative negligence laws.

Obviously, you can expect the owner of the property to do his best to provide evidence of your carelessness or negligence in using the property. For instance, if you did not have permission to be in the area of the property where the accident occurred, you might find yourself held at least party accountable for the injury. If there were warning signs posted around the area where the accident occurred cautioning users about the risk of a fall or other dangers, or if you failed to heed warning signs on the property, the property owner will be able to claim that you were partly negligent, thereby reducing the amount of damages that he is expected to pay you.

The damages are typically reduced by the percentage of your fault in the accident. For example, if a jury finds that you were 40 percent at fault in causing your accident, your damages will be reduced by 40 percent.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you should consult with a lawyer to determine how you can recover compensation for your injuries. Never try to settle a slip and fall claim on your own without the help of a lawyer. You may unwittingly sign away your legal rights to full compensation. Talk to an attorney even if you think you have been partly responsible for your accident.