Advocacy in Connection with Premises Liability
In Georgia, property owners have a duty to make sure their property is free from hazards that present a danger to the public. This applies to personal residences, as well as office buildings, stores, malls and anywhere else owned, whether publicly or privately. Oftentimes, a person or an entity who is not an owner can have control over property, making them liable, as well. And frequently, the issue is made more complex by the addition of paid security guards, who may be responsible for protecting the public. If a mall, hotel, parking lot or the like fails to hire qualified security personnel, and they are aware of the dangers presented to those invited on their property because of a history of crime, they may be liable for damages.
Not all hazards are compensable, however. The danger must present an unreasonable risk of harm to the people on the property, and it must not be an open and obvious hazard. Typically, these hazards are the kind that is better known to the person owning or having control over the property. If there is a danger to the public presented, the condition must be repaired, guarded against, or warned against with the appropriate kind of warning. Establishing liability may require the testimony of expert witnesses. In some cases, the claim may be against a professional – like an engineer or an architect – in which case an affidavit establishing at least one act of negligence is needed in order to file a claim.
Another hotly contested area in premises liability claims is the nature of the victim. If you are in a store or a restaurant in order to make a purchase, you are an invitee and entitled to the highest duty of care. If you are a social guest in someone’s home, you are a licensee – still owed a duty of care, but a lesser one. And if you are a trespasser, the property owner still has a duty to avoid willfully or wantonly injuring you.
TYPES OF CLAIMS
Premises liability claims range from injuries due to falls at malls or construction sites to being shot or raped at a hotel or gas station. They can result in minor or catastrophic injury or death. The needs of seriously injured victims may cost many millions in care, physical and mental therapy, surgery and life care costs that no one can afford without assistance. You need an attorney who is knowledgeable and sufficiently skilled to establish both liability and the need for serious compensation. We have that skill and access to the finest experts in the field to support the claims we make, whether the issue is liability or the extent of injury and medical and other needs into the future.