You might have a premises liability claim if you received an injury on someone else's property because of the negligence of the owner. Landowners are not responsible every time someone gets hurt on their premises, but you can pursue compensation for your losses if the carelessness of the owner resulted in your injuries.
Damages in a Premises Liability Injury Claim
We cannot say how much you can receive in money damages for your premises liability injury claim because every case is different. The amount of your compensation will depend on the facts of your case. Some of the types of damages we have won for our premises liability clients include:
- Medical expenses for the reasonable treatment you needed because of your injuries. This category can include things like the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, surgery, doctors, prescription drugs, x-rays, diagnostic procedures, and physical therapy.
- Lost wages, for the paychecks you missed because of the injury and recuperation time. These losses can include wages, salary, self-employment, and other forms of income.
- Diminished earning capacity, if you cannot make as much money as you could before because of the injury.
- Disability, if your injuries leave you unable to work to support yourself.
- Rehabilitation facility, if you sustained catastrophic injuries like spinal cord damage or traumatic brain injury that required extended treatment in a specialized care facility.
- Long-term care costs can be astronomical. You can include these expenses in your premises liability claim if devastating injuries cause you to need daily assistance with medical treatments and personal care.
- Pain and suffering, for the physical discomfort and emotional distress you endured.
- Intangible losses, like disfigurement, depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), loss of enjoyment of life, and a spousal claim for loss of consortium.
- Wrongful death, if a premises liability accident took the life of your close loved one.
What We Have to Prove to Establish Liability
We have to prove all three of these factors to make the property owner responsible for your damages:
- There was a dangerous condition on the property.
- The owner knew or should have known about the hazard.
- The owner did not correct the dangerous condition or post adequate warnings to prevent injuries.
Factors That Can Affect the Value of Your Premises Liability Injury Case
Georgia law imposes a different duty of care on landowners depending on whether the person on the premises was designated as an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser.
- An invitee is someone who is on the premises for any lawful purpose at the invitation or inducement of the landowner. The invitation can be express or implied. Invitees are usually on the property of others for business reasons. For example, when you enter a store to shop, you are an invitee. A store owner invites the general public to come onto the property to buy things. The owner has to use ordinary care to keep the premises and approaches safe.
- You are a licensee if you are neither a customer nor a trespasser. Licensees come onto the premises solely for their own benefit or as social guests. For example, if you go into a gas station only to use the restroom but do not buy anything, you are a licensee. Georgia law puts a much lower standard of care on property owners for licensees as compared to invitees. The landowner is only liable for willful injury to a licensee.
- A landowner's only obligation to a trespasser is not to intentionally harm the person. There is no duty of care to protect a trespasser from hazardous conditions on the premises. The owner is not allowed to “booby-trap” the property or hurt the trespasser on purpose.
Reasons to Work with a Lawyer on Your Premises Liability Claim
If you got hurt on someone else's property, a lawyer can help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that can devalue your injury claim. Here are some of the common problems people can encounter when they try to handle these cases on their own without a lawyer:
- Missing the deadline. Georgia law limits the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit to go after compensation for your injuries. If you miss the deadline, the law will bar you from ever going after money damages for your losses.
- Recorded statements. The property owner’s insurance company will assign an adjuster to the case. The adjuster will likely call you early on and ask you to give a recorded statement. The insurance company can then twist your words and take them out of context in an attempt to pay you less money than you deserve.
- Settling too early. If the insurance company wants to get your claim off of its books, it might offer you a quick, lowball settlement check. If you have not completed your treatment and healed completely, you should not settle your case. You will not get more money out of the insurance company after the settlement, even if you have permanent loss of function.
- Medical bills. The insurance company does not always explain that you will have to pay all of your medical bills, current and future, out of that one check. If you need more treatment, you might end up with a stack of medical bills that you cannot afford to pay.
- High-pressure tactics. When you have a lawyer, the insurance company is not supposed to contact you directly. If the insurer does so, you should tell them to talk to your lawyer. We will deal with the insurance company so that you do not have to.
When the premises liability team at S. Burke Law handles your injury claim, you can focus your time and attention on getting well. Call us today at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation. There is no obligation.