In Atlanta, GA, it is reasonable to anticipate a safe and secure environment when we enter a store, home, or any other property. We assume that the owner is fulfilling their fundamental reasonable care of safeguarding visitors. Regrettably, not all property owners or managers fulfill these obligations, resulting in severe accidents.
In accordance with Georgia’s premises liability law, property owners are legally responsible for financial compensation if they neglect to uphold safe conditions and someone sustains an injury as a consequence. If you have been injured due to a property owner’s negligence, you have the right to appeal to the services of an Atlanta premises liability attorney and seek compensation for the financial damages you have incurred.
What Defines Premises Liability in Atlanta, GA?
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.
By Georgia law, 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.
Premises Liability Examples
- Unsafe Premises/Wrongful Death/Dangerous Premises
- Landlord Negligence (ceiling collapses, fire safety issues, improper maintenance leading to injury — not landlord/tenant disputes)
- Inadequate Security/Negligent Security
- Slip, Trip, and Fall Injuries
- Dog Bites
- Amusement Ride Injuries (Go Kart, Trampoline Park, Inflatables)
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 the Statute of Limitation for Premises Liability in Georgia
Georgia premises liability law, expressly GA Code § 9-3-33 (2018), specifies that the statute of limitation for a premises liability claim in this state is two years. In other words, you have two years from the date of the accident to file an injury claim or wrongful death claim against the negligent party, for premises liability.
Personal property damage claims can also sometimes be related to premises liability. If, for example, you slipped and fell in a store due to their negligence and damaged your expensive laptop, you can file a claim for property damage. In this case, the GA Code § 9-3-32 (2018) applies, and the statute of limitation is four years.
Needless to say, the two-year limit or the four-year limit can seem like plenty of time to file your premises liability lawsuit. However, 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).
That is why it is highly recommended to contact a premises liability lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. Personal injury lawyers can swiftly take action to compile all the evidence, talk to witnesses, file your claim, and build a solid case so that you can collect fair compensation for your injuries.
How is Premises Liability Proven
In order to establish a valid premises liability claim, it is necessary to present proof of the following:
- The party responsible for the premises liability accident owned, leased, or lived on the property where the accident took place.
- A dangerous condition was present on the property where the accident took place.
- The property owner, lessee, or tenant was negligent with the property maintenance, meaning they were aware of the hazardous condition present on the property, but they didn’t take any action in fixing it, or at least warn visitors about it.
- The dangerous condition caused you one or multiple injuries.
- The harm you suffered entitles you to damages (i.e. medical bills, lost wages, etc).
To give a plastic example relating to the above, here’s the most basic scenario covering all these points.
- You walk into a store – which obviously has an owner, lessee, or manager.
- The floors are slippery as they were recently mopped.
- A “Caution: Wet Floor” warning sign was not present at the location of the hazardous condition.
- Being unaware of the slippery floor, you fell and sustained an injury.
- The injury you suffered requires medical care, resulting in medical bills.
Now, in a premises liability case, similar to the most basic slip and fall accident case imagined above, some of these five main points may require investigation. At Hoffspiegel Law, our premises liability attorneys have the necessary experience, resources, and skills to thoroughly analyze and investigate each case. We take each case very seriously and will work tirelessly to fight for your rights inside and outside the courtroom.
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, as we’ve mentioned in the example above
- 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 premises liability 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 personal injury cases 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
If you sustained an injury on someone’s property and you want to file a claim against the owner or the liable party, here are a few steps to take in order to protect your rights.
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.
Gather Evidence at the Scene if Possible
Use your phone to snap photos of the scene of the accident, especially the dangerous condition that has caused you the injury. Take notes specifying the order of the events that led to your injury. Collect witnesses’ contacts. All this data can be put to good use by your future premises liability lawyers.
Report the Injury to the Property Owner or Manager
Especially if you sustained an injury in a store, you should report it to the store owner or manager. You may be asked to provide your personal information, as well as a verbal or in-writing description of the events that took place and led to your injury.
Contact an Attorney
An Atlanta premises liability attorney can help you understand your rights and options after sustaining an injury on someone’s property due to their negligence. Not only that, they can file your claim, deal with insurance companies, and furthermore, take your case to court, if necessary.
Working with an Experienced Atlanta Premises Liability Lawyer
At Hoffspiegel Law, we don’t take on a large number of cases seeking a quick settlement. We work with a small number of clients who have been seriously or even catastrophically injured, fully investing in all premises liability lawsuits and each client’s future. Our Atlanta premises liability attorneys are always prepared to take a case to trial, and will never settle unless we truly believe it is in your best interest.
Delaying action after an injury can make it more difficult to recover what you’ve lost and to rebuild your life. Thus, 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 our law firm at (404) 760-8600 to schedule a free consultation, or click the Contact Us button to learn more about how our Atlanta premises liability lawyers can help.
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