In Georgia, the most common premises liability cases are often referred to as “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” cases. While many premises liability cases do involve falls, there are many other types of injury that may lead to a premises liability claim.
What is Premises Liability?
In simplest terms, a premises liability case arises when you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, because that person or company failed to maintain the premises in a safe condition. The duty of care varies based on the reasons the injured person was on the premises.
Generally, anyone who has been invited onto the property will have a right to recover if he or she was injured because the property owner “failed to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.” The invitation need not be direct, but may be implied through actions such as operating a business that is open to the public or holding a garage sale.
Common Premises Liability Claims
Premises liability claims may arise from any type of injury caused by negligent maintenance, but some of the most common include:
- Slipping on a wet floor, especially if not marked
- Tripping on an uneven floor or defective floorboard
- Tripping on a broken or impeded walkway
- Falling due to a defective staircase or railing
- Injuries due to faulty equipment such as elevators or amusement park rides
- Exposure to toxic chemicals and other irritants
Some of the most common causes of such injuries are:
- Failure to monitor and clean premises, such as neglecting to clean up liquid spilled in a supermarket aisle
- Failure to block off or mark hazards, from a hole in the sidewalk to a swimming pool
- Failure to adhere to promised security standards
- Failure to control animals
- Failure to maintain premises, buildings and equipment
Negligent Security Claims
In addition to the accidental injuries described above, a premises liability claim may arise when an intentional injury occurs on private property and the owner knew or should have known of the risk and failed to take action. For example, if the owner of an apartment complex was aware that muggings have occurred in the dark back end of the complex parking lot, but took no action to warn tenants, increase security or light up that area, the owner may be liable for injuries sustained by a tenant who is the victim of a similar attack.
Damages in Premises Liability Cases
The commonly-employed term “slip and fall” may sound trivial, but falls and other types of premises injuries can be quite serious. When you’ve been injured because someone failed to keep premises safe, you may be entitled to compensation for a wide range of damages, including:
- Medical bills
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Special assistance or accommodations
The damages in every personal injury case differ, and the best way to get an assessment as to the compensation you may be able to recover is to talk to an experienced premises liability attorney as soon after your injury as possible.
Protect Your Rights After an Injury on Someone Else’s Property
A Special Note about Medical Care
The most important step after any injury is to seek medical assistance. Of course, the most significant reason to promptly seek medical attention is to protect your health. However, it is also important to understand that if you delay consulting a physician, the property owner may argue that:
- The injury was not actually a result of the accident that occurred on his property, but occurred between that event and the time you sought medical care; or
- The injury would have been less severe had you promptly seen a doctor and followed his or her instructions, so you are partially responsible for the damages.
Working with an Experienced Premises Liability Attorney
In most cases, a person who has been injured through someone else’s negligence in the state of Georgia has two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, delaying action after an injury can make it more difficult to recover what you’ve lost and to rebuild your life. When time passes after an injury:
- Your memory of the specific details may be less clear
- Other witnesses may be difficult to contact, or may not remember details
- Physical evidence may no longer be available
- You may inadvertently harm your case through innocent actions such as talking to the property owner or their insurance company or by making social media posts (even unrelated to your accident).
In short, if you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, it is in your best interest to get advice from an experienced personal injury attorney as early as possible, before you make any decisions or take any action other than obtaining medical care.
Pick up the phone right now and call (404) 760-8600 or click the Contact Us to learn more about how we can help.