A number of people are injured each year on another person’s commercial
or city property. Sometimes the property owner or business can be held
liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, and other times they cannot.
It is important to know the difference, as the facts can make or break
your claim in a premises liability lawsuit. For example, a property owner
would not be held liable for someone’s injuries sustained by slipping
on something that a reasonable person should be expected to have avoided.
Property owners do have a legal duty to keep their property safe, and
generally your premises liability claim will turn on whether the property
owner took all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of their property,
and whether or not your actions were careless. In Georgia, a property
owner’s legal duty depends on whether the injured party is a licensee,
invitee, or a trespasser.
Duty Owed to An Invitee: An
invitee is someone who is invited in as a member of the public or someone who
is on the property for the purpose of doing business. For example, when
you go to the grocery store to purchase food, or when you visit a government
funded park or monument, you would be classified as an invitee. Georgia
Code states that an owner or occupier of land is liable for injuries caused
by his or her failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises safe.
Duty Owed to A Licensee: A
licensee is someone who is visiting private property with the permission of the
owner or occupier of the land. According to Georgia law, an owner or occupier
of land is liable for damages to a licensee only for willful or wanton
injury (i.e. malicious or deliberately not fixing a hazard on the property
because you know the licensee might injure themselves).
Duty Owed to a Trespasser: A trespasser is someone who is on another’s property without permission
or authorization from the owner or occupier. An owner or occupier of land
owes no duty to protect a trespasser from injuries or potential hazards
on the land, though the owner or occupier must refrain from willful or
wanton conduct toward the trespasser.
As premises liability claims often turn on the facts and circumstances
of the case, it can be difficult to know whether or not you have a valid
claim. Property owners have a legal duty to meet the minimum safety standards
outlined above. The appropriate standards can vary depending on the type
of premises, so it is important to consult an experienced attorney to
discuss your case.
Contact Goldstein & Hayes, P.C.
If you suffered injuries on someone else’s property, you may be entitled
to compensation for your medical expenses and other damages. If you think
you might have a claim, please don’t hesitate to contact us. At
Goldstein & Hayes, P.C., our
Atlanta premises liability attorneys are here to help you navigate your claim every step of the way. We are
dedicated to providing our clients with personalized attention, and will
ensure you are fully involved and informed at each stage of your case.