Small business owners in Georgia could potentially pay for legal costs, lost income and medical bills attributed to a slip and fall or other accident on their properties. Known as premises liability, the law requires businesses to maintain a safe environment to limit dangers to customers, visitors and employees. To meet legal responsibilities or the duty of care, owners or managers need to regularly inspect their properties for hazards, post warning signs and perform timely repairs.
Potential hazards include wet sidewalks and floors, broken handrails on stairs, a folded rug or loose carpet. If an accident happens, the amount of liability faced by the business could depend on timing. An accident resulting from a handrail that just broke that day might not place as much blame on a property owner as a handrail that has been broken for a long time and ignored. A lack of maintenance could show that a business disregarded the duty of care standard.
Business owners often keep records about inspections and repairs. This documentation could come into play during a lawsuit because it could establish the timing of maintenance. Conscientious property owners, however, do not enjoy complete immunity from liability. Even under the best of circumstances, an accident could happen, and an injured person might pursue financial damages.
Someone hurt in a slip and fall may wish to speak with an attorney to investigate the possibility of filing a personal injury claim. A business is supposed to carry an insurance policy that covers premises liability cases. An attorney might request the insurance policy and inform the person about available coverage for medical expenses and other losses. To build a case, an attorney may be able to gather and organize evidence that demonstrates the validity of the person’s claim.