No one wants to see anyone find themselves in an accident on their property that leads to injuries. A large part of being a good host is making sure that the conditions of your home do not pose a threat to your guests, and we should all go out of our way to ensure safety. When someone does get hurt in an accident involving a preventable hazard, property owners may find themselves in danger of a premises liability lawsuit.
Premises liability is the legal concept designed to make sure property owners fix, label, or otherwise get rid of any neglectful or unsafe conditions on their property. This concept is designed to protect visitors on private property from any injuries that could result from these unsafe conditions. Tripping hazards, electrical hazards, or poor construction can all cause accidents ranging from minor to disastrous. According to the doctrine of premises liability, as a property owner you have a duty of care to those who visit your property. This means that you have an obligation to the people who enter your home or property to ensure that they are safe to travel throughout without fearing injury.
Premises liability does have its limitations however. In order for the victim of an accident to prove that a property owner was negligent, they must prove that the property owner was aware of the hazard or should reasonably have been aware of it. Victims must also prove that the property owner did not make any reasonable effort to eliminate the hazard. If the hazard was something that the property owners was in the process of fixing, they may be able to raise a substantial defense. There is also some expectation that the victim themselves were acting responsibly when their injuries were sustained.
The best way to protect yourself from a premises liability lawsuit is to be diligent in fixing hazards as they occur. Allowing for a wet floor or loose floorboard to sit waiting for an accident is only inviting trouble, for both yourself and those who may fall victim to falling. Even in private residences, it never hurts to clearly label a hazard until you are able to properly address it.
If there has been an accident on your property and you fear that you may be in danger of a premises liability lawsuit, contact a skilledpremises liability attorney Dekalb County GA trusts right away. An attorney will be able to look at the factors of the accident and determine the best course of action, while applying the local premises liability laws of the state.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into premises liability.