Premises liability claims arise when a person who in injured on the property of another decides to sue the property owner or occupant in an attempt to secure compensation for their injuries. The level of care an owner or occupant must take depends on the legal category that the plaintiff falls into. The three categories recognized under Georgia law are:
- An Invitee: a person who is an invitee is someone who has been expressly or impliedly invited to come onto an owner’s property. Under these circumstances, the owner must exercise ordinary care in keeping the property safe. Common examples of invitees are customers at stores or people attending a meeting or convention.
- A licensee is someone who has come onto a property for their own interests or gratification. Also sometimes called a “social guest,” a licensee could be a salesperson, an emergency responder, or a mailman. The owner of the property must not wantonly or recklessly expose the licensee to hidden dangerous on the property, but only until he or she realizes that the licensee is on the property. Once the fact that the licensee is on the property is known to the owner, then the normal standard of ordinary care exists.
- A trespasser is someone who enters another property without permission, either intentionally or unintentionally. A property owner owes a trespasser the lowest duty of care, which is to not wantonly or willfully injure him or her.
A specific legal doctrine applies to children trespassers known as “attractive nuisance,” which operates to impose liability on property owners who own land that has features particularly attractive to children. The rationale behind the rule is that the owner should recognize that the dangerous condition is particularly attractive to children, and take appropriate measures to protect them. In Georgia, the doctrine does not apply to naturally occurring condition, but only to man-made hazards. In addition, the doctrine does not apply to invited guests, as they are not trespassers on the property.
If you or a loved one has been injured while on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. In order to determine whether you have a claim, you should consult with an experienced Coweta County personal injury attorney. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith today at (770) 487-8999.