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Atlanta Personal Injury Law Blog

What small business owners must do to avoid slip and falls

Slips, trips and falls can frequently occur on small business properties, but owners can avoid many such accidents if they exercise their duty of care to their entrants, which includes both employees and patrons. The following are basics that apply to businesses in Georgia and across the U.S.

Since business owners are the ones who are inviting others on to their property, those entrants have the right to a reasonably safe environment. This means an environment free of hazards like cracked pavement, debris, loose handrails, torn carpeting and poorly lit stairwells. When a hazard presents itself but cannot necessarily be "repaired," such as a floor that has just been mopped, then owners are required to put out signage warning against it.

Failure to provide elevators may violate public safety laws

Georgia residents who commute via public transportation may have heard that a walk down the stairs at a New York City subway station proved fatal for a 22-year-old mother who was attempting to negotiate the stairs carrying a stroller containing her young child. The young woman was killed during the fall.

Apparently, there was no operable elevator at the station. A lawsuit was recently filed over failure to provide working elevators in many NYC subway stations.

Orangutan in Toledo Zoo injures volunteer

Georgia residents who frequent zoos or work at one know that injuries can result through contact with animals. In December 2018, an intern at a North Carolina zoo was killed by a lion that left its enclosure. On January 26, a Toledo Zoo volunteer was seriously injured when a 14-year-old male orangutan grabbed her hand through a mesh enclosure, detaching her thumb in the process.

Two paid staff members were present with the volunteer in an area in which the orangutans were eating, which is not accessible to visitors. The incident was over in a matter of seconds, and there was no danger to the public. The volunteer went to the hospital for treatment, and the injury was deemed to be not life-threatening.

Essential safety features for Georgia parking lots and garages

Do you often use public parking? Perhaps your workplace has a nearby parking garage or lot spaces reserved for you and your co-workers. Maybe the housing development or apartment complex in which you live includes parking facilities. While available parking space is often a perk and welcome convenience, it can also be a source of great danger.

Sadly, violent crimes often take place in parking lots or garages. It's also not uncommon for motor vehicle collisions to occur in such areas. If you're going to walking through a parking garage or parking lot, especially after dusk, you'll want to brush up on your self-defense skills. The safest parking areas in the nation often have numerous features in common. If you suffer injury in a parking facility or lot, it's helpful to know where to seek immediate support.

Who is to blame for an accident in the parking lot?

When you are hurt in an accident that was not your fault, you could find yourself facing medical bills, physical injuries and other complications that can have a long-term effect. As a victim, you may understand that you have the right to seek compensation through a civil claim. You may not know what your options are, however, if your accident took place in a parking lot. 

Accidents that take place in parking lots are rather common, and often, they do not result in serious damage or injuries. However, there are times when a seemingly minor collision results in injuries that are quite serious and debilitating, especially when a car strikes a person who is walking. Inattentive drivers are the reason for many parking lot accidents, and this can be particularly dangerous for pedestrians and other motorists. 

Statute of limitations critical in wrongful death actions

People who have lost loved ones in Georgia due to the negligence of another should be aware that they have a limited time to file a wrongful death action. The time period in which a plaintiff may file a lawsuit is called the statute of limitations. This time period varies depending on the state in which the action is filed. In some jurisdictions, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death action may be as short as one year.

States also differ in respect to the commencement of the statute of limitations period. In many jurisdictions, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death action begins once the plaintiff discovers, or should have reasonably discovered, that they may have grounds for a wrongful death action. Other states begin the statute of limitations period from the date of death.

Banks may be liable to victims of ATM robberies

Willie Sutton, the notorious bank robber, is famous, although perhaps incorrectly so, for having responded to the question of why he robbed banks with the line, 'Because that's where the money is." Similarly, many crimes are committed at or near the vicinity of ATMs located on the exterior of banks. If the ATM itself is hacked or a customer is assaulted, those are crimes for Georgia law enforcement agencies to deal with. But there may be another legal course of action for the customer to pursue.

Under the concept of premises liability, the bank or financial institution is required to maintain the premises where its customers come to do business in a safe manner. A failure to do so may expose the bank to civil liability for whatever injury or damages were sustained by its customers. Legal experts report that in some instances there may be a federal or state law that addresses the issue, and a violation of that law could lead to the bank's liability, but other circumstances could do so as well.

Heart attack after ride leads to theme park lawsuit

The family of a man who died at a theme park has filed a lawsuit seeking damages for wrongful death. Among the issues raised in the lawsuit is whether the park had a duty to put up warning signs in Spanish. People who have been injured due to the negligence of others in Georgia might be interested in the details of the case, which raises issues related to personal injury and premises liability.

The plaintiffs in the wrongful death lawsuit are a family from Guatemala who were visiting Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. Shortly after riding one of the theme park's rides, the father of the family, a 38-year-old man, died of a heart attack. The man did not speak English and the lawsuit claims the park was negligent in not having warnings posted in Spanish.

Zoo intern killed by escaped lion

Zoos in Georgia or anywhere in the U.S. are meant to be safe places where visitors can see and learn about wildlife. However, accidents can happen. On Dec. 28, a 22-year-old intern lost her life after a lion escaped a locked area at a North Carolina zoo while she was routinely cleaning the animal enclosure. The 22-year-old was a recent graduate of Indiana University working at the zoo in order to develop her career in animal care. She had been employed there for around two weeks at the time of the incident.

In a statement, the zoo said that the intern was part of a professional team led by a trained keeper carrying out routine maintenance of the area when one of the lions escaped from the area where it was apparently locked. It entered the area with the humans, attacking and killing the woman. After the incident, the lion was ultimately shot and killed by local sheriff's deputies. According to the zoo, it is not yet clear how or why the lion escaped the enclosure or if the area was negligently maintained.

Slippery floors to blame for many slip and falls

CNA Financial released a Slip and Fall Study Report back in 2017 that property owners in Georgia should take note of. Flooring on business properties should be slip resistant. In technical terms, it should produce a dynamic coefficient of friction of at least 0.42, according to the American National Standards Institute. In 50 percent of the sites surveyed by CNA, however, the flooring failed to produce this DCOF.

For its report, CNA reviewed slip and fall liability claims from the start of 2010 to the end of 2016. It found retail trade and real estate companies to be the most subject to slip and fall accidents. Forty percent occurred on walking and working surfaces, especially flooring at the entrance. A third took place on parking lots, and 27 percent occurred on sidewalks leading up to business entrances. Less than 1 percent slipped on interior office flooring.

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