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Mistakes property owners make that can hurt their visitors

| Nov 23, 2020 | Personal injury |

One of the reasons that businesses and homeowners have to carry insurance policies is their potential liability from visitors. When other people come onto your property, whether it’s a friend of your family or a salesperson trying to get you to change uniform vendors for your business, you have financial liability if they get hurt on your property in certain circumstances.

Insurance protects property owners and businesses by covering them if people get hurt. Protection in the event of an injury is a good thing to have, but it makes far more sense for property owners to take reasonable steps to avoid injuries on their property. Unfortunately, there are two common oversights, especially in commercial properties, that might increase an owner’s risk of premises liability and a visitor’s risk of getting hurt.

 Some property owners indefinitely postponed maintenance projects

Owning a building is like fighting a constant war of attrition. Every component and system in the property will eventually degrade and fail if not carefully maintained and upgraded as necessary. Under Georgia civil code, a property owner has a responsibility to engage in reasonable maintenance on their property to keep it safe.

Generally, that means addressing issues like a leak in the ceiling, burned-out light bulbs in the staircase and uneven sections of sidewalk that could trip a pedestrian or pose a real hazard for someone in a wheelchair. The longer someone puts off major maintenance issues, the greater the risk of those issues eventually hurting a visitor to the property.

Property owners may ignore the need for security

Especially for those who own commercial or urban properties, crime can be a risk for both tenants and visitors. A facility without adequate lighting and security both inside and in major exterior areas like parking lots could endanger visitors by creating an environment ideal for criminal activity.

Especially in cases where there has been a rash of crime nearby, property owners may need to prioritize adding security cameras and lighting to their exterior spaces or risk claims against them if criminals target someone in an area with inadequate security.

Whether you slipped and fell because of a dripping ceiling, got mugged in a parking ramp or fell down a staircase at an apartment building because there was no light or no handrail, you may have grounds to bring a premises liability claim against the owner who did not maintain the property.