Visiting someone else’s property—whether for a visit to a friend’s home, a shopping trip at a retail store, or anything anywhere else— should be no more dangerous than staying home by yourself. Unfortunately, not every property owner and manager cares for and maintains their land as they should, which sometimes leads to avoidable accidents with devastating consequences for everyone involved.
If you were recently injured because of dangerous conditions on someone else’s property, you might have grounds for a lawsuit or settlement demand worth talking about with a Gwinnett County premises liability lawyer. These types of cases can be complicated, so the help of a capable personal injury attorney is often vital to achieving a positive result.
Like most other civil claims governed by personal injury law, filing a premises liability claim broadly means proving someone else—in this case, someone who owns or is responsible for daily management of private property—was legally negligent in a way that directly led to a preventable injury. In this context, “negligence” means the reckless or careless violation of a duty to act a certain way.
The exact duty a particular landowner owes to a visitor can vary significantly based on why that visitor is there to begin with. When it comes to “invitees” visiting for a landowner’s direct benefit, like retail store customers, property owners have a duty to use ordinary care to keep their property in safe condition, which includes not only resolving any known hazards quickly and warning visitors about any yet to be resolved, but also regularly inspecting property for hazards not yet discovered.
Conversely, when it comes to “licensees” visiting lawfully for their own purposes and “trespassers” visiting unlawfully, landowners are only liable for injuries they cause through willful or wanton misconduct—in other words, through extreme negligence or intentional malice. A Gwinnett County property liability attorney could examine a particular set of circumstances during an initial meeting and provide more insight as to a particular person’s rights as a property visitor.
In addition to proving a landowner or property manager directly liable for specific injuries and losses, it can also be vital after such accidents to establish that the injured person bears no fault themselves for causing or unnecessarily worsening their condition. Under Official Code of Georgia §51-12-33, a court that finds a plaintiff partly liable for their own injuries—for example, because they wore inappropriate footwear or were not paying attention while walking—could proportionately reduce that plaintiff’s total compensation by their assigned percentage of fault.
Furthermore, under O.C.G.A. §51-11-7, no injured plaintiff found to bear equal or greater fault compared to all defendants combined can recover any compensation for any of their losses from that particular incident. A seasoned lawyer’s support can be very important to overcoming allegations of comparative fault along these lines and maximizing available recovery from a premises liability claim in Gwinnett County.
For numerous reasons, filing suit over an accident that happened on another person’s property can be a lot more complex than suing over other kinds of accidents. Because of that, seeking representation from skilled legal counsel should be a priority for anyone injured because of unreasonably dangerous property conditions.
A knowledgeable Gwinnett County premises liability lawyer could be a vital ally in your legal proceedings from start to finish. Call the Gunn Law Group today to set up your free case evaluation.