Posted By Karsman, McKenzie & Hart || 11-Oct-2016
Have you or someone you know been injured while visiting someone else’s property? Whether it be the result of a slippery floor, inadequate building security, an unrestrained animal, or some other dangerous condition, you may have grounds to take legal action against the owner or manager of the property in pursuit of fair compensation for your losses. But how do you know if you have a valid claim?
An Overview of Georgia Premises Liability Law
In the state of Georgia and in many other states, the area of law known as “premises liability” governs situations in which a person is injured or killed while on or near property controlled by another person or business. This legal principle establishes that property owners have a legal responsibility to make a reasonable effort to protect their visitors, employees, guests, licensees, and other parties from harm while on their premises. When this duty is violated, property owners may be held liable for any damages that injured parties should sustain.
Generally speaking, valid premises liability claims satisfy the following requirements:
- The defendant owned, occupied, or leased the property
- The defendant negligently used the property
- The plaintiff suffered meaningful harm
- The defendant’s negligence directly led to the harm
Property owners are responsible for dangerous and hazardous conditions they may know about, should have known about, or failed to remedy and/or properly warn others of their presence. On the other hand, property owners are not responsible to protect others from dangers which are obvious or reasonably expected, as people are expected to employ common sense in these situations.
What to Do After an Injury
If you have been injured on another party’s property, it is imperative you do the following:
- See a Doctor: This may seem obvious, but your injuries may be far more serious than you initially realize. It is possible that some symptoms may not surface for days or even weeks, slowly worsening over time if left untreated.
- Document Everything: Take photographs of the condition of the area of your accident as well as your injuries before they are treated. If you can, get the names and contact information of any witnesses to your accident and obtain copies of any incident or police reports. Likewise, preserve records of all medical treatments and expenses you incur as a result of your accident. The more evidence you have, the better.
- Do Not Sign Anything: You will likely be contacted after your accident by an insurance adjuster or attorney representing the owner in order to gain more information about your injuries or to get you to sign a release of some kind. Do not agree to any initial settlements or authorizations without first speaking to an attorney, as you can potentially end up settling for far less than what you actually deserve, leaving you financially responsible for any losses not covered by your settlement.
- Contact an Attorney: A lawyer who is experienced in handling premises liability cases can review the circumstances surrounding your accident and advocate for maximum compensation for your suffering. In many cases, an attorney will be able to help you secure a settlement that is several times greater than what you would have been able to recover on your own.
Savannah Personal Injury Lawyer
At Karsman, McKenzie & Hart, our Savannah premises liability attorneys have decades of experience protecting the rights of injured clients throughout Georgia and can give you the edge you need in your pursuit of compensation. Find out more about why so many clients love us by contacting our office online or calling us today at (912) 335-4977.