Lawrenceville Pedestrian Accident Attorney
If you are on someone’s property and slip and fall due to some kind of hazard or danger on that property, you can suffer serious injuries. The things that can injure you can include broken concrete in sidewalks, inadequate lighting in hallways, or even wet floors. If the owner knew or should have known about the potential danger, the law will require that owner to take reasonable and adequate steps to fix the problem and make sure that visitors to their property are safe. If they don’t take those steps, they can, under Georgia law, be deemed negligent.
Georgia Slip and Fall Law Complicated
Georgia’s law on slip and fall injuries is complicated and subtle. “Slip and fall” can give the impression that the accident was not serious. On the contrary, these accidents can lead to life-altering injuries, which lead to extensive medical expenses and even loss of the ability to work. Therefore, it is essential to understand these cases and whether your case may fall within the compensable category.
Status & Standard of Care
In most states, property owners owe a set level of care to anyone on their property. This duty is not the case in Georgia. In Georgia, to recover for a negligent slip and fall injury, the injured party must be able to show that he or she was not trespassing on the premises. The standard of care depends upon the status of the person injured relating to the property. Under the law, there are three kinds of visitors to a piece of property:
- Invitees – Georgia law defines an invitee as someone who has been expressly invited or welcomed onto the premises, often for the benefits or profit of the owner. These people include customers during business hours, employees during work hours, service providers, and others who have in some way asked or been allowed to be on the premises. Sometimes, one is an invitee only to a portion of a given property, as in a retail store where the invitation does not extend to storage areas. An invitee who exceeds the invitation may become a licensee or even a trespasser.
- Licensees – Under Georgia law, a licensee is someone the owner permits to be on a property but whose presence is not based on a contract with the owner and is solely pursuing the person’s own interests, convenience, or pleasure. For a licensee, the property owner will be liable only for an injury caused by reckless conduct.
- Trespassers – Trespassers do not have an invitation or permission to be on the premises. Invitees and licensees who exceed the extent of their authorization can become trespassers. Trespassers can only recover if they can demonstrate that their injury was caused by the property owner’s willful or wanton conduct.
- Child trespassers – Children are the exception to much of this. The premises liability law expressly retains Georgia’s attractive nuisance doctrine. It provides that a property owner may be liable for an injury to a child trespasser if certain conditions are met. These include:
- The owner knows or should know that the condition is one that is likely to attract children
- The owner knows or should know that there is an unreasonable risk of injury or death
- The children do not understand or discover the risk
- The owner’s benefit from maintaining the condition and burden of removing it are slight in comparison to the risk
- The owner fails to exercise reasonable care to eliminate the risk or protect the children.
The attractive nuisance doctrine applies only to children who are trespassing on the premises.
The Owner’s Knowledge of the Dangerous Condition is Necessary
Legal liability for a slip and fall will only apply if the owner knew about the dangerous condition, including either actual or constructive knowledge. Actual knowledge means that the owner knows the danger existed and did nothing to rectify it. On the other hand, constructive knowledge means that the owner should have known about the hazard if they had properly inspected the premises.
Because showing that someone should have known something is subjective, it can be challenging to prove. So, if you have suffered a slip and fall injury, you should not wait to contact a knowledgeable Lawrenceville GA slip and fall attorney at Spaulding Injury Law. Nevertheless, there are ways to demonstrate that someone should have known about a danger on his or her property. Perhaps your lawyer can obtain inspection records to show that the hazardous area was inspected or the owner failed to inspect the area as they should have.
Potential Slip and Fall Hazards
Many different types of hazards can result in slip and falls when left unattended. Common causes of these accidents include:
- Items of debris left on the floor
- Slippery flooring or overly worn carpet
- Liquid or food spills that are not cleaned up in time
- Failing to warn customers of wet floors or other known hazards
- Having items or displays that protrude into walkways
Property owners should be able to identify such hazards and should take swift action to fix the problem. If they do not, they can face liability for any falls and injuries that result.
Property Owners Can Try to Limit LIability
In Georgia, property owners might try to minimize liability by claiming that you were partially to blame for the slip and fall. This is because comparative negligence applies to injury claims in our state. However, even if you were not paying full attention when you slipped, you can still seek recovery if you were less than 50 percent liable for your fall. If the property owner was 51 percent responsible due to the property hazards, you can still recover for 51 percent of your losses.
Contact a Lawrenceville GA Slip and Fall Attorney Today
Did you suffer injuries in a slip and fall that required medical attention? If so, you usually have only two short years to file a slip and fall injury claim in Georgia courts. You often must complete the insurance claim process before you even turn to the courts, so you want to begin the process right away.
If you were injured in a slip and fall in Lawrenceville, you should contact an experienced Lawrenceville slip and fall attorney for a free case consultation right away. Spaulding Injury Law is ready to help.