As is the case with all injury claims, there are four elements required for you to prove negligence in a premises liability case. In order to recover monetary damages for your injuries, you must prove each of these individual elements.
Establishing your case for negligence is important, given how severe these accidents can be. Understanding your burden of proof could help you build a winning premises liability claim.
Elements of Negligence for Premises Liability Claims
The four elements required to establish negligence in a premises liability case are no different than with any other personal injury case. These elements include:
- Duty of care: The property owner or occupier had a duty to provide premises safe from dangerous hazards.
- Breach of duty: The owner or occupier failed to uphold the duty of care. In a premises liability case, you would need to prove that the owner or occupier knew (or should have known) about a hazard but failed to fix or warn visitors about it.
- Causation. The breach of duty was the direct cause of your accident and injuries.
- Damages. You suffered damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, or mental anguish.
For your claim to be successful, you must establish each of these elements. For example, you are not entitled to compensation if your accident did not result in damages. This is true even if all other elements of negligence are met.
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The Duty of Property Owners in Georgia
The duty of care is where premises liability claims frequently differ from other types of personal injury cases. Unlike most injury claims, the duty of care in a premises liability case can vary depending on the injured person’s relationship with the property.
According to OCGA §51-3-1, the owners and occupiers of property are liable for damages for any injuries resulting from the property owner’s failure to exercise ordinary care in securing their premises from dangerous hazards. This duty applies to the buildings and property itself and any “approaches” to the property. These approaches include walkways, driveways, ramps, parking lots, and stairs.
Who is Owed a Duty of Care?
Whether or not a property owner owes you a duty of care while you are on the premises will depend on if you were invited or not. This status does not require an express invitation from a property owner or occupier. It can also include the express invitation that comes with entering the premises of a business that is open to the public.
Trespassers do not enjoy the same protections, however. If you enter the property unlawfully or stay beyond your welcome, you are unlikely to have a viable claim for compensation. The primary exception in these cases involves intentional injuries caused by the property owner or occupier to a trespasser.
Potentially Liable Parties
Some various individuals and entities could be at fault in a premises liability case. Most of the focus on these claims is on the owner of the property in question. However, the occupier could also face liability for any hazards that are present. For example, a grocery store owner could face liability for a slip and fall in their establishment, even if they rent the space from a landlord.
Some premises liability claims can target the government. Unfortunately, some government agencies and employees enjoy immunity from injury claims. There are also strict notice requirements that must be complied with immediately after an injury on public property. Your attorney can help you navigate these complex requirements.
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We Will Help You Prove Negligence
To establish the owner’s or occupier’s negligence, we will investigate your case and gather evidence. Evidence we may use includes:
- Surveillance video
- Photos of the scene and your injuries
- Eyewitness testimony
- The incident report
- Any prior complaints (e.g., reports about a hazardous condition on a property, prior dog bite reports)
Types of Premises Liability Cases We Handle
We can help with any of the following types of cases:
- Slips or trips and falls
- Dog bites
- Injuries that occur in a stadium or arena
- Pool accidents
We handle cases on a contingency-fee-basis. You pay us no upfront fees and do not pay us for our time unless you recover compensation. You face no financial risk when you enlist our help.
An Attorney With Our Firm Could Help Establish Negligence in Your Premises Liability Case
Establishing negligence in your premises liability case can be challenging. The good news is that your legal counsel will focus on building the strongest claim possible from the ground up.
Bader Scott Injury Lawyers understands what goes into proving negligence in a premises liability case. We have prevailed in countless liability cases on our client’s behalf. We are ready to put our experience to work for you. If you have questions about your legal options after an accident on the property of another person, call us at (404) 888-8888 for a free consultation as soon as possible.