What is premises liability? The idea is simple at its heart. When a person or organization opens a business or other physical space to the public, they also have a responsibility to keep visitors safe within reason. This means that obstructions to clear passage, like debris or construction material, must be removed before people use those areas.

Cases of premises liability, which are somewhat common in Georgia, often involve slip-and-fall injuries. This often happens when an otherwise suitable surface is covered in liquid, gel or other slippery substance that causes a victim to lose footing and fall down. Although this may not sound serious, slip-and-fall injuries can be severe, perhaps even causing permanent disability.

The main point in premises liability cases is just what it suggests: liability. Sometimes, things happen in a business office, supermarket or other public space that are cannot be blamed on the owners or managers. Some attorneys in Georgia are trying to clarify the difference, concerned that legal penalties for business owners are affecting the economy.

“We are talking about negligence cases that are not actions of the landowner,” said an attorney addressing the state senate in Atlanta. “We’re talking about third parties who come on or near the landowner or business owner’s property and commit a crime against a third party, frequently a customer.”

In these cases, a business owner or manager may not be liable, but others who cause an injury, directly or indirectly, may still be accountable in civil court. An attorney can help choose the right course after an injury in a public space.