What’s premises liability? Slipping and falling is one of the most embarrassing things that can happen to an individual. What many people forget is that it can also be one of the most dangerous since it can result in serious injuries. If you were hurt in a fall on someone else’s property, you should contact an Atlanta slip and fall attorney.
That’s because you could have a premises liability claim. Property owners have a duty to protect individuals who are legally on their property and they must take reasonable steps to ensure that their properties are safe. If a property owner fails to live up to their duty, they can be considered negligent and the victim has valid grounds for seeking compensation.
Many premises liability claims involve falls but as we’ll discuss here, there are other situations in which owners and occupiers of property can be held responsible.
Who Has a Premises Liability Claim in Atlanta, GA?
Ga. Code § 51-3-1 sets out the duties of owners or occupiers of land towards invitees. It states that they can be held liable for injuries caused by their failure to keep the premises and approaches safe if they expressly or impliedly invite, induce, or lead others to venture onto their property.
To have a valid premises liability claim, you must be able to prove that the other party knew or should have known about a dangerous condition on their property but failed to take action. In addition to slips, trips, and falls, these claims can result from:
- Dog bites
- School or daycare injuries
- Nursing home injuries
- Negligent security
- Swimming pool injuries
Why You Need a Slip and Fall Lawyer for a Premises Liability Claim
You shouldn’t assume that it’ll be easy to receive fair compensation if you get hurt on someone else’s property. The at-fault party has a range of defenses at their disposal and their attorney and the insurance company will no doubt draw on them. That’s why it’s so important to seek help from an attorney as soon as possible after the incident.
In Georgia, you have two years from the date of injury to file a premises liability lawsuit. If you wait beyond this period to seek compensation, you may not be able to claim damages. While many of these cases are settled out of court, you’ll have more leverage if a lawsuit is an option. Also, the sooner evidence is collected, the stronger your case is likely to be.
Common Defenses Against Premises Liability Claims
There are three common defenses that owners and occupiers of property use when facing a premises liability claim. One is that the injured party was trespassing. They may say that you were not invited onto the property or that you ventured into an area that was not intended for guests. Your attorney may be able to assist you in coming up with a counterdefense.
Alternatively, the defendant may say that the risks were readily apparent and you were aware of the danger when you entered the property. If you hold the view that the risks were not obvious, you’ll need an attorney to prove it.
The third way that property owners try to evade liability is by accusing the injured party of showing a lack of due care or being negligent. This is common in cases when the victim was looking at their cell phone or otherwise distracted when they suffered the injury.
In Georgia, you may still be able to claim compensation if you were partially responsible for your injuries. However, you must be 49% or less responsible and the amount you get will be reduced in proportion to your share of fault. This is known as comparative negligence. Your lawyer will need to prove that most of the blame should be attributed to the defendant.
Winning a Premises Liability Claim
To get compensation, you’ll need to prove that:
The Defendant Had a Duty of Care
You need to show that the owner or occupier of the property had a duty of care towards you. This is the first step in making a case for damages. The other party only owes you a duty of care if you were on their property legally
The Defendant Breached the Duty of Care
The owner or occupier of the property breached that duty of care. After you establish that you were owed a duty of care, you need to prove the other party acted negligently. This may mean that they knew there was a hazard on the property but they failed to correct it or failed to warn guests of its existence.
The Breach Result in Your Injuries
It is not enough to show that a person or entity breached their duty of care towards you. You also need to show that the breach was the main cause of your injuries. If you or someone else was mostly at fault, you won’t be able to hold the property owner accountable.
Your Injuries Resulted in Losses
Your injuries resulted in losses. A stubbed toe or grazed knee may be considered an injury but it won’t result in any significant losses. However, a back injury, broken bone, or dog bite is likely to result in significant damages such as high medical bills and lost wages. Some cases result in permanent disability or disfigurement which have a clear financial cost associated with them.
The nature and amount of compensation you get will depend on your injuries. Many victims suffer both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include past and future earnings and the cost of hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and in-home care. Meanwhile, non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify and they include emotional distress, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Contact Calvin Smith Law Today to Discuss Your Case!
If you believe you were injured at someone else’s home or on a commercial property, you may be eligible for compensation. It’s important that you contact an Atlanta personal injury attorney for advice as soon as possible.
At Calvin Smith Law, the initial consultation is free. Therefore, you don’t lose anything by telling us how you were injured and finding out if you have a strong case. If you choose to hire us, you won’t have to pay until we secure compensation on your behalf. We’re skilled in both negotiation and litigation and we’ll do everything we can to secure the best possible outcome. Schedule your consultation today!