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Slip and Fall Attorney in Douglasville

Premises Liability

Were you hurt in an accident on someone else’s property? If so, the Douglasville slip and fall lawyers of Sherrod & Bernard, P.C. are here to help. When someone else’s carelessness causes you harm, you don’t have to suffer alone, nor should you have to pay out of pocket for the expenses you incur. Turn to a legal team that understands premises liability laws in Georgia and has a proven track record of getting results.

Each year, slips, trips, falls, and other fall accidents send hundreds of people to the hospital in Georgia. It is the duty of property owners, business owners, managers, and other responsible parties to be diligent in the maintenance of the property. If they did not make sure that the property was safe for you to visit, they could be held responsible for any injuries that you suffer as a result.

If you’ve been hurt on private property, in a restaurant, hotel, place of employment, rental unit, shopping mall or store, government facility, or other type of property owned by someone else, you could be owed significant compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.

The personal injury attorneys at Sherrod & Bernard, P.C. have more than 75 years of combined experience helping people just like you in Douglasville and surrounding areas of Georgia. We fight for those who suffered serious injuries in preventable accidents on someone else’s property – and we get results.

Contact us by phone or online or visit our Douglasville office today. Our consultations are always free, and you won’t pay us anything unless we win your case.

What Is Premises Liability?

By definition, premises liability is the area of law that binds an owner of land, a building, a business, or a structure to a “duty of care” when inviting others to enjoy amenities, dwell, shop, or spend time at their home.

Premises liability comes down to an element of responsibility. The property owner could be held liable if a person is injured in any of the following ways (and possibly others):

  • Slip and falls. These injuries result when someone slips, trips, and falls. Hazards can be uneven or poorly constructed stairs, wet floors without accompanying signage, or any area where improper maintenance leads to the invitee’s accidental fall.
  • Dog bites. Animal owners are responsible for their pets. If an innocent person is walking down the sidewalk and is attacked by an unrestrained dog or an individual is bitten by their friend’s dog during a visit to the friend’s home, a premises liability case is born.
  • Swimmer suffering from a knee injury after a slip and fall accidentSwimming pool accidents. Hotels and other establishments with public pools must staff lifeguards, provide adequate restraints for those who aren’t permitted in the pool after hours, and maintain the pool areas so people don’t slip and injure themselves.
  • Toxic fume and chemical exposure. This can happen in numerous ways, more commonly when employers and business owners mishandle chemicals or are negligent in storing dangerous substances.
  • Inadequate security. You’ll find this potential premises liability more prevalent in large nightclubs and secure access buildings, as well as hotels and apartment complexes.

Note that this area of law only applies to invitees with permission to enter onto the land or property of another. People who are hurt while trespassing on private property will not usually be eligible to file an injury claim against the owner. This generally applies to all trespassers except children. Children are protected by the “attractive nuisance” doctrine, which states that property owners who have swimming pools, swing sets, and other things that could be appealing to children still have a duty to keep these areas secured and safe, and could be liable if a child (even a trespassing child) is hurt.

Common Hazards That Can Cause Harm

Some common hazards that can cause severe injuries to visitors include:

  • Wet floors that are not marked with warning signage
  • Improperly maintained stairways
  • Structural problems with porches
  • Elevators and escalators that are not well maintained
  • Failure to remove ice and snow
  • Parking lots that do not have adequate lighting
  • Construction areas that are not protected

These hazards can cause severe injuries, and in some cases, could prove to be fatal. Property owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care and either repair these issues or warn people of the dangers they may face when visiting.

What Do You Have to Prove in a Premises Liability Case?

According to Georgia law, the burden of proof is on the victim, not the property owner. For a premises liability claim to pass a legal standard of proof, it must be proven that:

  • The defendant owned the property in question.
  • The victim was an invitee or an individual visiting or staying on the property where the need to obtain permission was moot.
  • A duty to care for the invitee or guest was established.
  • A breach of duty occurred and caused the injury suffered by the victim.
  • That injury incurred losses which the land or property owner should be responsible for paying.

What Compensation is Available for Injuries on Someone Else’s Property?

Businesses will usually carry liability insurance or, at a minimum, property insurance. Homeowners paying mortgages will have insurance escrowed into their payment, and the personal liability portion of their policy should provide financial protection for injuries and property damage for visitors.

If you are hurt on someone else’s property, you could be able to recover compensation for:

  • Man with fractured hand filling out claim form.Medical expenses – This includes reimbursement for emergency room trips, doctor’s visits, medical procedures and treatments, and travel expenses for care. It can also cover modifications to your home and medical devices or assistive tools. Not only could you be reimbursed for current care, but you could also be eligible to collect money for future medical expenses you’ll incur due to the injury.
  • Lost wages – You could be owed workers compensation for wages you were unable to earn due while you were out of work recovering. This includes benefits, bonuses, commissions, and other earnings you missed out on. If you are forced to change careers or become disabled as a result of the accident, you could be owed compensation for your diminished earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering – You could be owed compensation for the pain, anguish, and emotional trauma that you’ve been forced to endure. Because it is harder to calculate these damages, your injury attorney will work to establish a reasonable amount for this portion of your demand, based on their experience with these types of claims.

If someone dies as a result of an accident on another person’s property, the surviving family members could be eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim on their behalf. They could be eligible to secure compensation for funeral and burial expenses, final medical bills, loss of financial support, and loss of companionship.

How Long Do You Have to File a Premises Liability Claim in Georgia?

Premises liability claims must be filed within two years from the date of the underlying incident.

At Sherrod & Bernard, P.C., we suggest filing your claim as soon as possible to avoid missing this deadline.

What Should You Do If You’ve Been Hurt on Someone’s Property?

If you’ve been injured on another’s property, try to remain calm, and follow these steps:

  1. Remain where you are. Do not move, especially if you’ve sustained injuries that aren’t immediately apparent or could have delayed effects.
  2. Report the incident to a manager or the property owner immediately.
  3. Identify witnesses who saw the accident and get their names and phone numbers. If nobody is around, and you have access to your phone’s camera, take as many pictures of your injury and the area in which it occurred, including the hazard, lack of signage, staff, etc.
  4. Seek medical treatment and allow the doctor to visually inspect your injuries, take X-rays, diagnose you, and develop a treatment plan.
  5. Keep copies of all your expenses, including the ambulance ride.
  6. Once you feel well enough to phone Sherrod & Bernard, P.C., do so and schedule your free consultation to discuss your accident with an experienced injury lawyer.

There are basic rules to follow when you’re hurt on another person’s property. Failing to follow these rules can weaken your claim:

  • Never accept payment from property owners in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Often, an immediate cash payment offered by a nervous property owner or manager will be exponentially less than what you need to pay your bills and rebuild your life after an accident.
  • Do not leave the scene unless it is hazardous and safety is a concern.
  • Be polite, but do not apologize or accept blame for what happened. Many people are embarrassed after an accident (like a slip and fall) and make the mistake of admitting that the accident might have been their fault due to clumsiness. Any statements you make at the scene could diminish your claim.
  • Do not wash your clothing or clean your shoes. After an accident on someone else’s property, the clothes and shoes you were wearing often become valuable pieces of evidence. Washing or cleaning them could remove vital pieces of evidence that could be used to bolster your injury claim.

Contact Our Premises Liability Lawyers, Today

Have you been injured on another’s property by no fault of your own? You are not alone, and legal help is available to you. The premises liability attorneys of Sherrod & Bernard, P.C. are ready to put our 75 years of combined experience to work for you. Our firm is committed to protecting our friends and neighbors in our Douglasville, GA community, and we’ll work tirelessly to help make things right.

When you contact us, you’ll have the experience and resources of a big city firm, with the care and compassion of a small firm. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team, and we’ll sit down and discuss your accident and your legal options. What’s more, we won’t charge you a single penny until we win your case.

Call us or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation today. If you’ve been hurt, we’re here to help.

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