PREMISES LIABILITY CASES
Premises liability law is a section of Georgia law that holds property and business owners legally responsible for dangerous or hazardous conditions that exist on their property. Property owners have certain obligations under local, state and federal laws, and while these laws vary, the basic underlying fact of them is similar regardless of where you live.
Property owners have an obligation to keep their land and the buildings on it safe for authorized visitors and those with business there.
Many things can make a home, business or land unsafe for visitors such as poor maintenance or disrepair, building code violations, slippery floors, cracked or uneven sidewalks, unmarked steps, broken stairs or handrails, falling merchandise, malfunctioning smoke alarms, or unmarked hazardous areas. Under Georgia law, accident victims can hold the owner or occupier of property liable for negligently causing or failing to repair, correct or warn about these and other unsafe conditions which lead to personal injury or wrongful death. Dog bite victims can also pursue premises liability claims against a dog owner for failing to leash, confine or control their animal.
The duty an owner/occupier of property owes to a person entering onto his land is determined by reference to the relationship between the owner/occupier and the entrant. In Georgia, these relationships are defined in three distinct categories:
- Invitees – Individuals who have received an express or implied invitation to come onto the premises for a business purpose, such as a customer in a store or a sales representative. A property owner or occupier owes the highest duty of care to invitees – a non-delegable duty of ordinary care to keep the premises and approaches safe from foreseeable dangers.
- Licensees – Individuals permitted to come onto the premises of the owner or occupier solely for his own interests or convenience, such as social guests, individuals who enter an establishment solely to use the restroom or door-to-door salespersons. Owners/occupiers owe a duty not to expose licensees knowingly to an unreasonable risk of harm or letting the person run upon a known hidden peril.
- Trespassers – Unauthorized entrants onto the premises of an owner or occupier, such as vagrants or individuals cutting through the owner or occupier’s property for a short cut. The owner only owes a duty to avoid wantonly and willfully harming the trespasser. There are special considerations involving child trespassers such as the doctrine of attractive nuisance.
Each occurrence of negligence under the premises liability provisions of the law is distinct and requires thorough investigation by attorneys qualified to protect your interests and get you just compensation for your injuries. If you have been injured in a premises liability accident, call the Monk Law Firm for a free consultation. We are here to help.