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How property owners can avoid slip and fall claims

Investing in property can be financially beneficial to many Georgia residents. However, there are risks involved in owning property, as well, such as if someone becomes injured and decides to hold the owner liable for damages. There are a few ways to avoid a potential premises liability lawsuit.

Slipping occurs whenever someone loses traction while walking on wet, slippery or damaged surfaces. Trips can occur because of cluttered walkways, a wrinkle in a rug or carpet, insufficient lighting or exposed cable wires. Slipping and tripping can then lead to serious falls and injuries.

To keep people safe and avoid possible injury claims, it is a good idea for property owners to periodically check the property's interior and exterior walking surfaces for hazards. Caution signs placed along freshly mopped floors can alert people of slipping dangers. Other safety measures include replacing burned-out light bulbs, clearing debris, clutter and other tripping hazards from hallways, replacing old, worn-out flooring material, and repairing or installing reliable handrails on stairs. Property owners should also make sure all sidewalks and parking lots are cleared and salted during snowy or icy weather conditions.

Georgia law requires owners to keep their property safe and free from dangerous conditions that could cause a guest or resident to be injured. If the property owner knowingly failed to keep the property safe and someone becomes injured as a result, the owner could be found liable for damages. Those injured in such circumstances might consider consulting a premises liability attorney to find out how to pursue compensation for damages such as medical expenses and wage losses.

Source: Safety and Health, "Preventing slips, trips and falls", Tracy Haas, May 2, 2016

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