Premises Liability During Georgia Winters

Happy New Year! We want to start the year with tips to navigate one of the most common personal injury situations: Premises Liability.

An injury related to a property owner’s negligence can result in costly medical care and unexpected time off work. This can be incredibly stressful when you’re still paying off bills from gifts purchases or trying to manage a work schedule after the holiday rush. Premises liability cases don’t just involve a slip and fall, but threats or injury that could have been avoided with reasonable actions from property owners. Below are examples of how to stay vigilant and avoid premises liability cases in Georgia.

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Snow and Icy Conditions

Winter is a time to be especially careful due to potentially hazardous icy conditions on roads and sidewalks. In Georgia, snow days may be rare, but freezing rain can leave the ground with a nearly invisible layer of ice, referred to as “black ice” that can trip up walkers or detour car tires. Usually, the best way to avoid ice forming on the ground is to sprinkle rock salt on streets and sidewalks. Businesses can provide safer walkways for customers by salting outdoor walkways as soon as there is a mention of snow or icy conditions.

We cover more about slips and fall claims and icy conditions on the For Justice’s Sake podcast.

Getting Dark Earlier

During winter, days are shorter and it gets dark earlier. If sidewalks outside of a business or rental property are unlit, there is a higher chance that pedestrians could slip and fall or trip and fall due to an unseen hazard. The hazard could be as small as a crack in the sidewalk or the size of a sewer grate, but if it was not reasonably visible to the walker, it has the potential for a premises liability lawsuit. If there was supposed to be a light on in the area, the property owner has a duty to have it fixed in a timely manner.

Winter darkness, combined with insufficient lighting and negligent security, can also encourage those with ill intent to harass or assault residents walking near private property. Security cameras and lighting aren’t guaranteed to protect a person from becoming the victim of physical and sexual assaults, however, it is still the property owner’s duty to create an environment where residents feel as safe and secure as possible.

Hot Beverages

An instance that is not usually considered is a noteworthy part of premises liability deals with burn injuries and scalding injuries due to hot water, coffee, tea, soup, or any other hot beverage. Many people have heard about how a woman sued McDonald’s over hot coffee and may think it’s ridiculous. However, the woman suffered third-degree burns, was hospitalized for eight days and spent years recovering from surgeries and scarring. 

Restaurant managers and employees should be trained on the proper way to serve hot beverages, from maintaining a safe temperature to making sure cups and lids are secure when handing them to customers. Whether you’re at your favorite go-to coffee shop or ordering hot cocoa at a winter carnival, if you suffer burns because your drink is too hot or the hot liquid was packaged improperly, you should consult a lawyer to see if you have a premises liability claim.

These are just a few examples of how negligence can affect Georgia residents during the shorter, colder winter days. If you are or have been hurt on someone else’s property and the situation could have been avoided, you may have a premises liability case. Contact The Dixon Firm for a free premises liability case consultation. Call 888-DIXON-11 or complete our form below and we will call you back ASAP.

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