Slip and Fall (Premises Liability)

Slip and fall or dangerous premises cases are some of the toughest personal injury cases to prove because every individual generally has responsibility for keeping himself safe and watching where they are going. However, dangerous property cases are some of the most important to society, because the threat of a potential claim is what motivates many property owners to maintain their property in a safe condition.  In addition, slip and fall cases can lead to very serious and debilitating injuries. 

Under Georgia law, a property owner or property manager has a duty to prevent hidden hazards or warn the public of such hazards. They also have a duty to inspect the property at reasonable intervals. Some exaggerated examples of all three follow:

Hidden hazard: a big hole covered by a tarp covered by dirt in the middle of a path. Obviously this would be actionable.

Failure to warn: if you know about a hole in a pathway and fail to mark it with yellow paint or otherwise warn passersby.

Duty to inspect: wet floors at grocery stores are the common example. Just because the floor is wet doesn’t mean they are liable. If someone dropped a freshly sprayed lettuce head and then you slip on the wet floor one minute later, the store is probably not liable. This is because it is not reasonable to expect a store to inspect their floors at 30-second intervals. Most big chain stores have inspection log books where they log in the inspections at specified intervals of time. They do this to defend against claims of an unreasonable delay in inspection.

Inadequate Security:  Apartment complexes and other building owners have a duty to protect tenants and patrons from violent criminal acts where the owner/manager has knowledge of similar criminal conduct of the same type.  

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