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Trips, Falls

Georgia law provides several different types of legal claims against landowners where the landowner’s negligence results in a person who is legally on their property being injured. The Tyrone Law Firm has been successful on behalf of clients bringing Premises Claims. We have obtained some of the largest jury verdicts in the state. Specifically, in a case that went to jury trial in Cobb County in 2010 we obtained the largest Premises Claim verdict in the State.

As the law is complicated, what we are able to outline in a webpage is only the most general overview. Please take this advice. (It is the same advice we would give our neighbor or a member of our family). Before you select a lawyer to represent you – particularly in something as important as choosing a lawyer to bring a Premises Claim lawsuit on behalf of you or a member of your family: you must compare lawyers and choose wisely.

A successful Premises Claim lawsuit – if handled correctly – can provide you and your family money for urgently needed medical care, for wages lost as a result of injury, to reimburse you for past medical care, and for the pain and suffering from the injury. It is hard to overstate how much is at stake.

Slips, Trips and Falls:

Premises claims can result from many different kinds of injuries. One of the most common is an injury resulting from a slip, trip or fall. In “Trip and Fall” cases, the same elements apply: the injured person can only be successful in their legal claim where they can prove that the property owner (1) had superior knowledge of a danger on their property, and that the property owner (2) did not take reasonable steps to fix or remove the danger, or warn the person coming onto their property about the danger.

However, Trip and Fall cases often require specialized expertise in the mechanism that caused the trip or fall. Sometimes the client is injured by tripping or falling on an item that has been dropped on the floor – for example, a puddle of water in a supermarket. Often, the trip or fall results from a defect in the floor, stairway, step or entranceway. In these cases, we routinely involve construction, architecture, building code and permitting experts. (See our section on “Experts and Investigators”). In cases involving a construction defect or a building code violation we work with these experts to establish the landowner’s responsibility for the client’s injury.

The Law – Generally:

Georgia law provides a legal claim where someone is injured on another person’s property. The injured person can only be successful in their legal claim where they can prove that the property owner (1) had superior knowledge of a danger on their property, and that the property owner (2) did not take reasonable steps to fix or remove the danger, or warn the person coming onto their property about the danger. This is a very important point: the law in Georgia does not provide a claim in all cases where a person is injured on another person’s property. Put another way, Courts in Georgia have held “the landowner is not the insurer of persons who come onto their property”. Therefore, the lawyer handling your Premises Claim must be an expert in gathering the evidence necessary to show the landowner’s (1) prior, superior knowledge of the danger, and (2) that the landowner did not act reasonably in either fixing, removing, or warning about the danger. If the lawyer cannot establish each of these facts on behalf of the client, the landowner and the Court can end the lawsuit shortly after it begins.

Development of the “story” of our client’s injury and loss:

The state of Georgia differs from many other states in the fact that a victim’s injury is not considered from a perspective of “any person” or “how the juror would perceive the injury”, but rather, how an injured party places value on their own injury, and what monetary value this injured party would place on said injury. Perhaps it appears to be obvious that each one of us would place monetary value on our own injury at the highest dollar amount possible, according to the law, this is not the case. The underlying message behind this particular premise is that “each party may assign a different monetary value to their injury”. Another way to put it is to say that “each injury and each person is different”.

The attorney’s job here is to gather substantive evidence which shows what the client places value on in their life and how this injury has affected them and impacted their life. Has the injury had an impact on their contact with family? Perhaps they have no family. Has their activity level been affected by the injury? What if they were not an active person?

So, it is at this juncture that the attorney’s level of skill in putting on the evidence showing the ”story” of the client’s life and how it has been impacted by the life-changing incident – is critical. Nelson Tyrone has developed a high level of expertise in this area, going to all lengths possible to convey the client’s story to a jury. This includes such techniques as employing family therapists or psychologists to assist in uncovering the person’s story and to show the manner in which they lived their life. In addition, we also use many of the same methods and techniques as those used by actors, screenwriters, and directors to determine how to best craft the story, and to show the pieces of evidence, the witnesses, and various “scenes” from the client’s life that we want to put in front of the jury.

People ask why we are “trial-focused” and “jury-focused”?

Quite often, a client may say to us “why are we spending so much time discussing the jury or the trial, if what I really want is for you to settle my case without having to even go to trial?” Here is the answer. In most cases, the insurance companies and the corporations who are usually the Defendants in our cases, are not going to pay more than they have to. They only pay as much as they believe that they will be forced to. And, their belief is based on the reputation of the attorney involved in the case and how afraid they are of the attorney’s ability at trial. They will pay different monetary amounts to different attorneys in similar cases, always based on how afraid they are of the attorney taking the case to trial and how successful they believe said attorney will be at trial. There are many lawyers out there who always settle their client’s cases and never go to trial, regardless of the circumstances. No insurance company is going to pay full value of the damages to an attorney like this, because they know they don’t have to, and that they can settle without going to trial. Such corporations are only going to pay full value of a claim when they know the attorney they are dealing with has a reputation for taking cases to trial and also has a reputation for obtaining large verdicts, and when they know that the attorney has his case prepared for trial.

So, in a nutshell, this is the reason that we put our focus on trial in each and every case. By doing so, we are sending a message to the Defendants that we are not going to settle for less than top dollar. They have the choice of paying us a premium to settle your case, or to face a trial by jury. Due to Nelson Tyrone’s expertise in preparing and presenting cases to a jury, we believe that the juries we face will always find in our favor and therefore force the insurance companies to pay us top dollar for your case.

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