When you walk into a public building in the Atlanta area, whether it is a store, movie theater, or restaurant, the last thing on your mind is watching out for tripping hazards. You are focused on what you are there for—groceries, meeting friends, ordering coffee to go—whatever it may be.
You have an expectation, conscious or not, that you will be safe as you cross the floor, climb the stairs, or walk down the sidewalk. Although you should walk with care and avoid obvious hazards, there are some dangers you may not see that could trip you up along the way. When this happens, the property owner may be liable for compensating you for any injuries you suffer, but only under certain legal circumstances. The premises liability attorneys at the Law Offices of Shane Smith can tell you whether you have a case and how to proceed if you do.
Hazards That May Await You in Public Buildings
In your own home, you may know that the front hall rug slides if you step on it just so or that kitchen floor is slippery when it has just been mopped, but you can’t know when a public space has these kinds of slip and trip hazards. Not only are you not looking down at the floor as you shop or wait for your latte, but you are not expecting the store or café to be a dangerous place.
Some hidden dangers that could cause you to fall and hurt yourself include:
- Slippery surfaces
- Wet floors
- Spilled liquid
- Broken stairs
- Loose floorboards
- Uneven ground or cracked sidewalks
- Torn carpeting
- Inadequate lighting
- Fallen objects
When one of the above hazards presents itself to us unknowingly, it may cause us to slip and fall and suffer injuries. Slip and fall accidents can occur both on private and public properties including private homes, apartment complexes, office buildings, supermarkets, restaurants, stores, and just about everywhere we walk. Slip and fall accidents fall under an area of the law called premises liability.
What Is Premises Liability?
While some falls are purely accidental, others are caused by someone’s failure to secure the property, repair a hazard, or adequately warn others about the dangerous condition. When a property owner or possessor of the property knows about a hazardous condition—or should have known about the danger—and fails to act appropriately to make sure no one gets injured, the owner could be liable for the injuries or fatalities that result.
In fact, Georgia law requires property owners to keep their buildings and surrounding land safe. This means that property owners have a duty to maintain their property so that those who visit, live, or work there can be on the property without being at risk of harm. Essentially, if unsafe conditions exist that lead to an individual slipping and falling, the owner may be held financially responsible for injuries that occur on the premises. Other types of premises liability claims include the following:
- Objects falling from shelves
- Swimming pool accidents and drownings
- Dog bites
- Fire or toxic fume exposure
- Negligent security leading to an assault and other violent encounters
- Structural collapses
- Defective elevator or escalator accidents
Your first steps after one of these types of accidents should be to seek medical care immediately, report the accident, get witness contact information, and take pictures of the accident scene if you are physically able to do so. Establishing fault can be complicated in slip and fall cases, which is why a Georgia premises liability lawyer should be contacted as soon as possible.
Dedicated Representation From an Atlanta Premises Liability Lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured in a slip and fall accident in the Metro Atlanta area—including Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett, Douglas, Fayette, Coweta, and DeKalb counties—the Law Offices of Shane Smith can help you file a claim so you can recover adequate compensation for your injuries. It is important to your case that you do not wait too long to contact a lawyer, as evidence needs to be preserved.
The Law Offices of Shane Smith handle all types of premises liability cases, including slip and fall accidents, dog bites, animal attacks, swimming pool accidents and drownings, toxic fume cases, and more. To find out if you have a case or to learn more about your rights, talk to an experienced and dedicated Atlanta premises liability attorney at the Law Offices of Shane Smith. Call us at 770-HURT-999 today to schedule a complimentary, confidential consultation.