A premises liability claim results from an injury which occurs on another person’s property. While a premises liability can arise from a visit to an individual’s home or property, most premises liability claims are the result of an injury on a commercial property. There are many types of premises liability claims, although the most common claims result from a slip and fall or from negligent security.
Georgia Premises Liability Attorney
As with any type of negligence action, a premises liability claim requires the plaintiff to establish a duty of care by the defendant, show that the duty of care was breached and that the breach of duty of care directly resulted in injury. Some of the accidents which can result in a premises liability claim include:
- Slip and Fall Accidents—as noted, slip, trip and fall accidents are one of the primary causes of premises liability claims. While we may slip and fall on our own (perhaps because we were not paying attention or were wearing shoes which contributed to the likelihood of a fall), when the slip and fall is caused by a trip or fall hazard, a premises liability claim may be warranted. Items left in the walkway, sidewalks with large cracks or dips, spills which have not been cleaned up, any walkway left in disrepair, tears in carpeting, uneven flooring, poorly lit stairways, poorly maintained stairways, or any area which has a hazardous condition can be responsible for a slip and fall accident.
- Amusement Park Injuries—Injuries sustained in an amusement park could be the result of a slip and fall, failure to properly secure riders on amusement park rides, defective design of amusement park rides, improperly trained or negligent employees, inadequate safety precautions or procedures, failure to properly maintain or inspect an amusement park ride, or inadequate maintenance of the amusement park grounds.
- Swimming Pool Injuries—A swimming pool injury or death can occur at a residential home, a public pool, or a pool at a water park or amusement park. Private pools can be considered an “attractive nuisance,” requiring the homeowner to fence the pool to prevent children from accidental drownings. Public pools must also be fenced, there must be proper supervision to avoid drownings or diving board injuries, and the areas must be properly maintained and inspected to avoid water electrocutions or infection from contaminated water.
- Falling Items—Items which fall on people in a public place are more common than you might think when inventory is stacked too high, or unevenly, or in an outdoor situation when large branches could fall and injure a person.
- Construction Site Accidents—According to OSHA, of the 4,674 on-the-job fatalities in 2017, nearly 21 percent were in the construction industry. The leading causes of construction site accidents include falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and caught in between two objects. People who are simply passing by a construction site can be struck by an object, suffer a slip and fall, be electrocuted by exposed wiring, or be hit by a heavy equipment operator.
- Parking Lot or Parking Structure Accidents—An accident can occur in a parking lot or parking structure, when an individual slips on a spilled substance, an accident occurs due to parking lot attendant negligence, or two cars collide in a parking structure or parking lot due to a hazard in the area.
- Dog Bites—Dog bites are a common cause of premises liability claims; under Georgia law, a person who owns a vicious animal may be found liable if the animal gets free and attacks someone, however, the law does not presume dogs are vicious. To prevail in a dog-bite premises liability claim in Georgia, it must be shown that the dog owner was aware the dog had a propensity for violence—that the dog had previously bit someone or snapped at someone.
- Assaults in a Nightclub or Motel or Hotel Parking Lot—When there is inadequate or negligent security, an assault may occur in a hotel or motel parking lot or in a nightclub, should other patrons become engaged in a heated argument or bring weapons inside. The success of a negligent security premises liability claim will depend on many factors, including whether prior assaults have occurred on the property or in the immediate area, whether there were security cameras in use, or whether the assault was committed by an employee of the business.
- Electrical Injuries—Public businesses, as well as rental properties and private residences, have a responsibility to ensure all electricity is properly installed and properly maintained, and that there are no overt hazards associated with the electricity. Exposed electrical wiring, which is left unattended, or an improperly installed outlet can result in serious burns to the skin and even to internal organs.
Generally speaking, if a property owner or the manager of the business knew—or should have known—there was a hazard on the property, then the victim of a premise liability accident could be entitled to compensation. There is obvious knowledge—that is, there was a spilled soda at the doorway of a store which was not cleaned up and caused a slip and fall—and there is constructive knowledge. Constructive knowledge means the owner or manager of the property may not have actually known about the hazard but should have known because of prior events. Either way, the property owner could be liable for resulting injuries.
Georgia Statutes of Limitations for Premises Liability Claims
Georgia—like all states—sets specific time limits regarding the amount of time an injured victim has to file a premises liability claim. This time limit is known as the statutes of limitations. In the state of Georgia, the statute for premises liability claims is two years following the injury, although in some cases, that time could be extended. As an example, if the injured person is younger than 18, the statute of limitations will be extended until the person reaches the age of 18 (although the parents of the minor have only two years from the time of the injury to pursue a claim for medical expenses). If an injured person is deemed legally incompetent as a result of a mental illness or intellectual disability, the statute of limitations can be extended until the disability is resolved.
How Alderman & Hutcherson Can Help With Your Premises Liability Claim
The compensation you receive from your Georgia premises liability claim will depend on the circumstances surrounding the claim, however, you could be entitled to medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future income, pain and suffering, damage to physical property and, in certain cases, punitive damages. The team at Alderman & Hutcherson understands the complexities associated with premises liability claims, including the fact that the elements of possession, control, and ownership are extremely important. As highly experienced Macon, Georgia premises liability attorneys, we will ensure your rights are fully protected while working hard to secure an equitable settlement on your behalf. Contact an Alderman & Hutcherson premises liability attorney today for a comprehensive evaluation of your claim.