Property owners have a duty to protect visitors from harm, but the complexities of a slip and fall case can make it difficult to determine exactly what that duty is. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you deserve to focus on recovery instead of fighting the case yourself. An experienced premises liability lawyer understands the duty of care in Atlanta slip and fall cases and could help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Duties of Property Owners
The owner and manager of the premises have the primary duty of care in a slip and fall case. However, it is important to get a handle on the nature of the premises and how is it being managed in a specific case. For example, in a mall, there could be an owner, a separate entity running the mall day-to-day, and a third entity who was contracted to handle the maintenance of a parking lot. All three – the owner, manager, and maintenance contractor – could have potential responsibility for failure to act reasonably in maintaining a specific area.
The duty of a property owner to ensure their property is safe does not mean they have to guarantee the premises are safe, but they do have a duty to act reasonably to provide as safe an environment as they possibly can. That duty is contingent upon what they are aware of given the history of the events on the premises, the history of events in the area, or other knowledge they may have. The duty of care in Atlanta slip and fall cases is also dependent on the property owner acting reasonably in light of what they are aware of or what they should have been aware of.
Safety Requirements in Atlanta
Atlanta has different requirements, codes, and ordinances that might relate to specific sorts of premises and the duties they have, but the overarching legal duty that premises owners have in Atlanta is to act reasonably to attempt to provide for safe premises. That means they must act in a fashion that is reasonable considering:
- what they are aware of occurring on the premises
- what they are aware of that occurred in the past
- what may occur in the future based on the nature of the premises and the activities thereon.
Whether a premises owner is acting reasonably based on that information is the ultimate question of liability.
When Judges Reject a Slip and Fall Case
The most common reasons that slip and fall cases are rejected by judges is the lack of notice. A premises owner is not required to ensure that there are never slip or trip hazards on the premises; their duty is to act reasonably in preventing them. That requires that they act if they have knowledge of the hazard. They could also be liable if they can be considered to have constructive knowledge of a hazard. Constructive knowledge means they may not have had actual knowledge of it, but they failed to have an appropriate procedure in place for inspecting the premises and should have had knowledge. If there is no evidence that the hazard was present on the premises for an extended period and the premises owner denied having been aware of it, a plaintiff can be faced with a challenge in establishing that they either had knowledge of it or should have been aware of it.
The other thing that can lead to cases being rejected is if an individual slips, trips, or falls and does not know what caused it. If they are unable to establish that the hazard caused the fall, their case may be dismissed.
Contacting an Atlanta Slip and Fall Attorney
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact a seasoned Atlanta attorney today. An attorney understands the duty of care in Atlanta slip and fall cases, and they could help you fight for compensation. Speak with a compassionate attorney that could advocate for you.