Both residential and commercial property owners have a responsibility to those that visit their property to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their guests. If a property owner negligently maintains their property, lawful visitors may slip and fall on the premises and suffer serious injuries. Slip-and-fall accident victims may recover compensation for their injuries and damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the property owner and other parties responsible for their accident.
Filing a premises liability claim
Slip-and-fall accident victims must prove all of the elements of a premises liability claim in order to recover damages. Here are the general elements you must prove in Georgia.
You were an ‘invitee’ of the property owner
Under O.C.G.A. Sec. 51-3-1, property owners have a legal duty to invitees to exercise ordinary care to keep the premises safe. Invitees are legally defined as anyone who comes onto the property because of an express or implied invitation of the property owner. Generally, tenants at an apartment, customers at a store, or patrons at a restaurant are all considered to be invitees of the property owner.
There was a dangerous condition on the premises that caused your accident
To have a valid slip-and-fall claim against a property owner, there must have been a dangerous or hazardous condition on the property that led to your accident. Broken steps, slippery floors, poor lighting, icy sidewalks, and other property defects may have played a role in your accident.
The property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition
Under Georgia law, property owners must have had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous property condition. Actual knowledge means that the property owner was aware of or was notified of the hazard prior to the accident. Constructive knowledge means that a reasonable property owner would have conducted an inspection and known about the defective condition, and therefore, the property owner in question should have known about it.
The property owner failed to take reasonable steps to fix the problem
Having knowledge of a defect is not enough. The property owner also has a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to remedy the dangerous condition and warn invitees of the condition.
You suffered injuries because of the accident
Slip-and-fall victims must show that they suffered physical, emotional, and/or financial injury as a result of the accident to recover damages. For example, an accident victim who had to miss work due to her recovery may be entitled to damages for her lost wages.
Filing a premises liability claim requires the right evidence and strategy to build your case against a negligent property owner. An attorney can assist with your claim and help you recover the damages you deserve.