Slip and Fall
What happens if you slip and fall and injure yourself on someone else's property? Many people don't know this, but if the slip and fall was the result of the landowner's negligence, you may be able to recover compensation. Slips and falls come under the umbrella of premises liability law--the general rule that landowners owe others the duty to keep them safe from harm.Premises Liability in Georgia
Premises liability is a function of state law and will therefore be different in every state. In Georgia, the duty that a landowner owes to others depends on whether the other person is an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser.
- Invitees: An invitee is a person who is expressly or impliedly invited upon the landowner's land by the landowner for any lawful purpose. This is ordinarily interpreted to mean a person who is on someone else's property to conduct business--such as shoppers or tradesmen.
- Licensee: A licensee is a person who is (a) neither a customer, a servant, or a trespasser, (b) does not stand in any contractual relation to the owner of the premises, and (c) is permitted to go onto the premises merely for his own interests, convenience, or gratification. This is ordinarily interpreted to mean a person who is legally allowed to be on someone else's property but is not there to do business, such as social guests.
- Trespasser: A person who is not authorized to be on the landowner's property
So what level of duty does a landowner owe to each class of visitor?If You Were an Invitee
Landowners owe invitees the duty to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises safe. What does this mean? It means that the landowner has the duty to protect invitees from dangers that he knew existed or that he should have known existed through the use of ordinary care. So, for example, let's say that you are in the bathroom of a large department store and you slip and fall on a puddle of water. It turns out that the cause of the puddle of water was a leaky pipe under the sink, which the store manager knew was leaking but had not had it fixed or put up a warning sign. In that case, you likely would be able to recover against the store because failing to fix the pipe or warn customers that the floor was slippery falls far below the store manager's duty of ordinary care.If You Were a Licensee
Landowners owe licensees a much lower duty than invitees. For licensees, the landowner is liable only for willful or wanton injuries. For example, let's say that a friend invites you over for a New Year’s party. Unbeknownst to you, your friend has poured water all over his front steps to make them very slippery, which is his idea of a joke. If you slip and fall and injure yourself on these steps, your friend may be liable--but only because he intentionally created the dangerous condition.If You Were a Trespasser
With a few very narrow exceptions, landowners owe no duty to trespassers.Call Slappey & Sadd, LLC Today to Speak with an Atlanta Slip and Fall Lawyer
If you slipped and fell and injured yourself on someone else's property, you may be able to recover from the landowner. We serve the entire state of Georgia, including the following locations: Lawrenceville, Norcross, and Columbus. To schedule a free consultation with an attorney, call us today at 404.255.6677 or send us an email through our online contact form.