Premises Liability

At Cannella Snyder, we are committed to representing those who have suffered due to the negligence or recklessness of a property owner.


Premises liability cases occur when the injury was caused by an unsafe or defective condition on someone’s property. Generally, there are two types of premises liability claims: (1) negligent security, and (2) physical injury because of a hazard. Examples include:

Frequently Asked Questions

Most personal injury cases are based on negligence, and premises liability cases are no different. To win a premises liability case, the plaintiff must prove:

  1. that the defendant owned, leased, resided on, or controlled the property in question;
  2. the property owner was negligent in how he or she used the property;
  3. the defendant owed you a duty of care based on your status. In Georgia, you must establish that you were an invitee or licensee (or the parent of a trespassing child) at the time the accident occurred. Otherwise, the property owner may not have owed you anything.
  4. you sustained an injury because of the defendant’s negligence.
  5. you suffered real damages.
The first step in determining whether you might have a premises liability claim is determining which classification you fall into. The classification will decide what duties of care the property owner legally owed you at the time of the accident. Under Georgia, all visitors to the property are divided into three categories:

  • invitees;
  • licensees, and
  • trespassers.

An invitee has the landowner’s express or implied permission to enter the property. Invitees are usually people like friends, relatives, and neighbors. The landowner traditionally owes an invitee a duty of reasonable care to keep the property reasonably safe for the invitee. They must resolve any existing property hazards, check for hazards they may not know about, and warn visitors to non-obvious dangers.

A licensee has the landowner’s express or implied permission to enter the property but enters the property for his or her own purposes. Licensees are usually people like salesmen. The landowner traditionally owes a licensee a lesser duty only to warn the licensee of dangerous conditions that create an unreasonable risk of harm if the landowner knows about the condition and the licensee is not likely to be able to discover it. Examples include a door-to-door salesperson. Under Georgia law, property owners will only be liable for “willful or wanton injury” to licensees.

A trespasser is not authorized to be on the property. Traditionally, landowners owe no duty to trespassers unless the trespasser was a child. In that case, the landowner owes the duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid a reasonably foreseeable risk of harm to children caused by artificial conditions on the land (i.e., swimming pools).

Apartment complexes, hotels, stores, malls, parking lots, and other businesses have a duty to keep their vicinities safe for visitors. In a premises case, the potential defendant must have notice of the danger to people on the property.  If a business owner or landlord owns or maintains a building in a high-crime area, for example, they are on notice that their customers could be harmed and must take steps to keep their premises safe. This duty is even clearer if there have been previous criminal incidents on their premises. A landlord’s duty to customers applies regardless of whether the business just opened. Business owners and landlords may have a duty to consider the following security measures:

  • Installing and maintaining gates and fences;
  • Securing doors and windows and regularly inspecting them;
  • Hiring security guards to patrol and watch the premises;
  • Ensuring that security personnel are trained; 
  • Properly training staff;
  • Providing lighting in public areas;
  • Maintaining functioning security cameras;
  • Ensuring the security of private rooms in hotels and motels, and more.

All Cannella Snyder’s premises liability cases are handled on a contingency basis. That means you pay nothing out of pocket to retain the firm or for expenses incurred during the case. We get paid only if there is a recovery. If there is, we receive a percentage of the recovery and recoup the expenses we paid. At Cannella Snyder, there are no upfront costs or consultation fees. And if there is no recovery, you owe the firm nothing.

Contact an experienced Cannella Snyder attorney to give your case the attention to detail it deserves.