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What the law says about premises liability

In Georgia and other states, a person could be classified as an invitee, a licensee or a trespasser while on someone else's property. The type of designation a person receives plays a role in a property owner's duty to protect that individual from harm. An invitee is someone who is on a given premises for business purposes. For instance, a shopper at a retail store would likely be considered an invitee.

Property owners must actively search for and prevent dangerous conditions that could harm an invitee. This generally means that whoever owns or controls the premises must take reasonable steps to keep a person safe. Those who are labeled as licensees are typically at a given location for social reasons. Generally, a property owner only has to protect a licensee from dangers that he or she knows about.

Trespassing occurs when a person is on another person's property without permission. Generally, property owners are only prohibited from willfully injuring trespassers on their land. However, it may be necessary to warn or otherwise protect trespassers against conditions that could lead to serious injury or death. This is usually true if a property owner knows that trespassing is a frequent issue. Furthermore, if the trespasser was a child, a property owner may have a duty to mitigate dangerous conditions.

If someone who owns a property fails to remedy hazardous conditions, an injured person may be entitled to damages. Compensation may help to pay medical bills or make up for lost wages after falling on a slippery floor or an icy parking lot. An attorney may use witness statements, photos or videos from the scene to establish that negligence caused the incident to occur.

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