Buford Accident Attorney Shane Smith Explains the Concept of Premises Liability
Every day you are exposed to many risks. When you are at work, when you are at the grocery store, even when you are visiting a friend’s or family member’s apartment or home, you may be a victim of a premises liability claim. While the vast majority of employers, business owners and apartment dwellers and homeowners are diligent and take the necessary steps to minimize the risk you or another person have of becoming injured, there are exceptions. When an owner of a premise fails to provide adequate security or provide a safe environment, a premises liability claim may exist.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability hinges upon the legal theory that property owners are legally responsible to provide most people who use their premises or commonly accepted adjoining portions of their property with a safe environment.
To Whom Does the Property Owner Have a Duty?
Based on Georgia law, premises owners have a duty of care to some, but not all individuals on their property. The first class of individuals owed a duty of care to is an “invitee.” These individuals are “invited” by the premises owner explicitly or implicitly for any purpose allowed by law. The duty of care extends to the premises itself and the approaches to the property. Examples include retail store shoppers or an employee working at a business.
A “licensee” is another protected class of individuals under Georgia’s premises liability law. According to the law, for an individual to be considered a licensee, all of the following is applicable:
- Cannot be a trespasser, servant or customer of the premises owner
- Is not a party to any contract related to the premises owner or the premises itself
- Is allowed on the party, directly or indirectly, for their own self-interest.
Premises owners may be liable to licenses for wanton or willful injuries only. A prime example for this class of people would be a social guest that visits a friend of family member’s home.
Premises owners limited, if any liability, for trespasses. Individuals in this class are owed no duty of care by the premises owner because there is no permission or expectation of the trespasser entering their premises and/or adjoining property.
If you are a member of either protective class and believe you have been injured due to the negligence or recklessness of a premises owner, contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith at (770) 487-8999 to speak with a Buford accident lawyer. During your free legal consultation with a Gwinnett County accident lawyer, you will understand what damages you may be entitled to and if your circumstances merit a personal injury claim.