Premises Liability

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. In the case of government premises, an immunity law might prevent any sort of recovery. Near construction sites, special care must be taken to protect passersby from hazards. If you’re visiting someone, your host has a responsibility to advise guests of any known hazards. In a store, the owner or manager must reasonably inspect the property to insure that the store is safe. If you or someone you love has been injured on someone else’s property, please contact us today for a free consultation.

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.


About Lee Gutschenritter

Lee Gutschenritter is a trial lawyer dedicated to the representation of individuals who have suffered injuries and death due to the negligence of others. He has represented clients in cases throughout Georgia and has successfully litigated numerous cases in both state and federal courts.

Prior to joining Finch McCranie LLP, Mr. Gutschenritter spent several years working for one of Georgia’s largest defense firms. Insurance companies hired him to defend individuals and companies in cases involving motor vehicle accidents, tractor-trailer accidents, medical malpractice, and premises liability cases. Throughout this time period, he gained insight into the operations and strategies of insurance companies, as well as first-hand experience in the strategies used by defense attorneys. Today, Mr. Gutschenritter uses his knowledge of insurance companies and defense techniques to help ensure his clients receive the best representation possible.

Mr. Gutschenritter was recently profiled on the front page of the Daily Report. A copy of the article can be found here. In 2016 and again in 2017, Mr. Gutschenritter was selected as an Atlanta Magazine Super Lawyers “Rising Star,” an award reserved for the top 2.5% of attorneys in Georgia. He has been a featured speaker at several legal seminars around the state of Georgia. He received his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Florida State University College of Law in 2008. While attending law school, Mr. Gutschenritter served as an articles editor on the Business Law Review and received the Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award for his volunteer work in the community.