Every day, people in Georgia are injured as a result of hazards or dangers on other people’s properties. If you are the victim of one of these accidents, you may be able to file a premises liability claim for your damages. That begs the question of what is considered a hazardous condition when it comes to Georgia premises liability cases.
In short, a dangerous or hazardous condition is anything that poses a risk of harm to those who are invited to someone else’s property. Legally, it’s something that the owner or occupier of a property may be responsible for preventing or fixing.
In Georgia, property owners and occupiers are responsible for exercising “ordinary care” to make sure their premises are safe for those who are lawfully invited onto their property (Georgia Code § 51-3-1). If some condition leads to an injury, the property owner or occupier may be liable for damages.
Examples of Hazardous Conditions on Georgia Property
A hazardous condition can look a variety of different ways. Here are some examples of situations that can be hazardous conditions under Georgia’s premises liability laws:
- Slippery or wet floors from spills, mopping, or ice or rain
- Falling objects
- Broken or uneven stairs
- Defective or absent stair rails
- Bunched or curled up rugs or carpeting
- Spilled food or beverage items
- Dog bites or animal attacks
- Uneven sidewalks or roadways
- Violent assaults
- Broken elevators or escalators
If the condition could potentially lead to a slip and fall or other injury accident, it likely falls under the category of “hazardous.”
Hazardous Conditions and Georgia Premises Liability
Besides whether or not a condition is hazardous, it matters whether or not the property owner or business owner is liable for injuries that result from that condition. In Georgia, the owner must be negligent in your injury accident.
A property owner, business owner, or store employees may be negligent if they:
- Knew the hazardous condition existed or should have known it existed within a reasonable amount of time AND
- Failed to fix, clean up, or warn visitors of the hazardous condition within a reasonable amount of time
Store owners and employees must also be diligent in preventing potentially hazardous conditions from coming about on their property. For example, store employees should regularly check for items or spills in store aisles that need to be cleaned up. An employee should also put out a “wet floor” sign if mopping or cleaning store floors so customers are aware of the wet floor hazard.
In addition, visitors do have a certain level of responsibility in avoiding hazardous conditions on someone else’s property. As an injury victim, to prove that the property owner was negligent, you must be able to show that the accident couldn’t have been avoided simply by being careful.
If you are unsure whether or not the condition that led to your accident is considered “hazardous,” contact an experienced Georgia premises liability lawyer right away. They can look at the details of your accident and determine who is liable for your damages. In most cases, the property owner bears some degree of responsibility. To get a FREE consultation with one of our attorneys, call us at (404) 400-4000 today.
What to Do if You Were Injured Because of a Hazardous Condition
If a hazardous condition on someone’s property caused you to be injured, you will need to prove that:
- The property owner or business owed you a duty of care.
- That duty of care was breached.
- As a result of the breached duty, you were injured.
- You suffered damages because of your injuries.
A premises liability lawyer can help you build a strong case demonstrating each of these points. You may have the right to file a premises liability claim with the owner’s insurance company for your damages. You will also need to start compiling the following evidence of the accident (and the hazardous condition that caused it) right away to include in your claim.
Documentation of the Scene and Your Injuries
Right after your injury happens, if you can, take pictures to document what happened. You will want to get photos of:
- The hazardous condition that caused your injuries
- The entire accident scene
- Your injuries
Don’t be afraid to take many pictures. It’s great if you get a clear picture of what occurred and how the incident looked. Premises liability accidents can often be cleaned up or fixed quickly after an accident, so taking pictures will preserve the evidence.
Report the Accident
Make sure you tell the property owner or the business about your accident and injuries. If you’re in a store, ask to speak to a manager. This will create the first report of the accident.
Do not admit any blame or apologize for the accident, even if you think you might be partially at fault. Some owners are quick to push the blame on you to avoid their own liability. Talk to a lawyer first, as you may still be able to seek compensation even if you hold a percentage of the blame (Georgia Code § 51-12-33).
Save Your Clothes
This might sound weird, but the shoes and clothes you were wearing during the accident can be powerful evidence in some cases, especially if they were torn or became bloody from the accident. Save what you were wearing.
See a Doctor
Get yourself checked out by a doctor as soon as possible after your accident, even if you think you’re fine. This will show the insurance company that your injuries are serious enough to deserve compensation.
Contact a Georgia Premises Liability Lawyer
Most injury lawyers in Georgia work on contingency, meaning there’s no upfront fee and they don’t get paid unless they win you money. This removes any risk to you and allows you to seek representation right away. An experienced lawyer can discuss your case with you and create a plan of action to seek the money you deserve.
Talk to a Georgia Premises Liability Lawyer for Free Today
If you were hurt on someone else’s property, chances are good that there was a hazardous condition that could have been prevented. Call John Foy & Associates today to go over the specifics and learn your options. We don’t take a fee unless we win you money, and the consultation is always FREE.
To get started with your FREE consultation today, call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online now.