Georgia property owners must keep guests and customers safe on their properties. Shoppers who are injured in a restaurant or store may be able to seek compensation. Since 1997, Atlanta attorney Terrence R. Bethune has assisted victims of such accidents by litigating countless personal injury cases. If you were harmed due to dangerous conditions in a mall, store, or another public place, you may be entitled to damages.
DANGEROUS PROPERTY CONDITIONS CAN BE COSTLY
Falling merchandise, wet floors, and inadequate security all may be considered dangerous conditions from which property owners must protect customers. Even relatively minor injuries caused by dangerous conditions may be costly. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Georgia hospitals spend more than $1,700 per patient for just one day of inpatient care, making even a quick hospital trip very expensive.
SHOPPERS INJURED ON STORE PROPERTY MAY HAVE A CLAIM
Depending on the status of the person on their premises, property owners owe differing duties of care to visitors. Owners who invite people onto their properties for the owners’ own benefit, such as restaurant or store owners, owe their customers the highest duty of care. They must keep their premises safe from dangerous conditions. If a person is injured in a grocery store, mall, or similar commercial property, he or she may be able to seek compensation. The success of this lawsuit depends on being able to prove that a dangerous condition existed on the property.
A dangerous condition can be defined in a number of ways. A wet floor, loose floorboards, or relatively simple maintenance issues each could be considered a dangerous condition in some circumstances. The condition does not have to be a physical characteristic of the property. Negligent or inadequate security also could create dangerous conditions.
Once a dangerous condition exists, the injured customer must prove that the property owner either knew or should have known of its existence. To prove this, the victim can rely on factors such as how long the condition had been there. The goal is to prove that the owner should have reasonably discovered the condition through regular inspection.
If the property owner did not fix or warn of the dangerous condition, and the customer was injured because of it, the owner may be liable for damages. Whether the owner did enough to fix the situation depends on the circumstances. Placing wet floor signs around freshly mopped areas would be considered a sufficient response, as would warning signs around a construction area.
HOLDING NEGLIGENT OWNERS ACCOUNTABLE FOR INJURIES
If an injured customer files a successful lawsuit based on a dangerous condition, the court can order the property owner to pay damages to compensate the plaintiff. Some of the compensation is intended to reimburse the plaintiff for medical expenses, lost wages, and other direct financial injuries. Other damages compensate for mental and physical injuries, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress.
TRUST AN EXPERIENCED INJURY ATTORNEY
If you were harmed by a dangerous condition on the property of another person, you may be able to seek compensation. Store owners owe customers a duty to keep their properties safe from hazards, and those who fail to protect customers may face legal consequences. Atlanta premises liability attorney Terrence R. Bethune may be able to help you seek the compensation that you deserve under Georgia law. To schedule a free consultation, call (470) 709-0666 or visit our contact page.