Georgia Premises Liability Frequently Asked Questions


September 29, 2010

Many people are seriously injured on public and private property because the property owner or manager fails to make the premises safe. The area of law that covers injuries from dangerous conditions on another person's property is called "premises liability." One's ability to recover for such injuries often depends on the visitor's reason for being on the property, as well as how the property owner is classified.

Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, has been representing those injured by dangerous conditions on the premises of others for over 25 years. If you or someone you love has been injured by the negligence of a property owner or property manager, contact Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, for your free initial consultation. We have provided answers below to common questions regarding premises liability cases.

If I am the victim of a crime on business premises, such as a shopping center parking lot or hotel, is the business liable if I am the victim of a crime?

The key issue in such cases is whether the crime was foreseeable. If the business is in a high crime area or has had past incidents of customers being attacked, the business may be liable for not providing adequate warnings or taking appropriate security precautions. Determining if a business is liable in a situation like this is a fact intensive inquiry.  A premises liability attorney will look closely at such factors as the following:

• Crime rate in the area

• Past crimes committed on the property

• The business owner's awareness of past criminal conduct in the area

• Security precautions in place including good locks on windows and doors, adequate lighting, presence of security patrols and so forth.

May I recover for my injuries if I am injured at a friend or neighbor's house?

As a social guest, you may recover for injuries suffered as a result of dangerous conditions on the premises that might not be obvious to a visitor. Such defects are sometimes referred to as latent defects because they may be hard to recognize if you do not already know they are present. If the property owner knows that there is a spot in the driveway where the cement is slightly uneven and that others have tripped there before, the property owner may be liable if the owner does not fix the problem or warn visitors.

If I am injured in the parking lot of city hall, can I sue the city for my injuries?

Some states grant local governmental agencies and institutions immunity from such lawsuits. Even if the state has not done so, there are usually special procedures and shortened time limits to pursue such a claim. If you are injured on public property, you should seek immediate legal advice from a qualified Georgia premises liability law firm.

I was injured on someone else's property, but they have agreed to pay my medical bills. Why do I need a lawyer?

While it is commendable for a property owner to step up and pay you for your medical bills, it is ill advised to simply settle such a case without getting legal advice. You may be entitled to substantially more compensation then is being offered. You may also have more serious injuries than you first realize, which cannot reasonably be covered out of pocket by the property owner. The property owner has insurance for such situations, but your delay in seeking legal advice may mean that it becomes more difficult to pursue a legal claim because evidence has disappeared, witnesses memories have faded, and/or time limits to initiate legal action have expired.

The property owner's insurance company adjuster is calling about my injuries. Should I speak with him?

You should never speak with an insurance adjuster without first seeking legal advice from a qualified Georgia premises liability lawyer. The adjuster's job is to either deny your claim or minimize the amount you are paid. Anything you disclose to the adjuster may later be used against you. No matter how amicable the adjuster may seem, he or she does not have your best interests in mind.

What should I do if I am injured on someone else's property?

You should seek immediate medical treatment for your injures and disclose all symptoms to the doctor. You should also take pictures of the accident scene and of your injuries. The property owner may fix the defect, so if you do not take pictures there may be no way to establish what was wrong with the premises aside from your testimony which the property owner may dispute. You should also gather contact information for any witnesses to your injuries. The sooner you consult with a Georgia Premises Liability Attorney, the better.

Can I recover for injuries suffered while withdrawing money from an automated teller machine (ATM)?

A number of these cases have been successful in recent years. If past crime in the area makes the possibility of such a crime foreseeable, the bank may be responsible- especially if there is poor lighting, no security guard, etc.

What damages are recoverable in a premises liability lawsuit?

Injuries suffered in a premises liability lawsuit can be very serious, such as those resulting in catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain trauma, spinal chord damage, paralysis, broken bones, internal organ damage and even death. If you are injured because of dangerous conditions on another person's property you may be entitled to receive compensation for the following:

• Past and future medical expenses

• Rehabilitative therapy

• Pain and suffering

• Lost wages and lost earning capacity

• Mental anguish

• Loss of Consortium (loss of services/companionship to immediate family)

• Punitive damages (if the property owner's conduct is particularly egregious)

At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, our Georgia premises liability attorneys, have been representing people who are injured by dangerous conditions on other's property for over 25 years. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia including, but not limited to, Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smallercities and rural towns in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com.  No matter where you are in Georgia or the Southeast, we are just a phone call away.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.