Under Georgia state law, property owners and managers have a legal duty to keep their land in reasonably safe condition so that visitors on that land do not suffer avoidable injuries. However, the exact nature of this duty can change a lot depending on why someone is visiting that land to begin with—and as a result, so can your right to file suit against a landowner after getting injured by a hazardous condition on their property.
Navigating these laws efficiently and getting a positive result from your civil claim is not something you should expect to accomplish alone, and especially not without support from an injury attorney experienced with handling—and winning—similar cases before. A knowledgeable Riverdale premises liability lawyer from our team could be the steadfast ally you need to proactively enforce your rights and obtain every cent you deserve.
What “Duty of Care” Do Landowners Owe to Visitors?
In Georgia, there are three categories that a visitor on someone else’s property can fall into: invitee, licensee, and trespasser. An invitee is anyone who receives an express or implied invitation from a landowner to lawfully come onto their land. A customer in a retail store is an example of an invitee. A licensee, on the other hand, is someone other than a customer, servant, or contractor who goes lawfully onto someone else’s property solely for their own interests. A trespasser—as you might expect—is someone who enters another person’s property without permission or lawful authority.
As per the Official Code of Georgia § 51-3-1, landowners are expected to exercise “ordinary care” in maintaining their property in reasonably safe condition so that no invitee ends up suffering an avoidable injury. This obligation includes not only correcting hazardous conditions quickly after discovering them and warning invitees of known hazards that have yet to be addressed, but also inspecting their property regularly for new hazards yet to be discovered. This means it is sometimes possible to hold a landowner liable for a hazard they did not actually know about but should have already discovered through reasonably consistent inspection of their land.
However, O.C.G.A. § 51-3-2 and 51-3-3 state that landowners are only liable for injuries to licensees and trespassers caused by the landowner’s “willful or wanton” actions. A Riverdale premises liability attorney could go into further detail about how these laws might impact your specific claim during a consultation.
Recovering Fairly Within Applicable Filing Deadlines
Any property owner found liable for an injury you sustained on their property may be held financially accountable for the negative effects that injury has on you in the short term and the long term. Both economic and non-economic losses could be recovered, including:
- Medical bills
- Personal property damage
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional and psychological distress
- Lost overall quality/enjoyment of life
- Lost work income and/or working ability
Even if your accident has left you permanently disabled, you generally only have two years at most under the Official Code of Georgia § 9-3-33 to formally file a claim after getting hurt. Talking to a premises liability lawyer in Riverdale sooner rather than later is usually wise.
Get in Touch with a Riverdale Premises Liability Attorney Today
Even if you know that a property owner did not take sufficient care of their property and caused you to get hurt as a direct result, holding them legally liable for their actions is almost never a simple process. Both opposition from defense counsel and the rules outlined under Georgia state law could serve as obstacles to you getting paid fairly for your damages, and overcoming either one alone is not something anyone should expect to do while still dealing with serious injuries.
Fortunately, there is help available from a tenacious Riverdale premises liability lawyer who will fight on your behalf to get you the money you need. Call Robert James Trial Attorneys today to set up your free initial consultation.