All property owners in Georgia, from store owners to landlords to private homeowners, have a responsibility to keep their premises safe. This means that they must inspect their premises regularly, order repairs when needed, and warn visitors about potential hazards. If someone is injured while visiting their property, these owners could face legal action.
In a premises liability case, the property owner must have failed to uphold a certain duty of care to the victim, leading to the accident. Additionally, the victim must have had a legal right to be on the property at the time of the incident.
Visitors’ Legal Status and Premises Liability
For a premises liability lawsuit to be successful, the property owner must have owed a legal duty of care to the victim at the time of the accident. The victim must have been on public property or legally on private property.
There are three types of legal statuses that a visitor may hold:
Invitees: The first category of visitors, and those owed the highest duty of care, are invitees. These individuals are invited to the property by the owner, such as customers in a store. The owner has a duty to keep the premises safe and should reasonably maintain an environment free from hazards for their guests.
Licensees: The second category of visitors is known as licensees. These individuals are not expressly invited onto the property, but their presence is allowed with the owner’s consent, such as friends or neighbors. The owner has a duty to avoid recklessly or wantonly injuring the licensee.
Trespassers: Under Georgia law, trespassers are owed the lowest duty of care by property owners. The trespasser does not have express or implied consent to be on the property. The owner’s only duty is not to injure the trespasser intentionally, willfully, or wantonly.
How to Prove Fault in a Premises Liability Lawsuit
To secure compensation in a premises liability lawsuit, you will need to provide sufficient evidence that proves the property owner’s negligence. In Georgia, four important elements comprise fault: duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
Duty: The at-fault property owner owed you a duty of care at the time of the accident. As long as you had a legal right to be on the property, the owner would owe you a duty to maintain safe premises.
Breach of Duty: The at-fault property owner breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or failure to act. The specific act or omission that constitutes a breach of duty will depend on your legal status.
Causation: The at-fault party’s breach of duty caused your accident and the injuries that you suffered. Evidence like medical records, surveillance footage, and witness testimony may help prove causation.
Damages: You sustained damages that you can collect in your lawsuit. These damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Contact a Georgia Premises Liability Attorney Today
Premises liability claims can be complex and often require significant legal knowledge to navigate. A Georgia personal injury lawyer can help build a strong case for your right to recovery and hold the property owner accountable for your injuries.
If you were injured in a premises liability accident, you need an attorney who can guide you through the litigation process and recover the settlement that you deserve. After receiving medical attention for your injuries, schedule a consultation with an Augusta premises liability attorney as soon as possible to discuss your next steps.