Premises liability law generally refers to harm that occurs on someone else’s property that was caused by a negligent or unsafe condition. There are different laws and circumstances affecting the owner or operator’s liability when it comes to the premises.
Landowner’s Duty – Category of Persons on the Property
In order to find a landowner liable under premises liability, the landowner must first have a duty to the person on its property. The duty the landowner owes to each is different but the landowner owes its highest duty of care to an invitee and the least amount of care to a trespasser. When you go on someone else’s property, you will fall in one of these three categories:
- Invitee: Under O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1, a landowner may be found liable to someone the landowner has expressly or impliedly induced to come onto the land. For example, the owner of a gas station or a grocery store may be liable if they fail to exercise ordinary care to keep their patrons safe.
- Licensee: O.C.G.A. § 51-3-2 defines a licensee as someone who is not a customer, servant or trespasser and has no contractual relationship with the landowner. But, here, unlike a trespasser, the licensee may go on the premises for his own interests or convenience because they have express or implied permission. The duty to a licensee is not as high as an invitee, see above, thus a landowner will only be liable for willful or wanton injury to the licensee.
- Trespasser: A trespasser is someone who comes on another’s property without permission, whether mistakenly or purposefully. A landlord owes no duty to a trespasser but, once he knows of the trespasser’s presence, the landowner may not cause willful or wanton injury to them.
Premises Liability – Types of Cases
Property owners face a significant potential liability problem every time someone steps onto their property. Below are some dangerous conditions that a landlord can be liable for:
- Inadequate security (that results in a crime such as rape or assault)
- Dangerous conditions on the property (and failure to warn the public)
- Broken Stairways
- Inadequate lighting
- Negligence in the removal of snow and/or ice
- Poorly maintained furniture
- Slip and Fall
- Uncovered ditches or holes on property
- Dog Bites / Attacks
Finch McCranie has handled premises liability cases for over 40 years. We have the experience to bring you the best possible result for your case. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident involving premises liability in Georgia, Finch McCranie, LLP may be able to help you. Please contact us for your free case consultation.