Fifteen percent (15%) of all accidental deaths are caused by slip and fall accidents, second only to motor vehicle accidents. There are many different kinds of slip, trip and fall incidents. A few examples are trips over poorly aligned sidewalk edges, falls down stairs that are in poor condition, falls due to inadequate lighting or items not built to code, and slips on food and foreign substances in restaurants and supermarkets. Snowy, icy or wet sidewalks, walkways and stairs can be particularly dangerous. Businesses and residences may be liable for hazardous conditions due to a build up of ice or snow if they do not take adequate precautions to clear them.
Owners or occupiers of property have a duty to protect persons lawfully on their property from injuries caused by dangerous conditions that the owner or occupier knew or should have known existed. It is usually not difficult to determine who owns a piece of property. An occupier is someone who has control over the property, such as a renter. In Georgia, the owner or occupier must be negligent in some way before they can be held liable. The duty owed by an owner or occupier of land varies depending upon the types of people who may be on their property. There are three types of people who can be injured in Georgia: invitees, licensees and trespassers.
An invitee is someone who has the direct or implied permission from the owner or occupier to be on the property. An example of an invitee would be a customer in a store. The owner or occupier has the duty to make a reasonable inspection of the premises to ensure the protection of the invitees.
A licensee is someone whose presence on the property is tolerated or permitted and therefore, is not a trespasser, but who does not qualify as an invitee. A social guest is generally a licensee. An owner or occupier is liable to the licensee only for willful or wanton injury. The owner or occupier has a duty to warn the licensee of any known dangerous conditions on the premises and also of any conditions where the owner or occupier knows the licensee is unaware of the condition and unlikely to discover it. The owner or occupier does not have a duty to inspect for defects or repair known defects as he does to the invitee.
A trespasser is someone who does not have the permission of the owner or occupier to be on their property even if they are on the property by mistake. The duty owed to a trespasser is less than that of an invitee or licensee. An exception to this is in certain situations involving children where the owner or occupier has something on his land that is inherently dangerous and man-made. This is sometimes referred to as an "attractive nuisance". If an owner or occupier creates or is aware of an attractive nuisance, the child's status changes from a trespasser to a licensee and a higher duty is owed to that child.
In addition to being able to determine these legal distinctions and duties, preserving evidence by taking photographs, recording statements of witnesses and saving physical evidence are important actions that must usually be taken in slip, trip and fall cases. That is why it is important for victims of slip, trip and fall accidents to hire an attorney who can tackle these issues and protect their interests.
Montlick and Associates, Attorneys has the knowledge and experience you need. We have an experienced qualified staff that is ready to fight for your rights. We tell our clients- we want you to concentrate on the important things: getting healthy and returning to your day-to-day life, while our attorneys take care of the complicated legal issues and deal with the insurance company. Montlick and Associates, Attorneys will work hard to protect your interests and get you the compensation you deserve.