Whether you are out shopping, visiting a friend’s home, or just renting an apartment to live in, you have the right to expect a certain degree of care from the owner of the property you are on. If a property owner fails to fulfill this responsibility and allows a lawful visitor to come to harm, they could bear civil liability for every form of harm that visitor experiences as a result of that accident.
However, pursuing civil compensation following such an incident without a skilled personal injury attorney by your side will make your goal of fair financial recovery harder to achieve. Retaining a Zebulon premises liability lawyer could improve your chances of proving liability for your damages and show that you were not to blame for causing your own losses.
Different Duties of Care for Different Visitors
Property owners in Zebulon and elsewhere in Georgia hold varying degrees of responsibility for the safety of lawful visitors depending on a visitor’s exact reason for being on their land. As long as they do nothing to intentionally cause harm to the person, property owners owe no duty of care whatsoever to unlawful trespassers, as a Zebulon property accident lawyer could explain in more detail.
According to Official Code of Georgia §51-3-1, property owners are expected to exercise “ordinary care” in order to protect invitees from harm. Invitees are visitors who are expressly or implicitly invited by landowners onto private property, such as retail store customers. This means that property owners must regularly inspect their property for hazardous conditions that could harm invitees. Upon discovering such a condition, they must either warn invitees of the hazard, remedy the hazard, or take steps to cordon off the hazard so that invitees know to avoid it.
Under O.C.G.A. §51-3-2, property owners owe licensees the same duty of care they owe to trespassers. These are visitors with no contractual relationship with the property owner who go onto private land for their own purposes or benefit. In other words, property owners are only liable for injuries to licensees stemming from the owner’s “willful or wanton” attempt to cause such injury.
How Comparative Fault Could Inhibit Recovery
Even if an invitee has legal standing to file suit against a property owner for the owner’s failure to take care of their property, they could still lose out on compensation if they are found partially responsible for the incident that harmed them. For instance, a customer who slips over a spill in a grocery aisle might be considered partly liable for their injuries if they were wearing inappropriate footwear, looking at their phone, or were running through the store rather than walking.
As per O.C.G.A. §51-11-7, any civil plaintiff who is found primarily at fault for their own injuries is ineligible to seek any compensation whatsoever for those injuries. Furthermore, the law allows a civil court to proportionately reduce the final damage award of a plaintiff who is found to be between one and 50 percent responsible for their own injuries. Representation from a local premises liability attorney could be essential to effectively contesting the allegations of comparative negligence.
Begin Your Legal Case with a Zebulon Premises Liability Attorney
Property owners who fail to maintain safe premises for lawful visitors may be financially responsible for damages that those lawful visitors suffer as a direct consequence of those hazardous conditions. However, even if you have valid grounds for a civil claim, your odds of getting a satisfactory case result without professional legal help are slim.
Once hired, a Zebulon premises liability lawyer could work to firmly establish fault for your injuries and relentlessly pursue the compensation to which you should be entitled. Schedule your initial consultation by calling today.