Defective Conditions on Property
When you go out to shop or visit a friend, you do not expect to be hurt due to defective conditions on someone else's property. Unfortunately, not all businesses and residences take the time to investigate and repair defective conditions. Some common examples include broken handrails, broken steps, and cracks in the sidewalk. These may be the result of improper maintenance, poor construction, or inappropriate design. Atlanta residents who have been hurt for these reasons can consult premises liability lawyer Stephen M. Ozcomert to pursue compensation from the property owner or occupier responsible.Seeking Compensation for Defective Conditions on Property
The first consideration in a premises liability case is usually the plaintiff's basis for being on the property. There are three categories of visitor status: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Invitees are people expressly or impliedly invited onto the property, such as customers at a mall. Owners are required to use ordinary care to make the premises safe for an invitee. Licensees are people permitted to enter an owner's land for their own gratification. This could include someone stopping by a neighbor's house to return a borrowed item. Owners are required to refrain from recklessly exposing a licensee to a hidden defective condition. A trespasser is somebody who comes onto property without permission. The only duty owed by the owner is not to willfully or wantonly hurt the trespasser. However, a greater duty may be owed to small children who trespass.
In some cases, the status of a visitor makes or breaks a claim for damages. In general, owners owe invitees a duty to inspect the property to discover any defective conditions and either issue warnings about the defects or repair them so that any foreseeable harms can be avoided. If a landowner fails to inspect or fails to issue a warning or repair in response to the discovery of a defect, this may be negligence. The landowner may be liable for any damages caused by the resulting injuries.
Immediately after the accident, it is important to take photographs and hire an experienced premises liability attorney. In some cases, your attorney will need to hire an expert to offer testimony about what the landowner knew or should have known about the defects. For example, if you twist your ankle due to a defective step, it may be necessary to investigate whether the property owner knew or should have known about the step.
The longer a defect exists, the more likely it is that the landowner should have known about it. However, proving that an owner knew or should have known about a defect can be tricky. One reason it is important to consult an attorney as soon as possible if you are injured in a store or other place open to customers is that there may be surveillance footage, but some stores have a policy of taping over the footage after a short window of time, such as a week or a month.
If you prove the landowner's negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, you may be able to recover compensatory damages designed to make you "whole." These damages may include medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.Discuss your Slip and Fall Accident with an Atlanta Lawyer
If you are injured due to a defective condition on an Atlanta property, it can help to have an experienced injury attorney by your side, negotiating with the insurers for the property and representing you at trial as necessary. Knowledgeable attorney Stephen M. Ozcomert may be able to help you recover compensation for defective property conditions. Call us at (404) 370-1000 or contact us via our online form for a free consultation. We also represent injured people in Decatur as well as other cities in DeKalb and Fulton Counties.