Atlanta Premises Liability Attorney
Premises liability refers to the duty property owners have to maintain a safe environment for the safety of people lawfully on their property. Department stores, grocery stores, restaurants, offices, parks and playgrounds, and even private residences all fall under premises liability law when a visitor is injured. The Atlanta premises liability attorneys at Durham Law Group are skilled and experienced in helping injury victims who suffered an injury because of a property owner’s negligence. Call 404-845-3434 to discuss your claim if you have been injured and believe you might have a claim against the property owner. Examples of common premises liability accidents include:
- Slip and fall
- Trip and fall
- Playground or yard injury
- Swimming pool drowning
- Malfunctioning elevator or escalator
- Broken staircase
- Porch collapse
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Assaults due to negligent security
Duties Owed to Injury Victims by Premises Owners
Georgia is one of a handful of states that imposes different duties on landowners depending on the status of the individual on the property. The duty owed by a property owner depends on whether the accident victim was an invitee, licensee or trespasser.
An invitee is someone invited onto the property for some lawful purpose. This invitation could be express or implied. A social guest is an invitee, as would be a customer or someone who works for the property owner. The duty owed to an invitee is to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe. Ordinary care would typically include periodically inspecting the premises and cleaning up spills or fixing hazardous conditions in a timely manner.
Licensees are people who are not customers, servants or trespassers, don’t have any contractual relationship with the owner, and are allowed to be on the premises for their own purposes. A salesman, delivery person, mail carrier or utility ready would fit the description of a licensee. A premises owner is only liable to a licensee for willful or wanton injury. An owner who knows about a danger on the property yet fails to put up a sign or do anything about it would probably be liable for injuries to a licensee.
Trespassers are people who are on someone else’s property without permission. Property owners don’t have a duty to inspect their property or warn trespassers about any known dangers, but they shouldn’t actively try to harm trespassers, such as by setting traps.
Negligent Security and Assaults
Property owners will say it’s not their fault if someone gets robbed, assaulted or sexually assaulted on their premises, but that isn’t always the case. The duty to maintain a safe premises includes taking property security measures that are appropriate given the nature of the property, its location, and whether there has been a record of crime in the area or related to that property. Based on these factors, the type and level of security required may be higher or lower. Examples of reasonable security measures can include:
- Gated entries to apartment complexes. Decent locks on patio doors and windows.
- Keyed entrances to office buildings.
- Adequate lighting in parking garages, stairwells and hallways.
- Roving security patrols or security guards at entrances.
- Bouncers or security personnel inside nightclubs and in parking lots.
- Security cameras.
If security guards or bouncers are used, they should be properly trained and supervised to deescalate situations and not commit assaults themselves. Premises owners can be liable for the negligent hiring, retention or supervision of guards who assault or brutalize patrons while carrying out their duties.
Proving Premises Liability in Atlanta
Premises liability cases can be difficult to prove. Often, the victim must prove that the property owner had actual or constructive knowledge (actually knew or should have known) about the danger yet failed to fix it or put up a warning in a reasonable amount of time. If the hazard is temporary or transient, like a liquid spill, owners will claim they didn’t have time to learn about it and correct it before the accident happened. If the danger is permanent and long-term, like a broken step, they’ll say the condition was obvious and could have easily been avoided. Owners and their insurance companies will frequently say the victim was at least partially to blame for not paying enough attention. Even when liability is not in dispute, if the injury is not visible, like a cut or broken bone, they are likely to argue over how severe the injury is and how much in damages they should have to pay.
The Atlanta premises liability attorneys at Durham Law Group know how to investigate an accident and put together the evidence that proves the property owner’s liability. We prove both liability and damages while fending off charges that our clients were somehow negligent or responsible for their injuries. Our goal is a successful outcome with significant compensation to help injury victims recover physically and emotionally and put their lives back together after being disrupted by another party’s negligence.
Help With Premises Liability Accidents and Injuries in Atlanta
If you have been injured because of a dangerous condition on another’s property, call the Atlanta premises liability lawyers of Durham Law Group for a free consultation at 404-845-3434. Our fee is based on the size of the recovery we get for you, and you never have to pay any money up front to have us represent you.