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  • By: Fall Law
  • Published: January 24, 2024
A man filling Slip and fall accident report - Fall Law

The occasional news article and every insurance company press department would have you believe that slip and fall injuries (the most common kind of premises liability claims) are rampant, simple, and fraudulent. The truth, however, is that premises liability personal injury claims are far from simple, as this article will explain. You will learn:

  • The most common (and very real) injuries that lead to premises liability claims in Georgia, and the duties property owners and operators have to help avoid them.
  • When a property owner can be held legally responsible for criminal acts that occur on their property.
  • How negligence is established in premises liability law in Georgia, and how it impacts tenants as well as owners.

What Are The Most Common Injuries Suffered In Premises Liability Cases Across Georgia?

Despite what insurance companies would like people to believe, the types and severity of injuries can vary significantly depending on the circumstances of the accident and the nature of the hazardous condition that caused it.

However, some injuries are more common than others in each type of case:

  1. Slip and Fall Injuries typically involve broken bones, strains, sprains, concussions, and other types of head injuries.
  2. Cuts and Abrasions can be caused by various dangerous conditions, such as broken glass or sharp edges on poorly maintained fixtures.
  3. Head Injuries include everything from concussions to life-changing traumatic brain injuries. They can be caused by falling objects, falls, or even walking into an improperly marked clear glass door, for example.
  4. Spinal Cord Injuries can occur when a fall or accident is severe enough, which sometimes lead to partial or complete paralysis.
  5. Burns caused by faulty wiring, unattended candles, or uncontrolled fires are also common injury types.
  6. Poisoning can result from exposure to hazardous substances on the property, such as lead or mold.

These are only some of the very real and occasionally life-threatening injuries that occur regularly on properties across Georgia. These properties should have been secured and verified by their owners.

What Duty Of Care Do Property Owners Owe To Individuals Who Enter Their Premises?

Under Georgia premises liability law, property owners have an obligation to care for the safety of people on their property. How much they have to do and the legal consequences if they fail to do so, however, depends on the status of the visitor.

Thus, if you were injured on someone’s property, what duty the owner can be held responsible for will depend on what you were doing there:

  1. Invitees are anyone invited (even by implication) onto the premises for the benefit of both themselves and the owner. For example, if you are a customer in a store, you are considered an invitee under the law. Georgia law forces premises owners to take significant care to ensure that their properties are safe for invitees.
  2. Licensees are visitors who enter the premises for their own benefit, like social guests. Property owners must warn licensees of known dangers but are not generally required to inspect the premises for potential risks.
  3. Trespassers are individuals who enter the property without permission or stay there after hours. Property owners in Georgia have a minimal obligation towards trespassers. They are generally required not to deliberately cause harm once the trespasser has been discovered.

The duty of care to protect most individuals from harm on their property is not the only obligation owners can be held accountable for failing in Georgia; they must also take precautions to prevent foreseeable crimes committed by others!

In What Circumstances Can Georgia Property Owners Be Held Liable For Criminal Acts, Such As Assaults Or Robberies, That Occur On Their Premises?

In some circumstances, property owners in Georgia have a legal duty to prevent crimes such as assault, rape, or robberies from occurring and harming others on their property. The concept underlying this liability is usually “foreseeability.” This refers to whether or not the property owner could reasonably have expected such criminal acts to occur and failed to take adequate measures to prevent them.

If criminal acts are foreseeable—that is, the property owner had a reason to anticipate such acts—the property owner could be held liable. This might be the case, for example, if the property is located in a high-crime area or if there have been similar incidents on the property in the past.

Property owners can also be held liable if they fail to take reasonable precautions to prevent foreseeable criminal acts. This may involve adhering to safety laws, codes, and ordinances or meeting or exceeding all state and local security laws applicable to the property. For example, requirements for deadbolt locks on doors, adequate lighting, and window locks.

This liability can be extended to situations where harm occurs to a visitor due to inadequate security on the premises.

Each of these circumstances involves a failure on the part of the property owner to uphold their duty of care—a commitment to maintaining a safe environment for those who enter their premises. Most often, this duty is failed due to “negligence,” which is an important concept to understand in premises liability cases of all types.

What Role Does Negligence Play In Premises Liability Claims? How Is It Established Or Proven?

The concept of negligence plays a key role in Georgia premises liability claims. To have a successful claim after being injured, you must establish the property owner’s negligence, which is a failure to maintain their property to a reasonable standard of care.

Several elements must be proven to establish negligence in premises liability cases under Georgia law, including:

  1. Duty of Care: You must establish that the property owner or occupier owed you a duty of care. Under the Georgia statute O.C.G.A. § 51-3, owners or occupiers of land owe a duty of care to you based on your status, as explained above.
  2. Breach of Duty: You then have to show that they breached this duty by demonstrating that the owner was aware or should reasonably have been aware of the hazardous condition that caused your injury but did not take necessary precautions or warn you about it.
  3. Causation: Then, you have to prove that the breach of duty was the cause of your Essentially, this means that the injury would not have occurred if the owner had not been negligent.
  4. Damages: Finally, you must demonstrate the damages sustained with evidence of the actual harm you suffered (physical, emotional, financial, etc.) as a result of the injury.

These specific requirements can sometimes vary based on the specific circumstances of the case. You should always consult with a local Georgia personal injury attorney for guidance when dealing with premises liability claims. One such complication occurs when the harm occurs on a rented property.

Can A Tenant Be Held Liable For Injuries On Rented Premises, Or Is It The Property Owner’s Responsibility?

Under Georgia law, both a tenant and the property owner can be held liable for injuries that occur on the rented premises, depending on the specific circumstances.

According to Georgia Code § 44-7-14, the landlord is not normally responsible for damages resulting from the tenant’s negligence or illegal use of the premises. However, the landlord can be held liable for damages arising from defective construction or from failure to maintain the property properly.

In some instances, a tenant might also be held liable for injuries that occur on the rented premises if their actions or negligence contributed to the injury. For example, if a tenant creates a dangerous condition on the property and fails to address it, they could be held responsible if someone gets injured as a result.

Clearly, premises liability cases are not as simple as some media would have us believe. If you have been hurt or are not sure who should be held responsible for your injuries after a fall or other accident, you should always reach out to an experienced premises liability attorney. For more information on Injuries Sustained In Premises Liability Cases, an initial consultation is your next best step.

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