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Whoops – that Fall Hurt

Premises liability law has been around for a lot of years, but still, many people don’t really understand what it means.

To put this simply, premises liability is all about someone falling and injuring themselves due to the carelessness or negligence of a business or property owner. If this happens, the victim has a right to pursue compensation for those injuries.

Typically, the person who owns a business or operates it, is liable for dangerous conditions that they know about and either don’t deal with them, and/or don’t warn people about the potentially dangerous situation. The other side of the coin is that they “should” have known about the dangerous condition by regularly inspecting the property.

There is such a big emphasis on knowledge because it is critical to the imposition of liability. So in the above example, the notice a landowner/business gets may be constructive or actual. For instance, if the owner of the property is the one who creates the dangerous situation, they are deemed to have actual notice of it, because they created it.

On the other hand, if the owner/operator or the workers don’t create a dangerous situation, they may still be liable for constructive notice of the danger. This means that the bad situation was there for such a long time they should have seen it or done something about it by doing regular inspections.

Let’s use the example of someone spilling hot coffee on a floor and it is not cleaned up. The actual proof of how long that spill has been there lies in the condition of the spill. If it’s partially dry or has footprints tracking through it, it’s obviously been there for some time, and therefore, the owner/manager should have known and done something about it. This is a good example of constructive notice.

Of interest, is that the most common mistake a business owner makes is in not warning people that come to his or her property that there may be an unavoidable danger. Some businesses, just because of the nature of what they do, are considered to be inherently dangerous.

Those businesses need to have the premises posted with warnings. If the venture is something like a swimming pool and they have a wet deck all the time and warn people about it, then they are not necessarily required to fix the situation (difficult to do if it’s a pool deck).

There are many other rules and exceptions when dealing with premises liability law, including third-party liability, so it’s best to speak to an attorney who is intimately familiar with the ropes. They will help you build a solid case.

Tim Anderson works with Atlanta Personal Injury attorney, Stephen M. Ozcomert. The firm specializes in personal injury, malpractice, motorcycle accidents, and wrongful death. To learn more about Atlanta personal injury lawyer, Stephen M. Ozcomert or Atlanta personal injury, Atlanta personal injury lawyer, Atlanta personal injury attorney, visit Ozcomert.com.