Macon Premises Liability Attorney
Premises liability is that area of personal injury law that deals with people who get hurt while on someone else’s property because the property owner failed to keep their premises reasonably safe. People often think of a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, but many other accidents and injuries come under premises liability law as well, including dog bites and animal attacks, swimming pool drowning accidents, playground injuries, and even violent or sexual assaults that are allowed to happen due to inadequate security on the premises. Property owners can be held liable for injuries that occur in all of these situations, and Buzzell, Welsh & Hill can help. Premises liability accidents can be tricky to prove, and property owners and their insurance companies will bring out a whole bag of tricks to try and evade their responsibility. Our team has years of experience helping accident and injury victims throughout Middle Georgia hold responsible parties liable for the harm they have caused through their negligence and recovering significant compensation for our clients’ medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. If you’ve been injured because of a hazardous condition on someone else’s property, call our experienced Macon premises liability attorneys today.
Facts About Georgia Premises Liability Law
One of the most important things to know about premises liability law in Georgia is that the law imposes different duties of care on property owners depending on the legal status of the victim on the property. The three classes of victims who could be injured on someone else’s premises are invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
Duties Owed to Invitees
Property owners owe their highest duty of care to Invitees. An invitee is a person who was invited to come on the premises for a lawful reason. Classic examples of invitees are customers, employees, and friends or social guests. Under Georgia law, a property owner is liable to an invitee for injuries caused by the “failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.” Ordinary care includes promptly cleaning up spills or making repairs to dangerous conditions and putting up warning signs about known dangers until the problem can be fixed. Ordinary care likely also includes the duty to make reasonable, periodic inspections of the property to make sure the premises are safe for invitees. For instance, grocery stores, restaurants, department stores and retail shops should periodically check their premises to make sure floors are clean and dry, free of any spills, obstructions or tripping hazards. Failing to do this routinely can be evidence of a lack of ordinary care.
Duties Owed to Licensees
A licensee is somebody who has a right to come onto the property for their own business purposes, even though they haven’t been invited in by the owner as a customer, guest, or employee. For example, a person who comes to deliver mail or a package, read the meter or make a sales call would be considered a licensee. In other words, they have a “license” to be on the premises. A property owner can be held liable for causing willful or wanton injury to a licensee. For instance, if the property owner knows about a hazardous condition on the premises but doesn’t bother to fix it, clean it up, rope it off, or warn the licensee about the danger could be held liable if the licensee winds up getting injured because of the hazard.
Duties Owed to Trespassers
A trespasser is someone who has no permission or legal right to be on the property. This includes someone who entered the property lawfully but overstayed their permission, such as someone who stayed in a store after it closed or refused to leave after being asked or told to. Property owners don’t owe a duty to keep trespassers safe from known or hidden dangers; they don’t have to repair hazards or put up warning signs, and they aren’t liable if a trespasser gets injured in a trip and fall or other accident. However, property owners can’t set traps on their property to intentionally harm trespassers, and they can be held liable for injuries that result if they do.
Our Macon Premises Liability Lawyers Can Help After a Slip and Fall or Other Accident
If you slip and fall or otherwise suffer an injury on someone’s property, it’s important to let the owner, a supervisor, or some staff member know about it at the time. It’s equally important to get checked out by a doctor as soon as you can. Some injuries are not immediately apparent at the time, but symptoms can later appear, and the injury can still be quite serious. These injuries include soft tissue injuries like strains and sprains as well as neck and back injuries, head injuries like concussions or traumatic brain injuries, internal injuries and more.
Seeing a doctor is important to get medical care at the earliest opportunity and document the accident for the record. Store owners will often dispute that you are injured if you didn’t suffer an obvious broken bone or laceration at the scene. Even in cases of serious injury, they might still try to avoid liability for the accident. For example, if the hazardous condition was obvious like a broken step, they will say it could have been avoided if you were paying better attention. If the condition was not obvious like a liquid spill, they’ll say they didn’t have time to become aware of the hazard and clean it up before you slipped and fell.
Our experienced injury lawyers know how to document how the accident happened and how seriously you got hurt. Armed with the facts, we’ll be ready to negotiate a settlement that fully compensates you for your damages, and if the owner or their insurance company aren’t reasonable about a settlement, we’ll be equally ready to take them to court and try your case in front of a jury. Our attorneys have decades of experience and a long record of obtaining significant results for accident victims.
Contact Buzzell, Welsh & Hill Today
If you were hurt in a slip and fall or other accident on somebody else’s dangerous property, Buzzell, Welsh & Hill will help you get the care and compensation you need and deserve. Call our experienced Macon premises liability attorneys today.