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Old Buildings, Collapsing Facades, and Georgia Premises Liability Law

An Atlanta woman was hospitalized recently after part of a building facade collapsed on her. The building in question is part of a strip mall. The fallen awning caused damage to cars outside and even trapped people inside a business as debris blocked the doorways.

According to reports, a crew had been working on the facade earlier in the day and the Atlanta fire spokesman noted that there are a number of possible reasons for the collapse, including wind damage, water damage, or rotting structural material. The woman suffered non-life-threatening injuries and is expected to make a full recovery.

Duty of the Property Owners

Property owners, especially business owners have a duty of care to those they invite onto the property. This duty of care is meant to protect against injuries and accidents. Customers and shoppers have a reasonable expectation that the store they are visiting is safe and free from hazardous conditions. The property should be kept in a condition that is safe and free from defect. Injuries caused by unsafe conditions or defective designs can lead to compensation for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

It should be noted that the duty of care is extended only to invitees and licensees. Invitees are those whom the property owner has given permission and openly invited to enter the property, such as customers and shoppers at a strip mall. Licensees are those the property owner has given permission to enter the property but who are coming onto the property for their own benefit, such as vendors. Trespassers are those who have not been authorized to be on the property. The duty of care does not extend to trespassers, unless the trespasser is a child.

Responsible Parties

Property owners are generally considered to be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of a building and its outlying area. Dangerous property conditions can be caused by faulty design, poor construction, improper maintenance, or even dangerous clutter. It is the responsibility of the property owner or occupant to regularly inspect property to find dangerous conditions and make repairs. Regular inspection can greatly reduce the risk of potential accidents in the future.

Businesses in areas such as strip malls pose an interesting issue when it comes to identifying responsible parties. Depending on the state of the property and the wording of any leasing contracts, several different parties may each hold some sort of responsibility, including:

  • The store owner or manager
  • The owner or property manager of the strip mall property
  • Any construction or maintenance crew working on the property

If a Property Owner Causes You Injury, Consult a Georgia Personal Injury Attorney

You do not have to have a building fall on you to pursue a property owner for a case based around premises liability. Some of the most common types of personal injuries are caused by a property owner’s failure to take reasonable care to remove dangers and hazards from his or her property. Shoppers who slip and fall in a grocery store due to the store’s failure to clean up spilled food or liquids may have a claim based on premises liability. Invitees and guests on a person’s property who trip and injure themselves due to being unable to see hazards because of poor lighting may have a claim based on premises liability.

Whatever your personal injury, you should consult with the attorneys at Cash, Krugler & Fredericks, LLC. Their combined decades of experience in handling premises liability claims is an invaluable tool in your journey to recovery. Contact them today at (404) 659-1710 or visit them online to schedule a consultation.

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