Today I want to talk you about what we lawyers call premises liability. In Georgia, as in most states, the owners and occupiers of premises or land owe a duty to invitees to exercise reasonable care to make the premises safe for those who come about their premises. What all that legalese means is that if I own a piece of property or I rent a piece of property and I invite you either deliberately or by implication to come upon that property you're into that building I have a duty, on under the law, to make sure that that place is safe for you to come into.
Now what that means is that if I own a store or I'm renting a piece a real estate or property or a building and I have a store their or I run a business there like a restaurant or commercial establishment or office building, I owe a duty to those people that come in to do business with me to keep the premises safe. Now what that means is if you come onto my premises or person comes on the premises a property owner is injured that individual may have a legal claim for compensation for the injuries that they've received on the premises. The issue is however as a person is injured has to prove in a court of law or in litigation that the owner of the occupied land knew or should've known that there was a dangerous condition in the premises, period. This can be in the form of water on the floor, a vestibule or remnants of a vestibule in a grocery store, a hole in a carpet, a hole in the floor, it can be a hole in a parking lot. These are conditions that can cause injury.
In order for you to be able to recover, for a plaintiff to recover for that situation they've got to be able to prove that the owner knew or should've known, through the exercise of reasonable care, about this defect. Now if you can prove that issue, then the burden will shift to the property owner and he is able to try to defend the case by saying "well maybe so, maybe there was a defect but you knew or should have known" and the law says that if an individual who comes upon the premises of an owned or occupied property had equal knowledge or had as much knowledge of the defect or dangerous condition as the owner of the property, then they cannot recover if they are injured by that condition. Now what that actually means is that the person, if they come into the property and they knew or should have known or should have seen what we call an open and obvious condition and they're injured by it anyway, then they might not be able to recover for their claim. But if, for instance, if the condition has been there for an hour and a half or for a half an hour, then generally the courts will say that the owner of the property knew or should have known that the condition was there or if the condition is a violation of a construction code or some other regulation the law presume that the owner of the property was aware the defect and then the issue comes whether that the person who fail was injured and they know or should have known.
Now the law does not require you to look continuously at your ground where you walking at to detect a dangerous condition and even if you've walked through or traversed in areas where dangerous condition may be the mere fact that you've walked through that area does not in and of itself say that you charges with the knowledge. The law says you have to have specific knowledge or knowledge of the specific dangerous condition the caused you to fall or be injured before you’re barred from your damages. This is a complicated area law and if you or a family member has been injured on somebody else's premises you may be entitled to some compensation for that. Give us a call here at Duffy & Feemster at 912 236 6311 or go to our website at www.Duffyfeemster.com. Thank You.