Q: What is premises liability?
Premises liability is a type of law that holds property owners accountable for injuries that occur on their property. However, merely being injured on someone else’s property does not automatically give you the right to pursue compensation. For the owner to be liable, he must be negligent, and that negligence must have caused your injury.
When is a property owner negligent?
There are three essential elements of landowner negligence:
- A dangerous condition existed on the property;
- The owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition; and
- The owner did not take steps to repair or post adequate warnings about the situation.
To prove this, we can obtain the property maintenance records, surveillance video, and photos to determine whether the owner knew or should have known it was there and whether he did anything to remedy the situation.
What are some common types of premises liability claims?
Any injury you suffer can be the basis for a premises liability claim. Some examples of negligence and common resulting claims are:
- Shoddy maintenance of the premises can lead to claims for slip and fall accidents, snow and ice injuries, elevator and escalator accidents, structural collapse claims, fires, or electrical accidents.
- Improper supervision of a pet can cause dog bite injuries.
- Insufficient fencing can create swimming pool accident claims.
- Inadequate security can lead to claims for assault.
- Sub-par equipment/equipment maintenance can result in amusement park injuries.
Who can be liable for a premises liability claim?
Whoever owns the property can be liable. This can be private individual, a business, or the government. Be aware that there are limitations on and special rules for filing an injury claim against the government.
Does it matter why you were on the property?
Yes. In Georgia, the landowner has a different duty of care toward you, depending on whether you were an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.
An invitee is someone whom the landowner invited to come onto the premises for any lawful purpose. The invitation can be express or implied. An invitee is usually on the property for a business-related reason. If you go into a store, you are an invitee. The landowner issues an implied invite to the general public to enter the premises to shop. The owner must use ordinary care to keep the premises and approaches safe.
A licensee is neither a customer nor a trespasser. Licensees come on to the property solely for their own benefit, or as social guests. Georgia law holds property owners liable to licensees only for willful or wanton injury, which is a much lower standard than that owed to an invitee.
Georgia law imposes no duty of care toward a trespasser. This does not mean, however, that you are allowed to intentionally harm a trespasser. If a landowner assaults a trespasser, the landowner can be liable in both the civil courts and the criminal courts. Also, a landowner is not allowed to “booby trap” his property. Georgia law prohibits willful and wanton injury toward trespassers as well as licensees.
Questions about a premises liability claim? Call Jason R. Schultz today.
If you suffered injuries on someone else’s property, and it was not your fault, an Atlanta premises liability attorney at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. can help. You can reach us at any time. There is no obligation and no charge to talk with us about your claim. Call 404-474-0804 today to set up your free consultation.