When you are at the grocery store or shopping at the mall, are you aware that if you are injured on the establishment’s property, liability may exist?

Depending on what happened and how you or your family member was injured, the premises owner/operator may be responsible for your injuries and associated damages. However, it is necessary to see what Georgia State law says about premises law.

What does Georgia State law say about premises liability?

Based on O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1, a premises owner that invites another onto the land (or premises) implicitly or expressly, may be liable to the invited party for injuries they sustain if the owner does not take reasonable measures to keep their premises safe from general hazards.

Based on current law, individuals who own a home or business that invites anyone to their building are expected to keep their premises, including all approaches that lead into the building itself. This includes an individual’s house, a shopping mall, a coffee shop, a restaurant, grocery store, etc.

For example, an “invitee” is one class that is legally protected under the law. As the name implies, they are invited, through an advertisement, a sales call or a personal call. If that occurs, they are likely considered an invitee. 

What is the required duty of care that premises owners must keep?

For the premises itself, owners are required to keep it safe from fire hazards, criminal acts and potential hazards that may lead to customers or visitors from slipping or falling and getting hurt. Examples to mitigate the risk and perform due diligence includes having private security and labeling and ensuring fire exits are clear.

Examples of keeping the premises safe include making sure the doorways are clear of obstructions, sidewalks and driveways do not have potholes and similar potential hazards and addressed or at least cordoned off and invitees are warned. 

Shane Smith
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Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia

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