Every time you leave your home to go shopping, catch a movie or visit a friend’s house, you are trusting that the property you are visiting will not cause you harm. If the owner has been negligent about keeping the property safe and you get injured, you might be entitled to financial compensation.
People visiting properties owned by someone else often sustain an injury when they slip or trip over a hazard or fall due to an area being poorly maintained. If you are injured because of negligence on the part of the owner or manager of that property, it is wise to speak about your potential case with an attorney.
When you reach out to Andersen, Tate & Carr, you can rest assured that you will be interacting with experienced attorneys who always keep your best interests in mind. Over the past thirty years, our Atlanta personal injury lawyers have handled many property accident cases, so we know the details insurance companies and courts look for when weighing the strength of a case. Through our knowledge of case law and our experience gathering the right evidence to support your claim, we can increase your chances at successfully obtaining compensation for your injuries and other damages.
If you have been hurt by a slip and fall or other type of accident on someone else’s property, you can speak with an Atlanta premises liability attorney about your potential case for absolutely no fee. To schedule your free, no-obligation consultation, contact us now online or by calling 770-822-0900.
Property Owners’ Duty of Care Depends on Why You Were on Their Land
Like most other states, Georgia sets different legal expectations for property owners to protect visitors from harm depending on the relationship the visitor has with the property owner. Under this legal framework, there are three categories of visitors depending on why they enter the property:
- Invitees are people who have been expressly or implicitly invited to a property for the benefit of the property owner, such as retail customers, park visitors, or people viewing a home for sale.
- Licensees are defined in Georgia as, “a person who is neither a customer, a servant, nor a trespasser,” which broadly includes those who do not have a contractual relationship with the property owner but who have express or implied permission to visit, such as a pizza delivery driver (O.C.G.A. §51-3-2)
- Trespassers are expressly or implicitly forbidden from entering a property but may do so anyway for their sole benefit.
Under Georgia law (O.C.G.A. §51-3-1), all property owners have a responsibility to, “exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe,” for invitees. This law is generally interpreted to mean that the property owner has a duty to discover and remove hazards from their property. If a hazard cannot be removed within a reasonable amount of time — or at all — then the property owner still has a duty to warn people so that they can reasonably avoid the hazard.
Georgia’s licensee premises liability law indicates a much lower standard of care. Property owners simply cannot inflict a “willful or wanton injury” upon these visitors.
Trespassers have no protections under Georgia code, but case precedent (Southern R. Co. v. Chatman, Ga. 1906) has established that property owners cannot intentionally hurt trespassers when they know or should reasonably be able to predict they are going to enter their property.
Evidence Needed to Build a Strong Slip and Fall or Premises Liability Case
The language of Georgia’s laws shows how slip and fall accidents and other Atlanta premises liability cases relate to standard negligence law. Under this legal model, successful injury cases have to establish the following:
- The injury victim was an invited expressly or implicitly to visit the property
- The property owner knew about a hazard or reasonably could have predicted that the hazard existed
- The property owner failed to exercise “ordinary care” to address the hazard within a reasonable time frame
- The property owner’s carelessness directly led to the visitor getting injured, causing recoverable damages
- The injury victim could not have reasonably avoided or anticipated the hazard by exercising “ordinary care”
Slip and fall victims must satisfy a fairly hefty burden of proof. For example, they must be able to show that a property owner knew about a hazard or could have predicted it existed. Proving that a hazard was known can be quite tough. The victim’s Atlanta slip and fall lawyer must establish somehow that the property owner was aware of the hazard or that the hazard had occurred before, making it likely to show up again.
If a visitor was not an invitee but a licensee or a trespasser, then he may still have a viable injury claim if he can prove that the owner intentionally left a hazard or was so “wanton” that an injury was all but inevitable. Such a case can potentially be made if, for example, a property owner knew about an obviously dangerous condition but made no effort to warn a licensee that he was likely to get hurt.
These minimal showings and legal grey areas illustrate why it is so important to have an experienced Atlanta premises liability lawyer review your case. He or she can help you establish the needed evidence and avoid common mistakes that cause cases to get dismissed and claims to be denied by insurers.
Most Common Spaces for Premises Liability Cases in Atlanta
Owners and managers of properties are responsible for the health and safety of every person who visits their residence or establishment. If property owners do not focus on keeping their properties safe and up to health and safety codes, accidents— especially slip and fall accidents— can occur.
The following places are common areas where premises liability cases arise:
- Retail stores
- Grocery stores
- Shopping areas
- Office buildings
- Parking Areas
Owners of these establishments must maintain the safety of their properties. Their coverage must include public areas, such as roads and sidewalks, that extend onto their property. If they neglect to maintain these areas in a manner that will keep visitors safe, they could be held legally responsible for any injuries sustained as a result of their negligence.
How We Will Help You in Your Premises Liability Case
If you suffer injuries due to the negligence of another, our attorneys can help protect your rights. Andersen, Tate & Carr will review the circumstances surrounding your injury to determine who was at fault, and who could be held legally responsible for your pain and suffering. If it is determined that your injury could have been prevented had the owner or manager of the property you were visiting not been negligent, we can help you to bring a case against the appropriate party.
Upon proving negligence, our law office will help you to determine the extent of damages incurred from your injury. We will develop a case that demonstrates the financial impact of your injuries, including damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and emotional trauma. We will present medical records and testimony in support of your case ensuring a strong claim and the maximum chances of success for you.
Call Our Knowledgeable Atlanta Premises Liability Attorneys Today
If you are now experiencing costly medical and financial expenses as a result of a slip and fall injury on someone else’s property in Atlanta, call an Atlanta slip and fall lawyer at Andersen, Tate & Carr today at 770-237-9860 for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn how we can help you.
For further details, call or contact us online today for a free consultation!