Atlanta Premises Liability Claims Call for Serious Representation
Our Atlanta premises liability lawyer has heard several questions about injuries from clients. Some of them include: Is your landlord liable if you get hurt in your apartment? What if you are attacked by a criminal at a shopping center, or by a neighbor’s dog at your apartment complex? These are just a handful of the many types of injuries that involve the law of premises liability.
“Premises liability” refers to the liability of businesses and others who own or occupy real property for injuries caused to persons who come onto their property. Under Georgia law, whether an injured person can recover compensation on a premises liability claim often depends on the person’s legal status as an “invitee,” a “licensee,” or a “trespasser.”
These types of issues can make premises liability cases complicated. That means it is critical to have seasoned and aggressive representation — like that provided by Jim and Matt Poe — to get the best possible results on your premises liability injury claim.
Some Common Types of Atlanta Premises Liability Cases
- Negligent Security. In Georgia, a landowner can be liable when someone gets attacked by a criminal on the owner’s property if the landowner had reason to know that such a criminal act would be committed but failed to take steps to guard against the injury. That means a crime victim may have a claim for compensation against the landowner.
- Negligent Maintenance. Georgia law requires that people who own or occupy land maintain and repair the premises to keep it reasonably safe for invitees (meaning people who have been encouraged to enter the property for any lawful purpose). That includes inspecting the property to identify and fix defects and other hazards that an invitee might not be aware of. If the property owner doesn’t maintain the premises and someone gets hurt, the injury victim could have a claim for damages.
- Slip and falls. A slip-and-fall claim is the most common form of premises liability claim. These claims involve injuries that were sustained while the individual bringing the claim was on someone else’s property.
Frequently Asked Questions
If a property owner is responsible for my personal injuries, what can I recover?
These damages are:
- Special damages – These damages would compensate you for financial losses such as past and future medical expenses, past, present and future lost wages, property damage, and any permanent impairment of your earning capacity.
- General damages – These damages would cover non-economic losses, or losses that are not readily quantifiable, like past, present and future physical and mental pain and suffering, emotional distress, shock, fright and humiliation.
In some very limited instances, punitive damages may be recovered. These are damages intended to punish, penalize and deter defendants from willful and wanton misconduct or conscious indifference to consequences. Special rules apply to punitive damages so the potential must be evaluated on a case by case basis.
If I am visiting a friend’s house, and am attacked by the friend’s dog, can I pursue a claim?
Under Georgia law, in order to establish liability for an injury caused by a dog bite, the injured party must establish that the owner was aware of the dog’s aggressive or dangerous disposition. This could be established by showing that the dog had previously attacked a person.
Liability may also rest on the owner’s violation of a local ordinance that requires dogs to be leashed or to be otherwise confined. Each case requires identification of key facts before an assessment can be made.
The other major issue in this example is the ability to recover compensation. Nobody wants to lose a friend over a legal dispute, so it is natural to be hesitant about bringing a legal claim against a friend. In most cases, injuries like those suffered in a dog attack on your friend’s property will be covered by the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance.
If I was assaulted at an apartment complex, can I sue the owner?
As with the previous two examples, the key factor in determining whether liability exists is going to be the parties’ relative knowledge of the risk that a violent crime could occur.
If the owner knew of non-violent crimes that had previously occurred at the complex, that might not be sufficient to notify the owner of the risk that a violent attack could occur. However, if there is a history of similar assaults at a particular location, and the owner has failed to take reasonable steps to protect residents and visitors like adding security cameras or additional lighting or hiring additional security, then the owner may be liable.
These are commonly known as negligent security cases. In these cases, the details of an incident and all past incidents are crucial in assessing potential liability
Additionally, where an owner attempted to take such reasonable steps such as hiring a contractor to provide security guards or cameras, and the contractor failed to live up to the duty it assumed to provide the apartment complex owner with security, it is possible that the contractor could liable for the damages suffered by the injured party. The owner can be liable for negligently providing security under some circumstances.
Can a neighbor be held liable if my young child got into his pool and nearly drowned?
Residential swimming pools are sometimes referred to as “attractive nuisances” due to the fact that they may appeal to curious children who are unaware of their potential danger. Pool owners and operators who have reason to anticipate the presence of trespassing children have a duty to take reasonable steps to keep children from accessing these hazards, like erecting and maintaining a fence to keep children out.
A swimming pool accident case may turn on the owner’s compliance – or lack of compliance – with local zoning ordinances that may require fences of a certain height to be erected around residential swimming pools (and spas) as well as the use of latched gates and other safety measures. The child’s mental and physical capacities may also be factors.
Can I recover for my injuries if I slipped on a patch of ice in a store parking lot?
Similar to a case involving a spilled liquid in a store aisle, a naturally occurring condition such as an accumulation of ice in a store parking lot or on a sidewalk in front of the store can present a valid premises liability claim based on a property owner’s negligent maintenance of the property.
However, there are important issues which must be determined. If employees had been in the parking lot, noticed the ice and could have done something about it, or if the ice had been there for so long that it reasonably should have been addressed, those facts would weigh in favor of finding liability for the store owner.
However, if you knew about the hazard – for instance, you jumped over the ice patch on your way into the store and then absentmindedly walked across the same patch while you were walking back to your car and slipped, you would have had equal knowledge of the hazard, and would be unable to recover.
Even as an invitee, you must exercise reasonable care for your own safety, which includes keeping a lookout for open or obvious hazards, and taking reasonable steps to avoid them.
Contact Our Atlanta Premises Liability Lawyer
At The Poe Law Firm, our Atlanta attorneys offer trusted, proven representation for people who have been seriously hurt because of a property owner’s carelessness. Our clients receive dedicated and individual attention from Jim and Matt Poe — experienced and passionate Georgia trial lawyers who know how to get results for accident victims and their families.
If you’ve been seriously hurt on someone’s property and want to know whether you have a premises liability claim, we can answer any questions you might have. It’s easy to reach out to us today — just call us, or use our convenient online contact form.
We’ll schedule a free consultation with our Atlanta premises liability lawyer to talk about your case, including how you can best protect your family’s financial security after your premises liability accident.