Articles Posted in Premises Liability

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gas stationWhen a plaintiff sues a defendant about a hazardous condition, he or she must allege that the defendant had knowledge of the condition and failed to address it or failed to warn others. Likewise, the plaintiff must also show that he or she did not have full knowledge of the danger before encountering it. While defendants may be held liable for injuries that occur on their property due to dangers of which they were aware, but a plaintiff was not, they usually cannot be held liable for injuries when a plaintiff knows of a dangerous condition and proceeds anyway. A recent case before the Georgia Court of Appeals looks at when a plaintiff has such “superior or equal” knowledge to that of a defendant.

In Travis v. Quiktrip Corporation, Travis was a truck driver employed by Petroleum Transport Company. He delivered gas to gas stations around the country. In 2011, he was delivering gas to QuikTrip Corporation, at a station managed by Lloyd Thompson. While delivering the gas, he was hit by another driver and suffered serious injuries. He sued the driver, Thompson, and QuikTrip for his injuries. Travis quickly settled with the driver but maintained premises liability claims against Thompson and QuikTrip. He argued that the gasoline delivery process at QuikTrip was unnecessarily dangerous, since it often required drivers to kneel down in the middle of traffic at the station in order to measure gas tank levels. Drivers had repeatedly reported these dangers to QuikTrip, but it did nothing to address them.

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spillIn states around the country, including Georgia, property owners owe individuals who come onto their property a basic duty to protect them from harm.  This means that property owners cannot knowingly maintain harmful or dangerous conditions on their property, such as broken railings or deep holes, that put the public at risk. But what about circumstances in which it is not clear that the property owner is aware the dangerous condition exists? In certain circumstances, the owner can be held liable for conditions he or she should have known existed, but owners will not automatically be held liable for an unknown harm just because it caused an injury.

In Youngblood v. All American Quality Foods, Inc., Ms. Youngblood was injured after she slipped and fell in a puddle of water that had formed at a grocery store. She was injured in the accident and sued All American Quality Foods, also known as Food Depot, for her injuries. She argued that Food Depot had a duty to use ordinary care in keeping its grocery stores safe for customers. In response, Food Depot moved for summary judgment, arguing that it had no notice that the water puddle existed and could not reasonably have prevented it from causing Ms. Youngblood’s injuries.  The trial court agreed.  Ms. Youngblood appealed.

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caution-tape-1228201-300x199Under Georgia law, an owner or occupier of land owes a duty to “invitees” to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe. An invitee is someone who is on the property, by express or implied invitation, for a lawful purpose. Courts have reviewed what it means to exercise “ordinary care” under the statute and have determined that the standard varies depending on the circumstances. Each case is different. One court has determined, however, that in order for one’s conduct to be deemed negligent, it must be unreasonable in light of the recognizable risk of harm. Since each case is unique, it is important to discuss the particular facts and circumstances of your claim with an experienced Atlanta injury attorney – someone who is fully familiar with the local laws applicable to the case.

In a recent premises liability case, McDonald v. West Point Food Mart, Inc. (Ga. Ct. of App. 2015), the plaintiff brought an action against the defendant-convenient store for injuries she suffered after tripping over a case of beer on the floor behind her at the check out counter. According to the facts, the store was crowded when the plaintiff made a purchase at the store counter. As she turned away from the counter to exit the store, she stepped back and fell. A witness provided affidavit testimony that the customer behind the plaintiff in the line placed a case of beer on the floor while waiting in line to pay. The witness noticed the plaintiff trip over the case of beer and fall.

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slip-hazard-1429630-mThere are many different bases for a premises liability claim. Some of the more common trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall cases involve foreign substances (like water or another slippery substance) or static conditions.  But a whole slew of trip/slip-and-fall cases have involved the conduct of customers, or the sudden, intervening act of a third party. Georgia law treats each type of case differently with respect to the proprietor’s knowledge of the alleged hazardous condition. For instance, courts have said that a business owner cannot be liable for “an invitee’s” injuries that were caused by a third party whose conduct was unforeseeable and occurred without warning. Each case is different, and the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident are critical to any premises liability claim. In order to know whether you are entitled to recover damages for injuries sustained in a trip or slip-and-fall case, you are encouraged to contact an experienced injury attorney from the local Atlanta area.

In a recent case, Barbour-Amir v. Comcast of Georgia/Virginia, Inc. (Ga. Ct. of App. 2015), the plaintiff was at a Comcast store, waiting in line to pay her bill. She alleged that after paying the bill at the teller’s window, she turned around to leave and tripped and fell over a young child who was sitting on the floor behind her. The plaintiff brought this premises liability case against Comcast for injuries she sustained to her knees, ankle, and lower back. Comcast moved for summary judgment, arguing that there was no evidence that the company had actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard presented by the child sitting on the floor.

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caution-wet-floor-sign-1-1006453-mParties to personal injury cases often attempt to settle the claims without going through a trial. Depending on the circumstances, settling claims may potentially serve to limit costs and shorten the entire process. But it is important to keep in mind that the settlement stage, like most phases of any negligence action, is highly regulated by state law, and parties must adhere to applicable provisions of the Georgia Code. Failing to comply with these requirements could result in the dismissal of any and all claims.  For a proper assessment of your case, and to ensure that applicable legal provisions are complied with, it is important that you contact an experienced injury attorney from the local Atlanta area.

Section 9-11-68 sets forth the requirements for parties to follow when preparing an offer of settlement for the other side.  First, they must identify the claim or claims that the offer is attempting to resolve.  Second, the offer must state with “particularity” any relevant conditions. This law allows a defendant to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses from the date the plaintiff rejects the offer of settlement through the entry of judgment, if the final judgment is one of no liability. According to Georgia case law, the purpose of the statute has been to encourage litigants in negligence cases to prepare and accept “good faith” settlement proposals, in order to avoid unnecessary litigation.

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caution-tripping-hazard-1439458-mIn most personal injury lawsuits, whether the claims arise from a car accident or a fall on another’s property, the likelihood of achieving a monetary recovery will depend on several items. First, the underlying facts and circumstances will play a significant role in whether the injured party is likely to recover. Secondly, the plaintiff must know and understand the particular laws and procedural requirements that must be met in order to successfully bring claims for damages. And thirdly, it is extremely important that the injured party contact an experienced attorney who has handled such cases within the local Atlanta area, who can assess the facts and prepare a strategy appropriate for the unique circumstances of your case.

In a recent slip-and-fall case, Smith v. NT Nails, LLC (Ga. Ct. of App. 2015), the plaintiff brought an action against a nail salon for personal injuries she allegedly sustained after falling on a wet floor at the salon. The salon moved for summary judgment, claiming that plaintiff “knowingly and voluntarily” made the choice to walk across a floor that had been recently mopped. Plaintiff appealed the decision, arguing that summary judgment was inappropriate because, although she was aware of the hazard, she had no choice but to walk on the wet floor in order to pay and leave the salon. Essentially, plaintiff argued that the trial court should not have found that she “assumed the risk” of injury.

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to-sign-a-contract-2-1221951-mThe primary reason to file a personal injury claim against another person or entity is to recover damages for the victim’s pain and suffering and financial losses. Very often, the injured party has suffered serious injuries and is hoping to recover medical costs, lost wages and other items. In order to successfully bring the lawsuit, the plaintiff must properly allege and provide sufficient evidence of the defendant’s negligence. Under the Georgia Code, “ordinary negligence” is the absence of the degree of care that is exercised by an ordinarily prudent person under the same or similar circumstances. There are many ways to assert a negligence cause of action. In order to determine the best legal strategy for your accident and injury, you are encouraged to contact an experienced injury attorney from the Atlanta area.

Every negligence case is based on a unique set of facts, which typically gives rise to the type of allegations you may successfully bring. In a recent personal injury case, Kids R Kids International, Inc. v. Cope et al. (Ga. Ct. of App. 2015), the plaintiff (guardian of the minor child – injured party), filed suit against two entities:  the child’s day care center as well as the franchisor, KRK. Here, the three-year-old child incurred injuries to his face when he collided with a metal gate in the school’s play area. The child’s mother brought this negligence action against both defendants, alleging that they failed to exercise reasonable care in providing services to her child, properly observe and monitor her child, properly inspect the facility, properly secure the classroom, keep the premises safe, and protect her child from an unreasonable risk of harm of which they knew or should have known.

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traffic-cone-1173007-mIt is not uncommon for people to slip or trip and fall on sidewalks, in parking lots, or in any other public space.  Unfortunately, however, in many of these cases, the incident of falling causes the person to suffer injuries.  While some of these injuries can be minor, such as bruises and scrapes, there are situations when the victim sustains serious injuries, with lifelong implications.  Depending on the circumstances surrounding the fall, the property owner could be held accountable for a certain amount of damages.  Anyone who is injured on another’s property is encouraged to carefully assess the entire situation to determine whether he or she is entitled to recover for resulting pain and suffering.  A local Atlanta injury attorney who handles premises liability claims could review your case to evaluate the likelihood and extent of a recovery.

Georgia law sets forth the basic responsibilities of property owners when it comes to the safety of “invitees,” or people who are invited or permitted to be on the property.  Essentially, the property owner or occupier does not guarantee the safety of invitees, but rather he or she is expected to remove any conditions that may expose the invitee or visitor to an unreasonable risk of harm. A significant factor with respect to many of these cases is the issue of knowledge of the condition.  In a recent case, Strauss v. City of Lilburn (Ga. Ct. of App. 2014), the plaintiff tripped and fell as she was walking along a sidewalk outside a café toward her car in the adjacent parking lot.

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elevator-sign-303026-mPersonal injury cases come in many forms, but in all negligence actions, the injured party must plead and prove a variety of factors, depending on the nature of the lawsuit. In slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall cases, also known as premises liability claims, the plaintiff must show that he or she sustained injuries on the defendant’s property due to the property owner’s failure to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition. Essentially, the plaintiff must plead and prove that the defendant acted in a negligent manner, and that such conduct proximately caused his or her injuries. In order to successfully bring a premises liability action against a property owner, it is important that you seek the advice of an experienced injury attorney from the Atlanta area, someone who is fully aware of the local laws and rules affecting such cases.

In many premises liability lawsuits, the defendant – the owner of the property – will bring a motion for summary judgment in its favor. Under Georgia law, courts must determine whether the moving party has demonstrated that there is no genuine issue of material fact, and that the facts as presenteda warrant judgment as a matter of law. In many cases, however, courts will refuse to grant a summary judgment motion, determining that there are questions of fact that must be determined by a jury. This affords the plaintiff an opportunity to present evidence supporting his or her negligence claims.

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Slip-and-fall negligence cases arise under many different sets of circumstances. Depending on the particular facts, a plaintiff who has been injured may or may not be entitled to a recovery. One aspect of liability concerns the relationship between the injured party and the entity or person who is allegedly at fault. According toparking-lot-11313-m Georgia law, a business owner owes a duty of ordinary care to its invitees. But courts have held that this non-delegable duty of care is not applicable to an independent contractor. While this may seem confusing, an experienced injury attorney would know precisely how the local laws will apply to your injury case. If you have been injured on another’s property, be sure to consult with an Atlanta injury lawyer as soon as possible after the incident.

In a recent negligence case, Davidson et al. v. Meticulously Clean Sweepers, LLC (Ga. Ct. of App. 2014), plaintiff Nancy Davidson fell outside a “Dollar Tree” store, in a shopping center that was owned by three corporate entities, referred to here as “Rivergate.” After she was injured, the plaintiff and her husband brought an action against Dollar Tree, the manager of Dollar Tree, Rivergate, its property management company, and Meticulously Clean Sweepers (“MCS”) – an independent contractor that treated the area in question with a de-icing mixture the night before the plaintiff fell.

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