Premises Liability in Georgia
Georgia landowners and occupiers owe invited visitors a duty to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. “Premises liability” covers a broad range of cases in which a plaintiff is hurt because a landowner or occupier failed to use reasonable care to protect a visitor from hazards. This includes slip and falls , dog bites, inadequate security, structural defects, exposure to mold or lead paint, structural defects and inadequate maintenance. If you have been injured on somebody else’s property, an experienced Atlanta premises liability attorney may be able to help you recover for your injuries.
Proving Premises Liability
Whether you can recover in a premises liability case depends partly on your relationship to the owner or occupier of the land. In Georgia, an owner does not insure the safety of everyone who enters onto his property. The greatest obligations are owed to invitees.
To recover on a theory of premises liability, an invitee plaintiff must show that his or her injury was caused by a hazard that the owner or occupier of land should have removed in the exercise of ordinary care for the safety of invitees. This rule is codified in O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1. If an owner or occupier expressly or implicitly invites someone onto his land for business reasons, he is liable for all injuries related to his failure to use ordinary care.
If you are a licensee on land, your status and ability to bring suit is different than that of an invitee. A licensee is someone who doesn’t stand in contractual relationship with a landowner or occupier, and is allowed to go on a particular piece of property for his own interests or gratification. An owner of the premises is liable to a license only in the event of willful or wanton injury. If you are a trespasser on land and did not have express or implied permission to be on the premises, the owner has no duty to anticipate your presence. An owner may not, however, prepare a trap for trespasser or purposefully injure a trespasser that he is aware may be coming onto the property. An owner aware of a trespasser has the duty to avoid injuring him by active negligence.
There is an exception to the rule about trespassers if the trespasser is a child. A doctrine called “attractive nuisance” is imposed to protect children in Georgia. A property owner can be held liable for injuries to children if five conditions are met: (1) the owner or possessor knows or should know that it is likely children will trespass on his land, (2) the owner or possessor knows or should know of a hazard that is likely to cause injury or death to trespassing children, (3) the owner or possessor knows the trespassing children are unaware of the danger or don’t understand it because of their youth, (4) the owner or possessor knows the burden of fixing the hazard is minor compared to the risk of serious injury, and (5) the owner or possessor does not exercise reasonable care to remove the dangerous condition.
Contact a Knowledgeable Premises Liability Attorney in Georgia
Georgia premises liability cases can be particularly challenging. Often these cases are subject to defendants’ motions for summary judgment—motions to try to keep a case from going to a jury to decide. It is important to retain an attorney who fully understands this area of law to fight for the compensation you deserve. Michael Braun, an experienced Atlanta premises liability lawyers serves clients who have been injured in Cobb, Fulton, DeKalb, and Clayton Counties, as well as Jonesboro and Decatur. Contact us at (770) 421-6888 or via our online form.