Atlanta, Georgia Slip and Fall Accident Attorneys
Premises Liability: Recovering Damages from Property Owners for Injuries Caused by Dangerous Property Conditions
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in Atlanta or elsewhere in Georgia, an experienced Atlanta Slip and Fall Attorney can help you recover the damages you are entitled to receive for your. Slip and fall accidents fall under premises piability which is a specific category of tort liability that applies to landowners or leaseholders that holds them legally responsible for certain types of injuries that occur on their property as a result of dangerous conditions. The policy behind premises liability is to make sure that business and property owners take appropriate care to protect the public from foreseeable harms that occur as a result of hazardous property conditions.
While a premises liability accident is often referred to a “slip and fall” due to the typical accident in which an individual slips on a dangerous surface, such as a wet floor, and thereby injures himself from the fall, premises liability can take many forms. For example, dangerous premise conditions leading to legal liability may entail:
- Open holes, gaps, or ditches;
- Uneven pavement or flooring;
- Standing water in shallows or dips;
- Crumbling or unstable surfaces;
- Wet or icy surfaces;
- Falling objects or structures;
- Improperly positioned or secured carpets or mats;
- Hidden or obscured hazards, such as holes, or hanging or protruding objects or structures;
- Tripping hazards such as wires or cables, surface transitions, or floor trim;
- Unguarded heights;
- Uneven or poorly designed ramps or stairs;
- Cluttered walkways or passages;
- Inadequate lighting;
- Defective chairs, tables, decorations, or building appointments.
As with all torts in negligence, liability must be shown by proving four distinct elements: a) the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff; 2) the defendant breached that duty; 3) the breach was the cause of an injury; and 4) the injury caused the plaintiff to suffer damages. In the context of premises liability, these four elements usually refer to a defendant who has invited a plaintiff onto his or her property for the purpose of conducting business. Thus, a defendant who operates a store or a restaurant owes a duty to his or her customers to provide a facility free of hazardous conditions, and, if the defendant fails to meet that standard, may be held liable for any injuries suffered by those customers as a result of the hazardous condition.
When is a Landowner Liable for a “Slip and Fall” Injury?
Essentially, “slip and fall” liability attaches where the owner or proprietor knew or should have known of a potentially dangerous condition on the property, and failed to take the proper steps to remove the danger, to minimize an unavoidable danger, or to warn others of the danger. These steps may include cleaning up dangerous materials or objects; installing fencing around a construction or excavation site or a sinkhole; putting up warning signs; posting responsible personnel to guard dangerous sites or conditions; erecting temporary structures such as walls and walkway detours; or taking other affirmative safety steps to reduce or eliminate dangerous conditions that arise, such as de-icing sidewalks, filling potholes, fixing broken fixtures, and so on.
Although landowners are legally obligated to take proper precautions to prevent injury to others, proprietors are not “strictly liable” any time that an individual gets hurt on their premises. Instead, the law expects both plaintiffs and defendants to exercise reasonable care. Thus, a plaintiff who is running or letting himself get distracted may not be able to recover (or his recovery will be limited) if his own conduct contributed substantially to his own injury, and, conversely, landowners or leaseholders may be absolved from liability if they did not have any opportunity to address a potential hazard.
For example, if a bottle of oil spills in a grocery store aisle, the store owner may not be held liable if someone slips upon it before the owner has had a reasonable opportunity to learn of the problem and to address it an appropriate way by cleaning it up, giving a warning, or blocking the area from public access. In all cases, the key to legal liability rests upon the public policy of imposing upon all parties the responsibility to take reasonable, prudent, and timely steps to avoid or prevent foreseeable and preventable harm.
The Atlanta Premises Liability Attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C., Can Help You Evaluate Your Premises Liability Claim
Premises liability for slip and fall accidents is a constantly evolving area of the law. Every situation is different, and cases are continually arising in which liability is either expanded or contracted for premises owners based on various public policy interests that may be at stake. In addition, tort reform continues to be a matter which state legislatures repeatedly address through new and proposed laws. As a result, with the exception of particularly egregious cases, there are often no hard and fast rules for determining whether you have a valid premises liability case, and your likelihood of being able to obtain recovery depends upon the current state of the law for your particular jurisdiction and your particular situation.
If you believe you have a case for premises liability, it is critical that you retain an Atlanta premises liability attorney to represent you who understands fully all the issues that must be researched, and who will ask you the right questions to competently and accurately evaluate the merits of your case. The slip and fall attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter are knowledgeable about slip and fall premises liability law throughout the State of Georgia.
If you need an Atlanta, Georgia, slip and fall accident lawyer, contact the personal injury lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. You can obtain a free case evaluation by calling us directly at 404-814-8949 or by contacting us using our online case evaluation form. All communication is completely confidential, and you will incur no legal fees. In all slip and fall premises liability cases we take, we charge no legal fees unless and until we recover damages for you. We understand Georgia personal injury law, and we can help you with your premises liability case.
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