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  • By: Fall Law
  • Published: January 24, 2024
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If you are hurt on someone else’s property in Georgia, premises liability law allows you to claim compensation from them, as long as they were responsible for the injury. In order to do so, however, you will need to know who is responsible and in what circumstances you can claim damages from them. This article will explain:

  • How commercial and personal owners are treated differently by Georgia premises liability laws.
  • What an owner can be held liable for, including a lack of security, common area injuries, and improper maintenance.
  • How to prove that a property owner had enough knowledge of the dangerous circumstance to be legally responsible.

Does The Duty Of Care Differ Between Private And Commercial Property Owners In Premises Liability Cases?

Under Georgia law, both private and commercial property owners have a duty of care to individuals who legally enter their premises. This duty involves maintaining their property in a reasonably safe condition to protect visitors from harmful or dangerous conditions. When they fail in this duty, they can be held responsible and made to pay for the harm caused.

For commercial property owners, this duty tends to be stricter. Individuals invited onto the property for business purposes, such as customers in a store, are categorized as “invitees.” For invitees, the property owner is expected to keep the property safe through “ordinary care.” This means regularly inspecting the property and either addressing or providing appropriate warnings about any dangerous conditions.

Private property owners also have a duty of care dependent on the status of the visitor. For instance, they have a higher duty of care towards a social guest, classified as a “licensee,” compared to a burglar, classified as a trespasser.

As always, individual circumstances may outweigh these roles or influence how the law is applied. Things get even more complicated if the injury was caused not by dangerous circumstances but by a lack of security or preventative measures.

Can A Property Owner Be Held Liable For Injuries Resulting From A Lack Of Security On Their Premises?

Under Georgia law, property owners can even be held liable for injuries resulting from a lack of security. This falls under the category of negligent security. This is a legal term referring to situations where property owners, managers, or operators may be held responsible for not implementing reasonable security measures to prevent foreseeable criminal acts on their premises.

This notion is rooted in the principle that property owners have a duty of care to ensure a safe environment for their visitors, customers, and tenants.

In Georgia, property owners are tasked with considering local crime rates and implementing appropriate security measures to ensure the safety of their visitors. If they fail to do this and an injury or crime occurs on their property as a result, they can be held liable for any resulting damages.

Keep in mind, however, that these principles can be applied differently depending on the specifics of each case. Thus, consulting with a lawyer to understand the individual circumstances of an incident is always recommended.

Can A Property Owner Be Held Liable For Injuries In Common Areas Of A Residential Complex?

In Georgia, property owners can be held responsible for injuries that occur in common areas of a residential complex. These common areas might include hallways, laundry facilities, parking lots, playgrounds, and swimming pools.

The owners or landlords of the property have a responsibility to maintain these areas and ensure they are safe for use by residents and their guests. If a person is injured due to unsafe conditions in these areas, the property owner could potentially be held responsible.

However, the extent of the property owner’s liability might depend on various factors, such as the lease agreement terms, the nature of the defect, and whether the danger was known or should have been known.

Can A Landlord Be Held Liable For Injuries Caused By A Defective Or Hazardous Condition In A Rented Property?

Similarly, a landlord can be held accountable for injuries resulting from a hazardous or defective condition within a rented property. As provided by Georgia Code § 44-7-14, landlords could face legal repercussions for injuries to tenants or their guests due to defects in the property’s heating, lighting, or plumbing systems, among others.

Landlords have a responsibility to conduct necessary repairs and ensure the safety of leased properties. However, whether a landlord is responsible for injuries that occur inside a leased property can depend on numerous factors.

These include whether or not the landlord was aware of the hazardous condition, the specifics of the lease agreement, and what actions, if any, the landlord took to address the dangerous condition.

How Do You Prove A Property Owner Was Aware Of A Dangerous Condition In Premises Liability Cases?

In Georgia premises liability cases, if you want to win compensation from the property owner for your injury, you will have to prove that they had “constructive knowledge” of the danger. This constructive knowledge can be established in two ways:

First, the property owner or an employee must have been in a position to easily see or detect the danger because it was around for a sufficiently long period of time.

Second, the condition must occur so regularly that it could be considered an ongoing issue that the property owner should have addressed.

In other words, if a property owner should have discovered the hazardous situation through a reasonable inspection and failed to remedy it, they could be held liable for any resulting injuries.

Proof of this might come in many forms, including video surveillance, eyewitness accounts, or documentation of past complaints about the condition. Even if a property owner claims ignorance of the condition, if it can be proven that they should have known and failed in their duty of care, they could still be found at fault and made to pay.

Can A Property Owner Be Held Liable For Injuries Resulting From A Lack Of Proper Maintenance?

Georgia premises liability law requires that property owners exercise “ordinary care” in ensuring their property is safe for visitors, which means regular and careful maintenance.

If a property owner neglects the necessary maintenance, leading to an injury, they could be held accountable and made to pay for that harm. This duty of care includes conducting reasonable repairs and inspections to prevent harm to others on the property.

Consequently, if a property owner fails to properly maintain their property or doesn’t sufficiently address a known hazardous condition, leading to injuries, they could be held liable under Georgia premises liability law.

If you are still uncertain about who to hold responsible for your injuries, whether they are legally at fault, or need someone to help you take them and their insurance company on, you should contact an experienced premises liability attorney. For more information on Property Owner’s Role In Premises Liability Cases, an initial consultation is your next best step.

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