Under Georgia law, the owner and occupier of a property have a duty to maintain the property in a safe condition for people legally on the premises. The duty can be affected by the three different categories/statuses of the person injured. Those categories/statuses are defined as follows:
- Invitee: Where an owner or occupier of land, by express or implied invitation, induces or leads others to come upon his premises for any lawful purpose, he is liable in damages to such persons for injuries caused by his failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.The invitation may be express, implied from known and customary use of portions of the premises, or inferred from conduct actually known to the owner or his authorized agent.
- Licensee: Licensee is a person who: (1) Is neither a customer, a servant, nor a trespasser; (2) Does not stand in any contractual relation with the owner of the premises; and (3) Is permitted, expressly or impliedly, to go on the premises merely for his own interests, convenience, or gratification. The owner of the premises is liable to a licensee only for willful or wanton injury.
- Trespasser: Trespasser is a person who enters the premises of another without express or implied permission of the owner, for the trespasser’s own benefit or amusement. The duty of the owner to a trespasser is not to prepare pitfalls or mantraps for the trespasser or to injure him willfully or wantonly, provided that there is no duty to anticipate his presence or to keep the premises in a safe condition. Once the owner is aware of the trespasser’s presence, or should reasonably anticipate his presence from the circumstances, then the owner has a duty to exercise ordinary care to avoid injuring the trespasser by any active negligence.
Only after the status of the injured individual and the duty owed to that individual by the owner and/or occupier of the property are established can liability be determined. Since the existence of liability is very fact-intensive and is typically fought fervently by the property owners and occupiers, and their insurance companies, it is important to contact an attorney right away to preserve video evidence, get witness statements, and start preparing your case.
The attorneys at Princenthal, May & Wilson, LLC will aggressively fight to protect your rights and maximize your recovery. Put the law firm of Princenthal, May & Wilson, LLC on your side and let us fight for you. We’re here to help you recover and win your case. Call us today at (678) 534-3749 or use our online contact form for a free case evaluation.