In Georgia, most premises liability claims are based on negligence, which is the failure to exercise reasonable care towards others. The evidence you need to file a premises liability claim in Georgia should demonstrate property owner or occupier negligence in your accident and your injuries.
There are certain factors you must consider when providing evidence in a Georgia premises liability claim.
The Four Elements of Negligence in Premises Liability
There are four parts to proving negligence in a Georgia premises liability case. Here’s what you’ll need to cover when demonstrating the at-fault party caused your accident.
1. There Was a Duty of Care
Everyone in Georgia has a certain duty of care to act in a reasonable way that does not harm others. Georgia Code § 51-3-1 specifically addresses the duty of property owners or occupiers. They must maintain a safe premises for those they invite or lead onto their property, such as customers to a business.
For example, a grocery store must be diligent in making sure their floors are free from hazards or unsafe conditions that could lead to a slip and fall accident (or some other type of accident) and harm a customer.
2. The Duty Was Breached
If a store did not fix, prevent, or warn customers or visitors of a hazardous condition, they may have breached their duty of care. You will need to demonstrate that this happened in your premises liability case.
For example, if you slipped on a spilled liquid in a grocery store aisle where the store had enough time to notice the spill and clean it up, they have likely breached their duty to protect you from harm.
3. You Were Injured Because of the Breach of Duty
Besides showing that the store or property owner breached their duty, you must also prove that your injuries resulted from that breach. You will also need to show that you exercise ordinary care to avoid the hazard that injured you. If the dangerous condition was open or obvious, the owner might be able to argue that you should have seen it and avoided it.
It’s best to speak with a Georgia premises liability lawyer about your condition, even if you think you might hold some responsibility for your accident. Georgia has comparative negligence laws, which means you can still potentially recover damages if you were less than 50% responsible for your injury.
Don’t assume you don’t have options, and don’t blame yourself until you’ve discussed the facts with an experienced attorney. To have a premises liability lawyer look at your case for FREE, contact John Foy & Associates at (404) 400-4000 today.
4. Your Injuries Lead to Damages
Along with proving the property owner’s negligence led to your accident and injuries, you must also demonstrate the damages you suffered. Generally, the more serious your accident, the higher your damages will be.
You’ll want to begin gathering evidence of your damages right away. Keep a folder where you save all your medical bills, receipts, doctor notes, pictures of the accident (and your injuries), and paystubs to show what losses you’re facing because of your accident. You will need these for your premises liability claim.
How Owners Must Maintain Duty of Care in Premises Liability Cases
There are a number of ways property owners must prevent harm to those who come onto their property:
- They should make sure all floors, walkways, stairs, and steps are safe to use.
- In many cases, the property owner can also be responsible for accidents that occur in the parking lot of their business.
- The property owner’s duty of care also includes protecting visitors and customers from third-party criminal activity, such as making sure security is sufficient.
If the property owner, manager, or an employee notices a potential hazard, they should either fix it or provide warning to customers so they know to avoid it. If they fail to do this and someone is injured as a result, they can be found liable.
If the property is occupied by a business, that business is responsible in the same way, meaning managers and employees must be diligent to maintain a safe premises.
Understanding Who Is Owed a Duty of Care
After an accident, you might wonder if you fall under the definition of those who are owed a duty of care from the property owner or occupier. If you were invited, induced, or lead onto the premises for a lawful reason, you are likely covered under Georgia law. You must be a:
- Customer at a store, restaurant, grocery store, mall, or other business establishment
- Ticket holder at a concert, sporting event, or other such event
- Patient at a hospital or other medical facility
If you were invited or legally allowed on the property as a customer or patron, you are typically owed a duty of care from the owner or business.
How to Gather Evidence to File Your Premises Liability Claim
To help prove the four elements of negligence mentioned above, you will need to gather evidence of the accident and the owner’s or occupier’s fault. Here are some ways you can start doing this, beginning moments after your accident.
Use your phone to take pictures of the accident scene, the hazard or dangerous condition that led to your accident, and any visible injuries you have. Picture evidence can be very powerful in a premises liability claim, as the accident scene can usually be changed or cleaned up quickly.
Talk to Witnesses
If anyone else saw your accident or the unsafe condition that caused it, talk to them and ask what they saw. Get their full names and contact information so your lawyer can reach out to them for a statement later.
Report the Accident
Always, always let the property owner or manager know about your accident before leaving the premises. Tell them that you had an accident and were injured. Do not admit any blame or discuss fault at this point; stick to the straightforward facts.
See a Doctor
Once you leave the scene, make sure you see a doctor for treatment of your injuries as soon as possible. If you wait too long, you might miss out on compensation for your full medical costs.
Talk to a Georgia Premises Liability Lawyer
Contact an experienced premises liability lawyer as soon as you can. They’ll make sure you are on track to file a strong premises liability claim with the correct evidence.
Talk to a Georgia Premises Liability Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, our experienced premises liability lawyers work on contingency, meaning you don’t pay unless we win you money. Plus, the consultation is FREE and no-risk. To get started with your FREE consultation today, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online now.