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  • By: Fall Law
  • Published: January 24, 2024
Premises liability document and a gavel - Fall Law

Have you fallen or been injured in a business or someone else’s home? Under Georgia premises liability laws, if you have been hurt because of the negligence or recklessness of a property owner, you are entitled to financial compensation for those injuries. This article explains:

  • What premises liability law is in Georgia, and how it is different from other personal injury claims.
  • How your status while visiting a property impacts your ability to claim compensation.
  • Some examples of the kinds of dangerous conditions that could lead to an injury and premises liability claims.

What Are Premises Liability Laws?

Premises liability refers to a set of legal principles that hold owners and occupiers of property legally responsible for accidents and injuries that occur there. The types of incidents that may result in premises liability claims can range from a slip and fall on a wet floor to injuries suffered on amusement park rides. These laws aim to ensure that property owners maintain safe environments for individuals who visit their premises.

In the context of Georgia law, to be eligible for financial compensation for your injuries, you must prove that the property owner or possessor failed to exercise “due care” which led to your injury. Under the law, this failure to provide due care covers a number of scenarios, from inadequate maintenance to defective conditions or inadequate security and signage.

How Does Premises Liability Law Differ From Other Types Of Personal Injury Law?

While premises liability is a part of personal injury law, it significantly differs from other types of personal injury cases, such as car accidents or medical malpractice. The key distinctions lie in the cause and location of the injury.

In general, personal injury law requires that an act of negligence directly causes an injury to another person, regardless of where the injury happened. For example, if a person is injured due to a doctor’s negligence, it doesn’t matter whether that incident occurred in your home or their surgery ward; you have grounds for a medical malpractice personal injury claim.

On the other hand, premises liability deals specifically with injuries caused by unsafe or defective conditions on someone’s property. So, the location of the negligent act is central to premises liability claims.

Additionally, to bring forward a successful premises liability claim, you will often need to prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazardous condition, which is not usually required in many other personal injury lawsuits.

Does What I Was Doing On The Property Impact My Ability To Recover Compensation In A Premises Liability Claim?

Your status as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser significantly impacts your ability to file a premises liability claim after an injury. Your status determines the level of duty the property owner or occupant owes you to ensure your safety. Here is a breakdown of premises liability obligations and options according to each status:

1. Invitee

You are an invitee if you entered the property with the owner’s permission and for mutual benefit, such as a customer in a store. The property owner owes the highest duty of care to invitees.

Property owners or operators are required to actively maintain a safe environment and warn invitees of any known or reasonably discoverable hazards.

2. Licensee

You are a licensee if you entered the property with the owner’s permission but for your own purpose or benefit. Property owners still owe a duty of care to licensees, but it is generally lower than the duty owed to invitees.

They need to warn you of any known dangers on the property but do not have as much obligation to maintain the safety of the property.

3. Trespasser

You are a trespasser if you enter or remain on a property without the owner’s permission. In most cases, property owners owe the lowest duty of care to trespassers.

All they need to do is avoid intentionally or recklessly causing you harm. Property owners generally are not required to warn trespassers of hazards or maintain a safe environment for them, with one exception.

In Georgia law, a clause called “attractive nuisance” requires that property owners secure or remove potential dangers that may attract children, even if they are trespassers.

Thus, your status as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser significantly affects the duty of care that a property owner owes and, consequently, impacts the potential for a successful premises liability claim if you have been injured on their property.

What Dangerous Conditions On A Property Could Lead To Premises Liability Claims?

If you are a property owner looking to protect yourself or an injured person trying to determine if you have a valid claim, it is important to understand what situations can lead to premises liability claims.

There are numerous hazardous conditions on a property that could potentially lead to a premises liability claim. Here are a few examples:

  1. Poor Constructions or Faulty Designs: Anytime structures on a property collapse or fail due to improper construction, such as a staircase that gives way or a balcony that falls, if someone is injured, the owner is often liable.
  2. Inadequate Maintenance: Whenever broken doors or windows, uneven walkways or flooring, or poorly stored goods fall and injure someone or cause someone to fall, the lack of proper maintenance is often a sufficient cause for a premises liability claim.
  3. Slip and Fall Conditions: Among the most common premises liability claims, whenever fluid or other materials left on the floor cause a slipping hazard (tripping hazards are caused by poor carpeting or uneven flooring) and someone falls, the property owner is liable.
  4. Specific Hazards: This category encompasses a range of dangerous situations, such as insufficient lighting, abandoned swimming pools, or snow or ice accumulations, that present a clear risk.

In general, premises liability claims hinge on whether the property owner or occupier knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to take action to rectify it. If you are unsure whether you have a valid premises liability claim, you should reach out to an experienced local personal injury attorney for advice and guidance. For more information on Premises Liability Injury Claims In Georgia, an initial consultation is your next best step.

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