Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2017
Premises liability claims are common in Georgia. Public and private properties present many opportunities for risks and injuries to visitors. From liquid spilled on the floor to a loose staircase handrail, hundreds of different things can create an unreasonable hazardous condition for unsuspecting shoppers or property visitors. If you sustained an injury on another person’s property, find out if you might have a valid Georgia premises liability claim.
The Property Owner Was Negligent
Property owner negligence is the most important element in any premises liability case. Like most personal injury lawsuits, premises liability suits hinge on the question of the defendant’s duties to the plaintiff and negligence in fulfilling these duties. According to Georgia Code Title 51, a property owner, occupier, or leaser owes certain duties to property visitors depending on their status as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser:
- An invitee enters a property by implied or express permission from the property’s owner. Examples of invitees are customers at a store, guests at an amusement park, and people at a public pool. Friends and family members may also be invitees to a property during social visits the property owner hosts. Property owners owe the highest levels of care to invitees. Owners must repair known hazards, warn of hidden dangers, and search and repair unknown hazards.
- A licensee is someone who enters a property for his or her own purposes, such as a salesperson or a repair technician. Property owners also owe a duty of care to licensees, as they have the property owner’s permission to enter a property. A property owner must repair known dangers on a property and warn the licensee of dangers that aren’t obvious but does not have the responsibility of searching for unknown hazards.
- A trespasser does not have the property owner’s expressed or implied permission to enter a property. Owners only owe trespassers the duty to not intentionally, willfully, or wantonly cause them harm. An exception is if the trespasser is a child, in which case the property owner owes the trespasser the same duties of care as a licensee.
Property owner liability in a personal injury claim will depend on the status of the visitor and how well the property owner adhered to the accepted standards of care. Failure to maintain safe premises, leading to visitor injury, is the foundation of a premises liability claim in Gerogia.
The Plaintiff Suffered an Injury
Even if a property owner failed to repair a known or obvious hazard, a visitor cannot sue unless he or she suffered an injury. It is not enough to have proof that a property owner was negligent – this negligence must have caused tangible or intangible damages. Common premises liability injuries include:
- Slip, trip, and fall injuries
- Snow and ice accidents
- Parking lot accidents
- Elevator and escalator injuries
- Dog bite injuries
- Swimming pool accident injuries
- Crowd-related injuries
- Assault or robbery from inadequate security
- Injuries from fires, water leaks, or floods
- Injuries from toxic chemicals and/or fumes
Unsafe premises can lead to broken bones, head injuries, traumatic brain injury, neck and back injuries, and a number of other catastrophic injuries.
The Defendant’s Negligence Caused the Injury
Finally, a talented Savannah premises liability lawyer will help prove that the defendant’s negligence as a property owner or occupier caused the plaintiff’s injuries. If a plaintiff claims that he or she slipped in liquid and broke a bone, for example, but the defendant argues that the liquid came from the plaintiff tracking snow inside the store, the courts may side with the property owner. A defendant’s negligence must have been at least a substantial factor in the plaintiff’s injuries for a valid premises liability claim in Georgia.