Premises Liability Attorney in Atlanta, Georgia
Whether you have been harmed by a dangerous obstruction or slip and fall, our leading Atlanta premises liability law firm attorneys can evaluate your case to identify liable parties and recover compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and other costs arising from your injury.
Stokes & Kopitsky, P.A. is dedicated to serving victims and families who have been injured or affected by the negligent maintenance or operation of property.
We handle the following Premises Liability cases:
- Slip & Fall accidents
Slips and falls can happen anywhere, whether you are at home or at a workplace. Victims may experience mild to severe injuries, ranging from minor bruises and sprains to serious fractures and traumatic brain injury. US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2002) reports that 22% of slip and fall accidents resulted in workers missing over 31 days from work. Fatalities can also occur. According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), half of all accidental deaths at home are caused by falls, with the elderly at the highest risk. The Department of Labor reports that slips and falls account for 15% of all accidental deaths at work, and they are more common in construction and industrial settings.
- Dog Bites
A 2003 report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 1 out of 6 dog bites requires medical attention, and 1 out of 14 requires immediate emergency care. Common injuries are open wounds on the head or body that are often infected, as well as fractures. The costs associated with treatment for dog bites are rising; the average cost is close to $40,000! If you have been injured by a dog, these medical costs can become a burden that you don’t deserve. You may even be unable to work for a period of time because of the experience, leading to bigger financial woes that affect you and your family. The owner may be held liable for your injuries, as provided by the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §51-2-7.
- Dangers on Property
As soon as you step onto someone else’s property as an invited visitor, the property owner is responsible for your care in most circumstances. Public and private property owners must maintain a safe environment that is free from hazards, or post visible warning signs should hazards exist. This extends to the workplace as well. Building code violations, OSHA violations, inadequate signage, poor lighting, and other hazards can lead to injuries that require medical attention, or even death. If you have been injured on private or public property because of an unsafe condition, you may be able to get compensation for your injuries. If you have lost a loved one due to dangers on property, you may also be compensated for your loss.
- Swimming Pool Accidents
A huge number of sports-related injuries and fatalities occur in swimming pools across the country. Common causes include dangerous conditions in the pool, defective parts, poor supervision, and absence of lifesaving devices, such as life jackets. Drowning is a leading cause of accidental fatalities in young children, with those aged 1 to 3 years old the highest at risk. One of the most dangerous parts of a swimming pool is the circulation system vents. Suction can trap weaker or younger swimmers, leading to serious injury or death. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that there have been hundreds of injuries and fatalities caused by circulation entrapment reported over the past 20 years. These occurred in both private and public pools and hot tubs.
- Negligent Security
The number of violent crimes, defined as robberies, aggravated assaults, murder, and rape, are rising. In 2014, there were 36,873 violent crimes reported according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Many of these took place in a public place, where inadequate security measures were taken to protect victims and prevent such incidents from occurring. For this reason, it is the responsibility of building owners to maintain a safe environment for visitors, and this doesn’t just include alarm systems and security personnel; it also includes proper locks to secure access points and sufficient lighting. If you are the victim of an assault that could have been prevented with adequate security, call us for your free case evaluation to determine if you can get compensation for your injuries.
- Sports Accidents
Regardless of your age, playing sports is an essential part of a healthy and active lifestyle. Unfortunately, there are millions of injuries that occur each year as a result of playing, and watching sports. It is not uncommon for deaths to occur as well. Injuries may be debilitating and require extensive medical treatment, sometimes costing victims hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetime. This can be a massive financial burden. Compensation may be obtained to help ease this burden in the event injuries were caused by defective equipment or negligence arising from dangerous playing conditions and improper supervision. You may even be able to get compensation if you signed a liability waiver or were not participating in the sports event and were just a spectator.
What is premises liability?
remises liability refers to the owner or occupier’s legal responsibility to persons injured on the property. This is a burgeoning area of law because it implicates not only business entities and commercial owners, but residential property as well. Apartments, houses, and condominium complexes are common sites of slips, trips, and falls.
However, lawsuits against businesses outnumber those against private parties. Wal-Mart, for example, is the largest retailer in the world. More than 100 million customers walk through its 3,000 stores each week. Of these customers, approximately 1,000 are injured each day, slipping on the floor or being hit by falling merchandise. Although most of these incidents go unreported, the retailer sees an average of 3,550 suits each year. Indeed, the number of premises liability suits has increased, along with the frequency of prevailing plaintiffs and median compensatory awards.
What factors are considered in premises liability?
In determining premises liability for an owner, courts consider the following factors:
- Creation or allowance of a dangerous or defective condition to exist on the premises
- Failure to properly maintain or manage the premises to avoid exposing people to an unreasonable risk of harm
- Creation of natural or artificial conditions on the premises that result in injury
- Failure to adequately inspect the property for potential dangers
- Failure to warn people of dangers the owner knew or should have known were present
- Whether the party injured was an invitee, guest, or trespasser
Under Georgia law, owners have duty to exercise ordinary care to prevent “recklessly or wantonly” injuring a licensee. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §51-3-2 provides:
Owners and occupiers of land are liable in damages to persons they expressly or impliedly invite or induce to come upon their premises for any lawful purpose if those persons’ injuries were caused by the owner or occupier’s failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.
According to this law, owners and occupiers have a “non-delegable” duty to people who cross their property. They are generally liable for dangerous conditions such as slippery floors, walkway obstructions, gaping holes, unmarked dangers, and negligently maintained parking lots, stairways and driveways. Accordingly, owners cannot shirk responsibility by blaming the maintenance crew, landscaping company, or management service they hired to work on their property. They are free to file a cross-complaint against third parties, but they still remain liable in the suit. Further, because the law requires owners to keep the “approaches” safe, they are still liable if a customer trips over a door sill, patch of ice, or stray piece of lettuce upon entering the premises. The same holds true for assaults committed in parking garages, stairwells, and common areas of the property.
How to know if you have a valid claim
The best thing to do is to consult us for a free case evaluation. You should know that there are a few things to consider when determining the validity of a claim:
- What type of injury do you have? What are your expected medical costs?
- What were the hazardous conditions that caused you to have an accident?
- Can you prove that the hazardous conditions were caused by the property owner’s or occupier’s negligence?
- Are there any witnesses?
We’ll ask you these questions, and many more. Based on the information you provide, we’ll then be able to better determine what kind of case you have, the most effective method of legal action that should be undertaken and what you may be able to get as compensation.
Talk to an experienced attorney about your case for free
If you or someone you know was injured due to a dangerous condition on property, our experienced attorneys can help. For over thirty years, Stokes & Kopitsky, P.A. has assisted victims in premises liability claims in and outside of Georgia. Call for a free consultation with one of our caring Atlanta premises liability lawyers or Contact Us online.