When Can I Sue a Retail Store for a Slip and Fall Accident?

You’ve experienced a slip-and-fall accident in a retail store — what now? You may be sore, embarrassed, and ready to push past the incident. After all, those who suffer slip-and-fall accidents have been the butt of many sitcom jokes and painted as scammers trying to take advantage of the legal system. Don’t let this stop you from taking action after a fall. Over nine million people visit the emergency room every year for slip-and-fall incidents, so you aren’t alone.

When the owner of a store fails to maintain their property or create safe walkways, you aren’t in the wrong — they are. But before you can seek compensation, you have to find out if you have a solid case and if suing the retail store is an option.

Is the Store Liable?

For the store to be liable for your accident, they must have been negligent in some way. For example, if you are walking on a clearly lit walkway without any unavoidable obstacles and you trip because you are distracted by your phone, it’s unlikely that the store will be found liable. However, if you fall because store representatives failed to clear away snow and ice after a snowstorm, that would likely fall on their shoulders.

Other circumstances in which a store may be liable include:

  • Liquid spills
  • Debris blocking walkways
  • Uneven flooring
  • Slippery or torn floor mats
  • Exposed cords
  • Poorly lit areas
  • Broken handrails

Proving That You Are Owed Damages

There are several elements in a slip-and-fall case or any other type of premises liability case. Each one of these four requirements must be met for you to recover any damages:

  • The defendant (in this case, the store owner) must have had a duty of care to the victim to maintain the property;
  • The defendant must have failed to keep the property safe and free from hazards;
  • The breach of duty must be directly responsible for the victim’s injuries;
  • The victim’s injuries must have led to measurable damages.

If these conditions are not met, it is unlikely that you have a case. For example, if you break into a store while it’s closed and injure yourself, the other side would likely argue that they did not have a duty of care to you because you did not have permission to be on the property. If you slip on something but do not sustain any injuries, you don’t have damages, so you cannot sue for what could have happened. These details need to be discussed with an experienced premises liability attorney to determine the strength of your case.

Damages in a Slip-and-Fall Case

As the victim in a slip-and-fall case, you may be able to pursue compensation from the store owner and their insurance company. Any injury can lead to serious financial issues for victims, particularly if they have substantial medical bills or have to take time off of work to recover. Damages you may be able to seek include:

  • Medical bills
  • Future medical care and rehabilitative care
  • Property damage; for example, if your phone is broken during a fall
  • Lost income for days away from work
  • Future lost wages if your earning potential is permanently affected

You may also be able to ask for noneconomic damages, depending on the details of your case. Noneconomic damages include disfigurement, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Planning Your Next Steps

Immediately after a slip-and-fall accident, you may be focused only on healing and resting. However, if you don’t think ahead and gather evidence, you could lose valuable evidence for your personal injury case. Take the following steps to protect yourself and your rights after a fall:

  • Take photos of the scene, ensuring that you get multiple photos of any wet areas, loose cords, or other hazards;
  • Get contact information from nearby witnesses;
  • Report the accident to the manager on duty and fill out an accident report (read everything carefully before signing to ensure that you are not signing away your right to pursue medical care or file a lawsuit);
  • Contact an attorney as soon as possible to explore your legal options.

Reach Out to Ross Moore II, P.C. Today

When you choose Ross Moore II, P.C., you can feel confident that you have an attorney on your side who is dedicated to the success of your case. While you concentrate on recovering, we will handle the insurance and legal aspects of your slip-and-fall claim. Find out how we can help you by messaging us online or calling us at (404) 491-8511.

The Impact of Social Media on a Personal Injury Claim

As most of us already know, social media is extremely popular these days. This is particularly true among younger Americans. More than 90% of millennials and approximately 78% of those in Generation X are active on social media, as are more than 60% of Baby Boomers. Overall, approximately three out of every four American adults are connected to at least one social media platform.

There is no doubt that social media has become an integral part of our lives; and connecting regularly with family and friends is a great way to stay in touch and keep updated on how everyone is doing. When someone is involved in a personal injury claim, however, being on social media is not such a great thing.

It is tempting after getting injured in a car accident, for example, to want to post about this on Facebook or another one of your favorite platforms to share details of the crash with those who might be concerned about what happened to you. It is easy to get on there and post photos, describe how the accident occurred, talk about your injuries, and make comments about the other driver. But this would be a big mistake.

How Social Media can Negatively Impact your Injury Claim

It is important to realize that when you are injured in an auto accident or suffer any other type of personal injury through no fault of your own, the other side or their insurer is going to do everything possible to diminish your claim. Their goal is to minimize their losses, which means that their best interests are not aligned with yours. They are going to look for evidence that supports their interests, and since most people use social media, insurance companies expend a lot of resources collecting information from the profiles of claimants.

Here are just a few of the ways that your social media profile can be used against you in a personal injury claim:

Comments can be Twisted to Imply Fault

After an auto accident or a similar type of traumatic event, people tend to say a lot of things in the heat of the moment without thinking them through. And for some individuals, apologizing is sort of a default reaction when something happens that hurts others or damages their property. Whenever someone is involved in a motor vehicle accident, it is never a good idea to apologize verbally at the scene and/or admit any kind of fault for an accident, and it is even worse to put something like this in writing. As much as you would like to tell people what happened to you, make sure to never do it electronically, because your words will almost certainly be twisted and used against you.

Comments and Photos can Be Used to Diminish the Extent of your Physical Injuries

In addition to talking about how the accident happened, you might also be tempted to discuss your injuries. The problem is that people who are involved in an auto accident often do not know the full extent of their injuries until they have had a thorough medical exam. In addition, people do not always feel hurt right after an accident because of the adrenaline rush they experience, then later on, the pain starts setting in. These are just a couple reasons why it is never a good idea to discuss your injuries on social media. It should be noted additionally that photos you post online (or that you are tagged in) could also be used to argue that you are not really as hurt as you claim to be.

Comments and Photos can be Used to Refute Claims of Emotional Distress

When someone suffers a personal injury that was someone else’s fault, they are entitled to damages for intangible losses such as pain-and-suffering and psychological distress. But people rarely discuss the negative aspects of their lives on social media. When discussing injuries with loved ones, it is more common to put on a brave and optimistic face and put the best possible spin on what happened. Doing so electronically could again be used against you, as could photos that show you smiling, laughing, and having a good time with family or friends.

I Have Strong Privacy Settings, So I Have Nothing to Worry About, Right?

Wrong. You may think that everything mentioned above does not apply to you because you have the strongest possible privacy settings on your social media profile and the insurance company will never find your posts. What you may not realize is that insurance investigators have abundant resources and they are very tech savvy. Investigators have been known to uncover social media information even when the user thought it was impossible.

Aside from that, all electronic information is discoverable in a personal injury claim, meaning the other side could subpoena the information if they don’t find it on their own. The bottom line is you should assume that anything you post on social media (or get tagged in from someone else’s post) will be seen by the other side, and act accordingly.

How Should I Handle I Social Media Accounts after a Personal Injury?

The best thing to do after being injured and becoming involved in a personal injury claim is to unplug from social media until the case is over. But that said, we realize that not everyone will be able to quit cold turkey. If you want to remain active, at the very least, follow these guidelines:

  • Never post anything about your accident and/or ongoing personal injury case;
  • Never talk about any conversations you have had with your attorney or the insurance company;
  • Never talk about your injury, your medical diagnosis, your current condition, how you are feeling, or any related topic;
  • Never post any photos of you with loved ones on vacation or at any other fun event;
  • Adjust your settings so that others are not allowed to tag you on photos they take with you in them.

To sum it up, if you remain on social media, it is best to post information and photos and/or comment on other people’s posts as little as possible. Use social media as a tool to stay informed and updated on what others are doing; but refrain from posting any updates on what you are doing until after the case is over.

Contact an Experienced Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured in an auto accident or you have suffered any other type of personal injury, you will need strong legal counsel by your side advocating forcefully for your rights and interests. If your injury occurred in Georgia, contact Ross Moore II, P.C. for assistance.

Call our Atlanta office today at (404) 491-8511 or message us online to schedule a free, no obligation consultation and case assessment.

Protecting Loved Ones from Nursing Home Abuse

If you have a loved one who is living in a nursing home, the chances are high that you were involved in making the choice to transition them into nursing home care. Likely, your ultimate decision was based on the belief that your loved one would receive a higher degree of care in a nursing home than they would otherwise, and that this care was critical for their wellbeing.

While you may have been well-intentioned, and while you may believe that the nursing home is the best place for your loved one (there may not be another viable alternative) nursing homes aren’t always the safe, care-filled places that they purport to be. In fact, nursing home abuse is a serious problem in many nursing homes throughout Georgia and the U.S. If you have a loved one who is living in a nursing home, here are some tips for protecting them from nursing home abuse:

Know the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse

While no one likes to think that their loved one may be a victim of abuse, knowing the signs (and being prepared to act if you notice any of the signs) is important. Signs of nursing home abuse include:

  • Changes in condition, such as losing weight or becoming ill inexplicably;
  • Poor hygiene, such as unwashed hair; 
  • Development of bedsores or other health concerns;
  • Changes in mood and emotions, including withdrawal, depression, and angry outbursts;
  • Physical injuries and marks, such as bruising, bite marks, cuts, etc.; 
  • Bigger physical injuries that aren’t explainable, such as a broken hip or bone fracture;
  • Changes in finances, such as taking out a loan or a large cash withdrawal (which could be a sign of financial exploitation of the resident); and 
  • Torn or bloodied clothing and undergarments. 

Sometimes, signs of a facility where nursing home abuse or neglect are prevalent will be evident by searching for clues outside of the behaviors of your loved one. For example, pay attention to surroundings and other residents. Do things seem clean and organized? Do residents seem happy? Does staff interact with residents in a way that is loving and kind? 

Visit Frequently

Nursing home abuse is more likely to affect those who don’t have strong support from family members who are visiting on a regular basis. The more that you visit, the more opportunity you’ll have to identify any of the signs of nursing home abuse mentioned above. You’ll also have more time to interact with your loved one, who may feel comfortable sharing with you whether or not they are being abused. On each visit, be sure to check in with your loved one about the care they are receiving. 

Schedule Regular Meeting with Nursing Home Staff

Another way to prevent abuse is to schedule regular meetings and check-ins with nursing home staff members. You deserve to know the level of care that your loved one is receiving, as well as how they appear to be responding to that care. By speaking with the staff, you’ll probably get a good idea of whether or not enough time is being spent on your loved one to provide them with quality care. 

Learn More About Facility Rankings

If you haven’t yet selected a nursing home for your loved one, we recommend using the Nursing Home Compare tool provided by Medicare.gov to compare and contrast different nursing homes near you. Using this tool, you can see if a nursing home scores average, below average, or above average on a number of different criteria, including staffing, quality measures, health inspections, and an overall ranking.

If your loved one is living in a nursing home that has a poor ranking, be extra vigilant, and check in regularly. You may also consider moving them to a nursing home with a higher ranking. If your loved one is living in a nursing home that has a better ranking, don’t assume that abuse can’t happen – while it may be less likely, abuse and neglect is possible anywhere.

Contact an Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

If you suspect that nursing home abuse is occurring, you should gather any evidence you can to support your suspicions. Then, turn to a qualified nursing home abuse attorney in Georgia who can review your evidence, offer advice and guidance, and assist you in pursuing a nursing home abuse claim if appropriate. 

To schedule a free consultation with the skilled nursing home abuse lawyer at Ross Moore II, P.C., please call us at (404) 491-8511, send us a message, or visit our Atlanta, GA office today. 

What are the Most Common Causes of Auto Accidents?

Each year, there are millions of motor vehicle crashes in the United States. In Georgia alone, there are more than 1,000 crashes on average every day, and in 2018 (the most recent year we have full records for), 1,504 Georgians were killed in traffic-related events (according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety).

Although this was a small drop from the 1,540 traffic related fatalities in 2017, it is still significantly higher than the number of traffic deaths that occurred at the beginning of the decade. For example, in 2011, there were 1,226 fatalities from traffic-related events, and in 2012, there were 1,192. While those numbers were far from acceptable, our roadways are even more dangerous today than they were at the beginning of the last decade.

Sadly, most auto accidents are preventable. According to a 2016 report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), human error is a factor in 94 to 96 percent of all motor vehicle crashes. Most of these errors come down to some type of driver negligence, but there are also outside parties that sometimes play a role in causing a car accident.

Common Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Of those auto accidents that are caused by driver negligence, here are some of the most common reasons why they occur:

Distracted Driving

The vast majority of vehicle crashes involve some type of driver distraction. There are numerous ways a motorist can be distracted, including:

  • Eating and drinking;
  • Grooming;
  • Reaching for an object;
  • Talking to or handling a passenger;
  • Tuning a car radio;
  • Staring at a sign or billboard for too long;
  • Reading a GPS;
  • Talking on the phone;
  • Texting and sending and receiving other types of electronic messages through the phone;
  • Watching a video.

Driver distraction has always been a major issue, but many experts believe that one of the major contributors to the vast increase in car accidents in recent years is the types of distractions motorists are now subjecting themselves to.

Texting while driving and other types of electronic activity on a cell phone distract drivers in three ways; visually, manually, and cognitively. And if you are watching a video, you can add audibly to that list as well. This takes a driver’s complete focus away from the road, making it far more likely for them to miss important details, such as a pedestrian crossing in front of them, or a motorcycle getting into their blind spot.

In Georgia, it is illegal to drive while holding a cell phone, and this would include both talking and texting. And during just the first year after implementing the “hands-free” law, state police wrote nearly 25,000 tickets to drivers who violated it. This shows what many other studies have confirmed; that a large number of motorists engage in the most dangerous types of distracted driving, even when it is against the law. There is a lot of skepticism as to whether a couple hundred dollars in fines is enough of a deterrent to prevent this behavior from occurring.

Speeding

Exceeding the speed limit or driving faster than it is safe to under adverse weather conditions is one of the leading causes of car crashes. Most drivers have gone over the speed limit at one time or another, but for some people, this is a daily habit. Speeding is very dangerous, because the faster a vehicle travels, the less time the driver has to react when a potentially hazardous situation arises. Car accidents that are caused by speeding also tend to result in more serious and catastrophic injuries because of the force of the collision upon impact.

Reckless Driving

A reckless driver is one who drives with willful and wanton disregard for the rules of the road and the safety of others. And this type of behavior puts everyone on the road in greater danger of an accident. Excessive speeding is one form of reckless driving; others include tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes or straddling the center line in the road, dangerous or illegal passing maneuvers, running red lights and stop signs, making sharp turns at high speeds, street racing, and playing “chicken”.

Drunk Driving

Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.) have spent the last few decades running high profile public awareness campaigns highlighting the dangers of driving while intoxicated. While most people are aware that drunk driving causes slower reaction times, chemically alters your state of mind, and generally causes you to make poorer driving decisions, far too many individuals still make the horrible and often fateful decision to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink. Drunk driving claims the lives of more than 10,000 people each year, and this behavior is most common at night, on weekends, and during major holidays such as the night before Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, and the 4th of July.

Drowsy Driving

Driving while drowsy or fatigued does not get as much attention as other negligent driving behavior such as drunk driving or distracted driving, but it is still very dangerous. Drowsy driving is also more common than most people realize. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one out of every 25 adult drivers report having fallen asleep behind the wheel within the past 30 days. Anyone who does not get enough sleep (for most adults, that is defined as 6 to 7 hours of sleep a night) is susceptible to drowsy driving, and it is more likely among certain groups, such as those who work long shifts, those who drive commercially for a living, and those who have untreated sleep disorders.

Auto Accidents caused by Third Party Negligence

As mentioned previously, there are outside parties that sometimes contribute to a car accident. These may include:

  • The party responsible for maintaining safe roadways or parking lots;
  • The party responsible for keeping a commercial vehicle maintained;
  • The company that employs a commercial vehicle driver;
  • The owner or lessor of a commercial truck;
  • A cargo or shipping company that overloads or unevenly loads a big rig truck;
  • The manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of a faulty vehicle or vehicle part.

Contact an Experienced Atlanta, GA Auto Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one suffered injury in a motor vehicle accident that was caused by another party’s negligence or reckless actions, you deserve to be fully compensated. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not looking out for your best interests, and many times, they will work to undermine your claim and cause you to lose out on the compensation you are entitled to. This is why it is always best to work with a skilled attorney who committed to fully protecting your rights and interests.

If your accident occurred in Georgia, contact the law office of Ross Moore II, P.C. for assistance. We will provide a complementary consultation to thoroughly review your case and advise you of your legal rights and options. And if we take your case, we will work on contingency (meaning you pay no upfront attorney fees), and we will put our extensive experience to work to explore every potential legal avenue toward recovering maximum compensation. Call our office today at (404) 491-8511 or message us online to schedule your free consultation.