Atlanta Premises Liability Lawyers
Premises liability is one of the most frequent grounds for injury lawsuits in Atlanta. Unsafe premises lead to preventable accidents like slips, trips, and falls. Oftentimes, these injurious accidents come down to property owner negligence and breaches of legal duties. If you were on someone else’s property and sustained a personal injury like a bone fracture, don’t hesitate to contact the Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Butler Prather LLP. We’re prepared to take your case to trial if necessary to secure the financial compensation your injuries and losses are due.
Premises Liability Statistics
The data on premises liability accidents vary depending on what type of property element caused the injury. In our time in practice, we’ve handled dozens of property accident claims successfully throughout Georgia. Our team has won six- and seven-figure settlement awards for clients dealing with these types of claims. Here are statistics on three common causes of premises liability lawsuits:
- Slip and falls. Slips, trips, and falls are the most common types of unsafe premises injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injuries and deaths from injury in older adults. Slip and falls can occur in grocery stores, parking lots, at work, or at a friend’s home. Regardless of the setting, the property owner may be liable for damages if he/she should have known about the dangerous property condition.
- Dog attacks. According to DogsBite.org, canines killed 392 people in the U.S. from 2005 to 2016. Thousands more people suffered serious injuries from dog bites. Georgia’s dog bite statute offers compensation if owner negligence led to the dog being “at large.” Dog bite victims can also seek compensation through the legal doctrines of intentional tort and scienter. Dog bite laws in Georgia are complex. These premises liability claims often require legal representation.
- Swimming pool accidents. Accidental drowning kills about 10 people per day in the U.S, according to the CDC. Two out of these 10 people are children aged 14 and younger. Children four and under have the highest accidental drowning rates. Nearly 80% of fatal drowning victims are male. The riskiest body of water for children can be found in the backyard – the home swimming pool. Property owners must make pools safe for swimmers and curious children in the community – installing barriers and taking other safety measures.
These are just three of many types of premises liability accidents we’ve dealt with at Butler Prather LLP. Our team has experienced the very real dangers of unsafe properties and negligent owners vicariously through our devastated clients. We work hard to understand all applicable state and city laws in Atlanta, and we use this knowledge to our clients’ benefit. We want to help you maximize compensation for these preventable accidents.
Slip and Fall Accidents
In one year alone, 29 million falls, seven million injuries, and an estimated $31 billion in healthcare costs occurred in the elderly population – people 65 and older – in America. The elderly aren’t the only people at risk for these accidents. Every year thousands of people sustain serious and fatal injuries from slips and falls. The long list of property-related hazards connected with these events include:
- Slippery, greasy, or oily floors
- Un-mopped spills
- Recently waxed floors
- Lack of warning signs, such as “Caution: Wet Floors”
- Uneven curb
- Wet or uneven surfaces
- Cracks in the sidewalk
- Icy or wet parking lots
- Obstacles blocking pathways and aisles
- Cluttered floors
- Loose, torn, or curled carpeting
- Exposed cords running on the ground
- Inadequate lighting
- Broken or loose floorboards
- Exposed tree roots
- Dangerous or faulty staircases
- Hidden holes and ditches
- Unsafe construction zones
The circumstances surrounding slips and falls have almost endless variations – most of which trace back to someone’s negligence, carelessness, or wanton disregard for the safety of others. An individual could suffer serious injuries in a bad fall, such as broken bones, concussion, brain injury, spinal cord injury, and even paralysis. In some cases, victims never recover. If you suffered an injury or a loved one passed away because of a property element that caused a slip, trip, or fall, our Atlanta hazardous property attorneys want to hear from you. You may be the victim of one of the most common and harmful types of premises liability accidents in Georgia.
Shopping Center Accidents in Atlanta
Shopping centers may seem relatively safe and mundane, but they can be hotbeds for property hazards. Atlanta shopping destinations such as Lenox Square, Phipps Plaza, and Cumberland Mall have all been the settings of damaging accidents, from parking lot collisions to criminal acts. If something upsetting recently happened to you on a trip to a local shopping center, resulting in a personal injury or loss of property, talk to our Atlanta, GA premises liability attorneys. We have the ability to represent victims of all types of shopping center incidents, including those related to:
- Lack of parking lot or store security
- Slip, trip, and falls
- Poor lighting
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Poorly maintained stores and shopping carts
- Unstable shelves
- Merchandise falling from shelves
- Overcrowding/trampling/crush injuries
- Assault and battery
- Theft and mugging
- Poorly trained/negligent employees
- Parking lot accidents
- Dog bites from pets in the store
- Fires and floods
- Carbon monoxide leak
No matter what caused or contributed to your injuries on the property of an Atlanta shopping center, it is worthwhile to speak to our attorneys during a free consultation. Shopping centers owe their guests the highest standards of care. The law obligates them to keep their premises free from unreasonable hazards. Failure to do so, resulting in shopper injury or death, is the legal definition of negligence. Victims of shopping center accidents may be eligible for significant recovery from the store-owner, company, or an insurer.
Property Owner Responsibilities in Georgia
Other common types of Atlanta, GA premises liability claims involve animal attacks, amusement park accidents, fires, floods, and exposure to toxic substances or chemicals. Georgia Code Title 51, Chapter 3 outlines what property owners must do to avoid liability for these premises-related accidents. The Code describes three different types of property visitors and the owner’s responsibilities to each:
- Invitee. An invitee is anyone the owner or occupier of a piece of land permits to enter the property by express or implied invitation. Examples of invitees include shoppers at a mall or swimmers at a neighborhood pool party. Property owners owe invitees high standards of care. They must resolve any existing property hazards, check for hazards they may not know about, and warn visitors about any non-obvious dangers.
- Licensee. A licensee also enters a property with the owner’s permission but does so for his or her own purposes. A licensee is not a customer, but not a trespasser either. A licensee enters a premises for his/her own interests or gratification. Examples include a door-to-door salesperson. Property owners will only be liable for “willful or wanton injury” to licensees according to Georgia law.
- Trespasser. A trespasser is anyone the property owner has not authorized to enter the premises. Landowners do not owe any duties of care to trespassers, except in that they cannot purposely cause injury. The only exception is if the trespasser is a child, in which case the property owner must prevent foreseeable risks of harm.
The first step in determining whether or not you might have an Atlanta premises liability claim is classifying yourself as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. This will decide what duties of care the property owner legally owed you at the time of your accident. From there, speak to an attorney and start compiling the elements of this type of personal injury claim.
Proving an Atlanta, GA Premises Liability Case
The U.S. justice system unfortunately has a history of fraudulent premises liability claims – especially concerning slip and fall injuries. This has led to the establishment of certain elements the plaintiff or injured party must prove to receive compensation for injuries. The experienced Atlanta and Columbus premises liability attorneys at Butler Prather LLP help accident victims negotiate with insurance companies, and go to trial when necessary, to prove the authenticity and extent of damages. We can help you with the five main elements the law requires in these cases:
- The defendant owned, leased, or resides on the property in question. First and foremost, you must prove the defending person has the duties of a property owner. This typically involves paperwork and documentation of ownership or a leasing agreement.
- The property owner was negligent in how he or she used the property. The injured party must provide evidence of the property owner’s negligence or lack of standard care in the use or management of the premises.
- The defendant owed you a duty of care based on your status. You must prove you were an invitee or licensee (or the parent of a trespassing child) at the time the accident occurred. Otherwise, the property owner may not have owed you anything.
- You sustained an injury because of the defendant’s negligence. You must prove the property owner’s act of negligence or carelessness caused or was the main contributing factor for your injuries.
- You suffered real damages. Medical documentation and testimony from an expert witness can help prove the authenticity of accident-related injuries. A good team of attorneys may also demonstrate injuries using 3D models and presentations.
In Georgia, a defendant could potentially allege contributory fault, or the plaintiff’s own percentage of fault for the accident. For example, a property owner could state you contributed to your injuries in a slip and fall by not paying attention to where you were walking. In these cases, the plaintiff can still receive damages as long as the courts find him or her 49% or less responsible. The right team of attorneys can strive to combat the contributory negligence defense by proving the property owner had the majority of fault.
Contact Experienced Slip & Fall Accident Attorneys in Atlanta
At Butler Prather LLP, our Atlanta, GA personal injury attorneys have a wealth of experience representing clients injured in premises liability accidents. We understand the intricate laws regarding these claims and what injured victims need to maximize their odds of recovery. You can have total confidence and peace of mind that your attorney is representing your very best interests when you choose our firm. We have a long history of exceptional case results supporting every claim we make. To discuss your potential premises liability claim in Atlanta with a knowledgeable lawyer, contact us. Call in Atlanta at (404) 321-1700 or toll-free (800) 242-2962 for a free, no-obligation consultation today!