- December 15, 2022
- Attorney David Mann
- Premises Liability
An Attorney Can Help Win Compensation
Property owners and managers are responsible for keeping their premises safe and in the condition that does not pose a risk of injury, illness, or death to others. If a property is not correctly maintained, or if it doesn’t have a sign that clearly warns about existing dangers, and you or a loved one was injured due to dangerous conditions on someone else’s property, you may be able to get compensation for your losses through a premises liability lawsuit.
Premises liability claims are a type of personal injury case for situations where someone sustained an injury on another person’s property due to the property owner’s negligence. You technically do not need an attorney to bring a premises liability lawsuit, but winning compensation on your own is difficult.
Premises liability lawsuits and Georgia laws involve confusing legal rules and exceptions. Many property owners and their insurance companies have high-powered lawyers who will attempt to deny your claim, get you to settle for the lowest amount possible, or trick you into making statements that make it seem that the accident was your fault.
When you suffer a severe injury, not only do you have to deal with the physical and emotional pain and trauma, but with financial losses from medical, hospital, and rehabilitative bills, and the loss of income from being unable to work.
Making mistakes can be costly, so, at this difficult time, when you are trying to recover from your injuries, it helps to have an experienced premises liability lawyer on your side who understands Georgia laws, the system, and the tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying. Your attorney can take the burden off you by handling all legal requirements, investigations and negotiations necessary to fight for a fair settlement.
While no amount of money can fully compensate for the suffering you are going through, a successful personal injury lawsuit against the negligent parties can alleviate your financial problems and allow you to concentrate on getting well. Your attorney can help you prepare a case that will give you the best possible chance of getting justice and receiving the financial compensation you justly deserve.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me With My Premises Liability Case?
Even on private property, owners are required by law in Georgia to ensure that the premises are safe. This includes inspecting for dangerous conditions, warning others of them, and fixing conditions they knew or should have known about. If the dangerous condition causes harm to a visitor to the property, the property owner may be liable even if unaware of the condition itself.
The level of care a property owner must exercise toward you depends on what type of visitor you are. Visitors to properties are classified as licensees, invitees, or trespassers.
Licensees have consent to enter the property for their own benefit; invitees enter with the owner’s knowledge and permission, and for the mutual benefit of both parties; and trespassers enter the property without lawful authority or permission.
If you are an invited guest, the owner has a duty to inspect the premises for any dangerous conditions and warn you of them so that you can avoid them. If the land is open to the public, the landowner must also take reasonable steps to fix or warn of dangerous conditions. Trespassers are less likely to be afforded legal protection, but exceptions are made for children, who do not have the maturity to avoid dangerous situations and are often attracted to them.
To win your premises liability case, you must be able to prove that the property owner was negligent in maintaining the premises or warning of a dangerous condition, and that negligence was a direct or proximate cause of his or her injuries.
Proving negligence legally means showing the existence of the following elements:
- Duty: The defendant had a duty not to cause harm by keeping safe premises.
- Breach: The defendant breached this duty by actions or failure to act.
- Cause: This breach caused the accident that caused your injuries.
- Damages: You suffered actual damages as a result.
When you hire a lawyer to help with your premises liability case, your lawyer will get to work for you immediately to prove these elements and seek fair compensation on your behalf. Your attorney will:
- Meet with you to hear about how the accident happened, determine if you have a valid case and which parties were negligent and responsible for your damages, and what kind of settlement to ask for
- Demand payment from insurance companies and negligent parties
- Ensure you get proper medical treatment and that all injuries, symptoms, and treatments are documented
- Investigate your case and gather evidence such as from photos and videos, medical records and police reports, and interviews with witnesses and first responders
- Get testimony from experts as to the harm you received, the costs involved, how your injuries negatively impacted your life and family, and the costs and treatments you will need in the future
- File all necessary paperwork and correspond with insurance companies, negligent parties, and their attorneys. Your lawyer must file a lawsuit within the time limits allowed by law. According to Georgia statutes (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33), you generally have two years from the accident that injured you to file a lawsuit or the courts can refuse to hear your case.
- Handle negotiations for a fair settlement with insurance companies and other attorneys to avoid going to court. Remember, insurance companies are out for profit and will attempt to get you to settle for as little as possible or to admit fault, so let your lawyer handle all communications with insurance companies.
- Build your case and handle all aspects of a trial if necessary.
Your Lawyer Must Identify Negligent Parties
Sometimes there are multiple parties at fault for premises liability, such as when there are several owners of a property or when a management company responsible for repairs neglected to make them.
Other people or entities who may be held responsible include: tenants, work crews, landlords, security guards and companies, and people whose intentional criminal actions caused injuries. Your lawyer knows how to look for all parties who were negligent and contributed to your accident and hold them all liable in your lawsuit, as they all may have insurance and assets that can go toward a settlement.
Damage Awards You May Recover
In a successful case, your premises liability lawyers can win an award called damages for your losses. In Georgia, these fit into two categories: general and special damages.
Special damages are for your economic or monetary damages that have a specific dollar value, such as:
- Medical and rehabilitation bills
- Property damage
- Lost income from work.
General damages are those that do not have a specific dollar value, such as pain and suffering and mental anguish, and loss of consortium and enjoyment of life. According to Georgia Code section 9-10-184, the value of these noneconomic damages can be argued by your attorney, and may often be greater than the monetary damages you receive.
There is a wide range of damage awards possible in a successful premises liability case, from the thousands to millions of dollars. The amount you may receive in your individual case depends on the factors involved, such as:
- the severity and permanence of your injuries
- whether you will need continuing care
- whether a wrongful death was involved
- the bills and actual costs you incur
- your age, family situation, and earning capacity
- the amount of lost income from being unable to work
- the degree of negligence involved
- the availability of insurance and assets of the defendants
- the skill of your attorney to negotiate a settlement or litigate your case.
How to Choose a Lawyer for Your Premises Liability Lawsuit
There are many lawyers out there, and it is important for you to find one you feel comfortable with and have confidence in, and who has the experience and resources necessary to investigate, negotiate, and litigate a complicated premises liability case. Here are some things you should look for and do when choosing a lawyer:
- Ask your family and friends who they recommend and about their good and bad legal experiences.
- Understand legal fees upfront. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, so there are no fees upfront, but they receive about one-third of the settlement or judgment.
- Research attorneys online to make sure they are licensed and in good standing. Check the attorney’s bar status and see whether they ever had any disciplinary action against them.
- Find out how well the attorney has been trained, how long they have been practicing, whether they have had successful past results with your type of case, and whether the attorney you talk to is going to handle the case. Read through the attorney’s website to get a better sense of who they are, their reviews and results, and whether they have received any awards.
- Trust your instincts. At your initial consultation, trust the feeling you will get as to the attorney’s sincerity and competence, and whether they are right for you.
Having a strong attorney in your corner from the start will give you the optimal chance to recover as much money as possible.
Get Help from Our Premises Liability Lawyers
Premises liability cases are often difficult to prove, as the property owner must be found negligent to be held accountable. Having a highly skilled attorney fighting on your behalf can help you obtain just compensation for your injuries and related losses.
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a premises liability accident, an experienced Macon, GA, lawyer from the Mann Law Firm can help you get the compensation you deserve for your losses. At the Mann Law Firm, Attorney David Mann is involved in every case.
Before joining his family law firm, David worked as an in-house counsel for a large insurance company, so he knows how they operate and how to deal with them. He now works to bring justice on behalf of injured residents of the Macon area.
At the Mann Law Firm, you will work with real people who know you are more than just a case number. You will have a legal team that understands your situation and will do whatever is necessary to get you the compensation you deserve.
Call us today to get started at 478-742-3381 with your free and initial confidential consultation while evidence is fresh and witnesses can be found.