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Premises Liability Claims Basics

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.