Atlanta Premises Liability Attorney
When you step onto someone else’s property in Atlanta, you should feel safe and secure. Unfortunately, accidents and injuries can occur when property owners fail to maintain a hazard-free environment.
At The Pendergrass Law Firm, P.C., we understand the physical, emotional, and financial impact that premises liability injuries can have on your life. Here, you will find an Atlanta personal injury attorney who will help you navigate the legal process, holding negligent property owners accountable and fighting for the maximum compensation you rightfully deserve. Let us be your trusted ally and your voice in your journey to recovery.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
These personal injury cases cover a broad spectrum of accidents resulting from unsafe conditions on someone else’s property. Property owners have a legal responsibility to ensure their premises are reasonably safe for visitors. Here are the most common types of premises liability claims:
Slip and fall accidents
One of the most common premises liability claims, slip and fall accidents can occur due to wet floors, uneven surfaces, or poorly maintained walkways. Georgia law requires property owners to address such hazards promptly and warn visitors of potential dangers.
Property owners must provide adequate security measures, such as proper lighting, functioning locks, and security personnel when necessary, to protect visitors from foreseeable criminal activities. Failure to do so may result in a premises liability claim.
Swimming pool accidents
Under Georgia’s Attractive Nuisance Doctrine, property owners are responsible for securing swimming pools to prevent unauthorized access, particularly by children. Accidents may occur due to inadequate fencing, faulty pool equipment, or lack of supervision.
Dog bites and animal attacks
Georgia’s dog bite laws hold pet owners liable for injuries caused by their animals if the owner knew or should have known about the animal’s dangerous propensities. Victims of dog bites or animal attacks can file a premises liability claim for their injuries.
Elevator and escalator accidents
Property owners are responsible for ensuring the safe operation and regular maintenance of elevators and escalators on their premises. Accidents resulting from mechanical malfunctions or negligent maintenance can lead to premises liability claims.
Toxic chemical exposure
Exposure to hazardous chemicals on a property, such as asbestos, mold, or lead paint, can result in serious health issues. Property owners must disclose the presence of hazardous materials and take necessary steps to remediate these risks.
Common Types of Liable Parties
If you’re injured on someone else’s property in Atlanta, determining the liable parties is crucial for pursuing a premises liability claim.
Property owners: The person or entity owning the property where your injury occurred may be held liable if they failed to maintain a safe environment or did not address known hazards.
Property managers: If a property owner hired a manager or management company to oversee and maintain their property, these parties might be held responsible for injuries resulting from negligence in maintaining a safe environment.
Tenants or leaseholders: In some cases, individuals or businesses that lease or rent a property may be responsible for injuries if they create or fail to address hazards on the premises.
Contractors and subcontractors: If your serious injury was caused by poor construction, inadequate maintenance, or faulty repairs carried out by a contractor or subcontractor, they could be held liable for your injuries.
Government entities: In certain situations, you may have a premises liability lawsuit claim against a city, county, or state government entity if your injury occurred on public property or resulted from their negligence, such as poorly maintained sidewalks or insufficient lighting.
Homeowners’ associations: If your injury occurred in a residential community governed by a homeowners’ association, the association might be held responsible if they failed to uphold their duty to maintain common areas.
Establishing Negligence in Atlanta Premises Liability Cases
Determining exactly who is responsible for the accident on the property in question involves proving that the property owner or occupier failed to exercise reasonable care in maintaining a safe environment for visitors. To successfully pursue premises liability lawsuits, the following elements must be established in accordance with Georgia law:
Duty of Care
First, it’s essential to show that the property owner owed you a duty of care. In Georgia, different types of visitors are owed different levels of care by property owners:
- Invitees: Individuals invited onto the property for business purposes, such as customers in a store, are owed the highest level of care. Property owners must regularly inspect the premises and address any hazards or warn invitees of potential dangers.
- Licensees: Social guests or other non-business visitors are considered licensees. Property owners must warn licensees of any known hazards that may not be apparent to them.
- Trespassers: Property owners generally don’t owe a duty of care to trespassers, except in cases involving child trespassers and “attractive nuisances” like swimming pools.
Breach of Duty
Next, you must demonstrate that the property owner breached their duty of care by failing to maintain reasonably safe conditions, adequately warn of hazards, or provide necessary security measures.
It’s crucial to establish a direct link between the property owner’s breach of duty and your injury. You must prove that the property owner’s negligence directly caused your premises liability accident and injuries.
Lastly, you need to demonstrate that you suffered actual damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering, as a result of the property owner’s negligence.
Modified Comparative Negligence Under Premises Liability Law in Atlanta
Georgia follows a “modified comparative negligence” rule, which plays a significant role in determining compensation in a premises liability claim in the state. This rule takes into account the level of responsibility that both the injured party and the property owner have in the accident.
Under this rule, an injured party can still recover damages even if they share some fault in the accident, as long as their percentage of fault is less than 50%. However, the compensation they receive will be reduced in proportion to their share of the blame. For instance, if you are found to be 30% at fault for your injuries, your total compensation would be reduced by 30%.
Example: Consider that you suffer a premises liability injury in a shopping mall or a grocery store due to a wet floor that had no warning signs. However, you were also texting on your phone and not paying full attention to your surroundings. In this case, the court may determine that you were 20% at fault for the accident, while the store owner was 80% at fault. If your total damages amount to $200,000, you would receive 80% of that amount, which is $160,000, as your compensation.
That said, if your percentage of fault reaches 50% or more, you will not be able to recover any damages under the modified comparative negligence rule.
Working with a skilled Atlanta premises liability attorney at The Pendergrass Law Firm, P.C. can help you understand the nuances of your case and assess the degree of fault of all parties involved. We will gather the necessary evidence to prove fault and strongly negotiate with the other party’s insurance company on your behalf.
Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability Cases in Georgia
According to the Georgia Code (O.C.G.A.) § 9-3-33, you have two years (from the date of the accident) to file a lawsuit against the property owner or any other responsible party for injuries sustained on their property. Notably, there are some exceptions to this general rule:
- If the injured party is a minor (under 18 years old) or mentally incapacitated, the statute of limitations may be paused until they reach the age of 18 or are no longer incapacitated.
- If the property owner or responsible party is a government entity, special rules and procedures apply. You must provide the government entity with written notice of your claim within a specified timeframe (usually 6 to 12 months) before filing a lawsuit.
- In cases where the injured party did not discover their injury immediately, the “discovery rule” may apply. The statute of limitations may begin from the date the injury was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.
Types of Compensation in Atlanta Premises Liability Cases
In Georgia, you could be eligible for several types of compensation to aid your recovery and ease your burdens. While the exact amount and forms of compensation will vary based on your unique situation, some common categories of damages include:
Medical expenses: With the help of our determined personal injury lawyers, you may be compensated for medical costs related to your injury, such as hospital stays, doctor visits, surgeries, physical therapy, medications, and other necessary treatments.
Lost wages: If you’ve been unable to work due to your injuries, you can seek compensation for the wages you’ve lost during your recovery period. In some cases, you may also be eligible for compensation for loss of future earning capacity if your injuries have a long-term impact on your ability to work.
Pain and suffering: Georgia law allows victims to seek compensation for the physical pain and emotional suffering they’ve experienced due to their injuries. These damages can be more challenging to quantify, but experienced premises liability lawyers can help you determine a fair value for your pain and suffering.
Loss of enjoyment of life: If your injuries have impacted your ability to participate in and enjoy your usual activities, hobbies, or social interactions, you may be entitled to compensation for this loss.
Punitive damages: In cases where the property owner’s actions were particularly egregious, reckless, or malicious, Georgia courts may award punitive damages. Partnering with our experienced premises liability lawyer can help you determine if pursuing punitive damages is viable in your situation.
Consult With Our Highly Rated Atlanta Premises Liability Attorneys Today
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, you don’t have to face this challenging time alone. The Pendergrass Law Firm, P.C. is here to offer a helping hand and make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. Our tenacious injury lawyers are dedicated to providing:
- In-depth knowledge of Georgia’s premises liability laws
- Personalized legal strategy to match your unique situation
- Thorough investigation to establish negligence and liability, including employing private investigators and industry experts when necessary
- Skilled negotiation with insurance companies to maximize your compensation
- Passionate advocacy in court to protect your rights
Our experienced premises liability attorney you work with will go above and beyond to build the strongest possible evidence for your case. We will identify all the at-fault parties and hold them accountable, leaving no stone unturned to maximize your damages.Don’t let your premises liability case hold you back from living your life. Seek legal advice from our Atlanta premises liability lawyers today, beginning with a no-strings-attached, free consultation. Our friendly, empathetic Georgia law firm team is eager to hear your story and help you secure the justice you deserve. Connect with us by phone at (404) 348-4511 or complete our online contact form to get started!