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Protecting a business from premises liability claims

In Georgia, business owners are responsible for the safety of any person who lawfully enters their premises, even when they do not own that property themselves. Even trespassers, usually children, may have the right to a safe environment under the doctrine of "attractive nuisance." Business owners must then ensure that the proper policies and procedures are in place for recognizing dangerous conditions and doing something about them.

Dangerous conditions often lead to slips, trips and falls. Entrants may, for example, trip on torn carpeting, on cracked pavement or over debris in a cluttered aisle. They might slip on a wet floor or on an icy sidewalk. People may fall down a flight of stairs after grabbing a loose railing.

Entrants could also be injured in other ways on another's property. For example, they may be struck by a falling object or get assaulted by an employee or another visitor. All of these situations can form the basis for a premises liability lawsuit. To be successful, a victim needs to show that the owner was negligent and that they themselves were not.

Owners are allowed a reasonable amount of time in which to repair hazardous conditions. If one cannot be repaired immediately, owners are expected to set up warning signs or barriers. Owners must also train their employees to spot any hazards. They may want general liability insurance, too.

If an injured party can show that they were the victim of a preventable accident, they may be eligible for compensation. Damages could cover medical expenses, wages lost during the physical recovery, pain and suffering and whatever else applies. Since they will likely face opposition from a team of lawyers, a victim may want legal counsel of their own as they go through negotiations.

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