People in Georgia own property for different reasons. Some may own property for personal use such as a home, a vacation home, land for hunting and other reasons. Others own property for commercial purposes. They may have an office building or warehouse for their own business. Others may own commercial property and lease the property to other businesses. There are many businesses who lease property for their office or retail stores as well.
No matter the reason for owning or leasing the property, the people that own it or occupy it may be held liable if people are injured on the property. People on the property can be injured in many different ways, but whether the property owner will be liable depends on why the injured party was on the property.
Status of people on property determines duty of care
There are three main classifications for people on other people’s property. People are classified as invitees, licensees and trespassers.
- Invitees – these are people invited onto the property because of an express or implied invite. These could be guests specifically invited or customers to a business that provide a benefit for the property owner. There is an expectation that the property owner will keep the property safe for invitees for the purpose they were invited on the property.
- Licensees – these are people who do not have an invite and do not provide a benefit for the land owner, but do have a valid reason to be there. Property owners must exercise reasonable care to protect these people from known conditions which the licensee would not discover and could cause substantial harm.
- Trespassers – these are people who either purposefully or accidentally go onto the property without the authorization or permission of the property owner. There is no duty to keep these individuals safe except that property owners cannot willfully injure a trespasser.
When people suffer injuries on other people’s property in Georgia they can be devastating. However, whether they are entitled to compensation depends on their status on the property and how they were injured. Experienced attorneys understand these fact-specific cases and may be a useful resource.