In the state of Georgia, a property owner can be held accountable for any injuries that occur on his or her property so long as it can be proven the owner was negligent in efforts to prevent the accident. It can be very difficult to prove negligence. So, if you have been injured, it is important to review the details of your case with an attorney who has experience and success trying these types of cases.
What is Premises Liability?
Georgia statute O.C.G.A 51-3-1 defines premises liability of the failure of a property owner to keep the property safe for those who are lawfully visiting. This means that if someone slips, falls, or is hurt in any other manner, it is possible to seek monetary damages from the property owner. It must be proven that the property owner’s actions or inaction contributed to the injury.
Examples include the following.
- The owner failed to perform structural repairs or regular maintenance on the property.
- The owner did not provide adequate security, making the property unsafe for its guests.
- The owner did not properly mark hazards, such as identifying wet floors and trip, slip or fall risks. Warnings should be posted so that visitors are aware of the hazards.
- The visitor was invited to the property. This could include customers and workers who frequent a business property.
It is important to understand that the property owner is not always held liable for injuries. In order to prove negligence, you need to show that the owner’s actions were egregious and irresponsible. If a hazard is clearly visible to everyone, for example, the property owner cannot be found at fault if someone is injured on the property.
The property owner must also be aware that there is a defect or hazard on the property in order to be held liable as well. If the hazard was something that had not been discovered during previous inspections, the owner cannot be expected to be held accountable. It can be very difficult to prove that a property owner had sufficient advance notice that there was a hazard on his or her property.
Failure to Address Known Issues
Examples in which property owners can be proven negligent usually involve some sort of history of incidents. For example, if people have tripped over a defect in the sidewalk before, but the owner never performed repairs, this can show that the owner was aware of the problem and chose to do nothing. This puts anyone who visits his or her property at risk.
Due to the complexity of premises liability claims, these cases are more likely to go to court than other types of personal injury claims. Many accident cases are settled out of court because the facts are clear and cannot be contested. If you are seeking damages in a premises liability case, you should be prepared to go to court because it will be much more difficult to argue the facts behind your claim.
The Representation You Choose Matters
It is important that before you pursue a claim for premises liability that you obtain qualified counsel. You don’t just want an attorney with personal injury law experience, but one that has been able to win premises liability cases in the past. While it is possible for you to collect the compensation to which you are entitled, an inexperienced lawyer may be in over his head.
Imbriale Injury Law has over 25 years of experience working with complex legal cases. If you are in the Woodstock or Acworth area, contact us today to arrange a free case review.