Premises liability cases come about when an injury happens on someone’s property and is caused by an unsafe or dangerous condition. Premises liability is a type of personal injury case, which means it’s based on negligence. Below, we’ll cover what a premises liability case and how to know if you have a valid one.
How a Premises Liability Case Works
Since premises liability cases depend on who is at fault, the injured person must be able to prove that the property owner was negligent in their accident. In other words, the property owner must have breached their duty to “exercise ordinary care” in keeping their premises safe, as outlined in the Georgia Code § 51-3-1.
When a property owner is responsible for an injury accident on their property, they become liable for damages you face because of your injuries. That means you can file a claim with their insurance company to seek compensation for your costs.
Proving Negligence in a Premises Liability Case
Simply getting injured on someone’s property does not automatically mean you have a premises liability case. To have a valid case, the following elements of negligence must be present:
- The property owner had a duty of care.
- They breached that duty of care.
- Your injuries resulted from that breach of duty.
- You have damages from the accident caused by the property owner’s breach of duty.
In other words, you’ll need to show that the property owner (or an employee on the property) should have noticed a dangerous or hazardous condition and fixed it—but they failed to do so. Then, you’ll need to show that, as a result of their negligence, you were injured and suffered damages.
Proving negligence in a premises liability case is easier said than done. It’s not enough to simply claim that the owner or employee breached their duty of care. You will need to demonstrate it through evidence, which may include pictures, video surveillance footage, witness testimony, expert testimony, and more.
If you suspect you have a premises liability case, it’s best to contact an experienced premises liability lawyer right away. They can tell you if you have a valid case and discuss your options. A lawyer will also help you gather the necessary evidence to demonstrate what happened and communicate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Invitee, Licensee, and Trespasser Roles in Premises Liability
The role of the person who is injured matters in a premises liability case, too. The duty of care mentioned in Georgia Code is owed to “invitees” on the property. These are people who lawfully use or come onto the property through “express or implied invitation” of the property owner or occupier.
For example, an invitee would be a:
- Customer of a restaurant, grocery store, gas station, or another store
- Patient at a hospital, nursing home, or clinic
- Ticket holder at a sporting event or concert
- Tenant of a condo or apartment
- Passenger on a subway or airline
- Student at a university they are attending
- Friend, relative, or neighbor of a property owner
The other two categories of people in premises liability situations are “licensees” and “trespassers.”
Licensees are those who have the expressed or implied permission to come onto a property, but they are entering it for their own purposes. Examples of licensees could be salesmen. Property owners typically owe a lesser duty of care to licensees compared to invitees.
Trespassers do not have the authorization to be on the owner’s property. In most cases, property owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers unless the trespasser is a child. If you’re unsure of your role in your premises liability accident, contact a Georgia premises liability for clarification and to talk about your options.
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The Different Types of Premises Liability Cases
There are various situations that fall under the category of a premises liability case. Examples include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Inadequate premises maintenance
- Swimming pool accidents
- Elevator (or escalator) accidents
- Dog bites
- Ice or snow accidents
- Amusement park accidents
Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common premises liability cases you hear about. Slip and fall accidents can occur just about anywhere, and they are common in stores with a lot of merchandise or with products that can easily leak or spill (such as grocery stores).
Slip and fall accidents can be caused by wet floors, broken staircases, extension cords in the aisles, uneven flooring, and more. In any of these situations, the hazard must have been present past the reasonable amount of time an employee would need to become aware of it and fix it. In addition, the dangerous condition must not be so obvious that you could have easily avoided it without warning.
Comparative Negligence in a Premises Liability Case
Like many states, Georgia has comparative negligence laws that still allow you to recover damages in cases where more than one party is at fault. According to Georgia Code § 51-12-33, you can still seek damages from an injury accident unless you are 50% or more at fault for the accident.
Comparative negligence sometimes applies to premises liability cases. For example, invitees have their own duty to exercise reasonable care and prevent harm to him or herself. If the injured person is partially responsible for their accident, but the property owner is still mostly responsible, the injured person could still seek damages.
Per Georgia’s comparative negligence laws, the injured person’s damages would be reduced based on their percentage of fault in the accident. Here’s an example:
- You are determined to be 10% at fault for a slip and fall accident on someone’s property and the owner is 90% at fault.
- Your damages total $100,000.
- Since you are 10% at fault, your damage would be reduced by 10%, leaving you with $90,000 to recover from the property owner.
- You would then be responsible for your remaining $10,000 in damages.
Talk to a Georgia Premises Liability Lawyer for Free Today
One of the best things you can do for your premises liability case is to hire the services of an experienced lawyer. John Foy & Associates has been helping injury victims like yourself win the compensation they need for more than 20 years. Let us give you a FREE consultation to go over your options and how we can help.
To get started with your FREE consultation today, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online now.