A premises liability claim involves an injury to a person that occurs on property owned or controlled by someone else. The “someone else” could be the landlord of an apartment, a homeowner, or a business owner. The injury may be the result of a criminal attack, a slip and fall, or some kind of hazardous condition or defect in the premises.
While those that own or control property are not automatically to blame for each and every injury that occurs on their premises, Georgia law does require them to undertake specific duties. For example, they must build their premises to ensure that they are reasonably safe. They must also take steps to ensure that their premises remains safe and free of dangerous hazards or defects. If at some point they become aware of a hazard or defect, the law requires them to take reasonable steps to fix it, or at least provide appropriate warnings so that others can avoid being injured by the hazard.
The duties owed to a claimant by one who owns or controls a premises often is determined by the status of the person who is injured. For example, a store owner usually owes a higher duty to shoppers that come into his business because he benefits from their presence. On the other hand, a homeowner probably owes less of a duty, or even no duty at all, to someone that is trespassing on his or her homeowner’s land without permission.
In order for an attorney to determine whether you have a potential premises liability claim, there are many facts that he or she will want to know. Important considerations include: the type of premises where the injury occurred, who owned or controlled the premises, the extent of your injury and how it occurred, the type of hazard or defect that caused the injury, whether you and/or the premises owner were aware of the hazard before the injury took place, and so forth. He or she may review the applicable building codes to determine whether the premises was built correctly, or investigate the owner’s policies and procedures to determine if they were followed or not. An attorney will also want to talk to witnesses or even visit the premises itself.
It is important to understand that premises liability cases can be very complex and fact-specific. For this reason, only a highly-trained attorney with prior experience handling these types of cases can ensure that a claimant has the best chance to prove their case and get their day in court. Often if an attorney is not involved, a premises owner or its insurance company may try to destroy evidence, such as surveillance video. This can have a very negative effect on a claimant’s ability to prove their claim. Therefore, you should not try to handle a premises liability case without being represented by an attorney. If you are injured on the premises of another, seek a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney immediately.
DISCLAIMER: The above article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be, nor should it be considered, legal advice. Legal advice can only be given by a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction following a individualized consultation. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact an attorney in your area.