Savannah, Georgia Premises Liability Injury Lawyer
A premises liability claim is applicable to situations where you are injured while on property belonging to another person or business.
The type of injury involved in the premises liability claim can have a wide range and is not limited to one specific type of injury. Rather, all that matters is that an injury actually occurred while on the property.
Who is Liable?
If you are injured while on the property of another, you may bring a claim against either the property owner or the person controlling the property at the time of the injury.
For example, if you are injured while visiting a public place of business, you may bring a claim against the business even though it is possible that the business does not own the property and is instead renting the space from the true property owner.
Basis of the Claim
Simply becoming injured while on the property of another is not enough to merit a premises liability claim. Rather, you must prove that the owner or occupier of the property was the actual cause of the injury.
To prove that the owner or occupier of the property was at fault for your injury, the following elements need to be proven:
- The owner or occupier had a duty
- The owner or occupier breached their duty
- The owner or occupier’s breach was the cause of the injury
- You suffered physical, emotional, and/or economic damages
The type of duty a property owner or occupier owed you depends upon your status in relation to you being on the property.
The law in Georgia has outlined three distinct types of classifications of status for potential claimants in a premises liability case:
An invitee is considered to be a person with an express or implied right to come onto an owner’s property. An example of an invitee would be a customer of a business. A customer is invited to enter a business, during business hours, for purposes related to the business dealings associated with the premises. Thus, a customer who enters a clothing store for the purposes of buying a t-shirt would be considered an invitee.
Business owners owe invitees a duty to exercise ordinary care for their protection while they remain on the property.
A licensee is considered to be a person who is not an invitee or a trespasser but is granted access to the property. Examples of licensees include but are not limited to; social guests, visiting sales people and firefighters responding to a call for help.
Property owners are only liable for the injury of a licensee if the owner knowingly allowed the licensee to run into hidden peril or willfully caused the injury. In other words, the licensee entered the property at their own risk.
A trespasser is a person who enters the property belonging to another without permission. The property owner owes a trespasser the duty of not injuring him willfully or wantonly. The property owner is under no obligation to keep the property safe but is required to warn a trespasser who he sees in a position to get hurt.
If you are able to prove that you had a protected status while on the owner or occupier’s property that warranted an owed duty on behalf of the owner, and that the owner breached that duty, you still need to prove that the breach was the cause of your injury to ultimately have a chance at a successful outcome to your case.
Causation needs to be proven in both actual as well as proximate terms.
Actual causation requires that the owner’s breach of duty be the cause in fact of your injury.
For example, but for the store clerk leaving broken glass on the floor, you, the customer, would not have stepped on the glass and sustained injury.
Proximate cause refers to how foreseeable an injury would be as a result of the action or in action of the owner. This protects potential owners from being liable for injuries that were in no way predictable as a result of their action or inaction. Therefore, in order for a recovery to be permitted, the injury must have been close in time or within the chain of causation linked to the action or inaction of the owner.
It is foreseeable that the act of leaving broken glass, a dangerous substance, on the floor would result in injury. Thus, it is likely that the act of leaving the broken glass on the floor was both the actual and proximate cause of the injury.
If it can be proven that you were injured while on the property of another and that the injury was a result of the property’s owner or occupier breaching a duty, you will likely be successful in your premises liability claim.
If you are injured on someone else’s property, contact us to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you get the compensation you deserve. At the Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C. we will fight for you.