For many, the American Dream revolves around the desire to own a home. With this dream comes the responsibility of homeowners to maintain a safe property. Unfortunately, some homeowners fall short in this regard. If you have been injured on someone’s property because of his or her negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Keep reading to learn more about what constitutes premises liability and what options you have moving forward.
What is Premises Liability?
In Georgia, as in other states, property owners or occupiers must take reasonable precautions to ensure that others are not harmed while on their land. This is known as “premises liability.” There are certain standards of care that property owners must meet to ensure the safety of others. For instance, many states require fencing around inground pools in order to prevent children from entering those grounds unsupervised and potentially drowning. Failure to meet reasonable standards of care would likely be viewed as negligence by a court of law. As in all personal injury cases, the existence of negligence is paramount. Indeed, proving negligence is a necessary element of any premises liability suit.
There are times when an individual can be harmed on someone else’s property and have no cause to pursue a premises liability suit. In Georgia, these incidents involve individuals who:
- Did not act in a reasonable way to protect their own safety.
- Were guilty of trespassing.
In the first case, a property owner cannot be held liable if the injured party acted in an unreasonable way. For instance, if a guest injured himself while under the influence of alcohol and decided to do a backflip off of the owner’s house and into a swimming pool, courts may find that individual solely responsible for his injuries. In the second case, owners are not expected to provide for the safety of persons who have no right to occupy their property.
Different Kinds of Liability
Aside from slip-and-fall accidents, which may be the most common premises liability suits, other cases may involve:
- Amusement park malfunctions, where the machinery has not been maintained to code. In extreme cases, guests have been thrown from or crushed by errant rides.
- Swimming pool injuries, where children have been left unsupervised.
- Structure collapses, which resulted from a lack of maintenance. In other cases, unsecured tents at festivals have fallen on unsuspecting patrons.
- Loose steps or walkways that have not been maintained properly by their owners.
- Animal bites from dogs or other animals that were left unsupervised.
- Building code violations that placed guests in harm’s way.
- A lack of building security, which allowed criminals to harm tenants.
The consequences of these incidents can be severe. They may result in broken bones, paralysis, PTSD, rape, or even death. These injuries may be temporary or may last a lifetime. In the most extreme cases, premises liability cases can be grounds for catastrophic injury or wrongful death suits. In wrongful death cases, you may be able to seek compensation for funeral expenses, lost wages, and the loss of quality time that individual would have been able to spend with loved ones. Seeking counsel is an essential part of attaining the compensation to which you may be entitled after an accident. There is no reason to suffer silently and without the resources you are entitled to if your injuries could have been prevented by the reasonable care of a property owner.
Contact an Atlanta Premises Liability Lawyer
If you have sustained a personal injury while a guest on someone else’s property due to his or her negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Additionally, if you are the spouse, child, or estate manager of someone who died while a guest on another person’s property due to that individual’s negligence, you may also be entitled to compensation. The first step to filing a suit is realizing that, in Georgia, property owners or occupiers have a legal mandate to provide safety for their guests. If reasonable standards of care have not been met by those responsible, then filing a lawsuit may be the right way to proceed. Once you understand your rights, finding the right legal advocate is the best way to claim what is yours in a court of law. Contact our experienced team of expert premises liability lawyers at Schneider Hammers today to learn more.