Injury on Public Property in Georgia: Who is Liable?

Public property refers to property not owned by individuals or a company. This type of property is basically owned by a town, city, state, or country, and is normally used regularly by the general public. Examples of public properties include public parks, playgrounds, streets, sidewalks, schools, and libraries. Every property owner, be it private or public property, across all states, are obligated by law to keep their property safe to minimize harm to anyone coming to that property.

Premises liability is a legal doctrine which requires business owners or operators to protect guests and users from known risks and harms. Ponton Law, a reputable law firm in Atlanta, asserts that you are owed some level of care by the property owner, no matter who you are. Part of this care is protection from injury or harm during your usage or visit of that property.

In the case of personal injury on public property, the governmental body or agency managing that property may be liable. For you to be compensated for personal injury on public property in the state of Georgia, you must prove or show the following:

  • Government agency ownership or control of that property.
  • The existence of dangerous condition on the property.
  • Government body or agency knowledge on the existence of that dangerous condition on that property.
  • Agency or government body had enough time to repair or amend the dangerous condition but failed to do so.
  • The injury sustained was as a result of that dangerous condition and not from your recklessness.

Personal injury torts against governmental bodies and agencies are very complex and complicated.  For this reason, when injured on public property in Georgia State, you should seek the services of an experienced personal injury lawyer in Atlanta. Personal injury on public property arises from negligence from state employees, a government body, or even private contractors or individuals invited to make repairs or improvements on the property.

The complexity of suing state and governmental bodies lies in the legal principle known as “Sovereign immunity,” which affirms sovereign immunity of states and the federal government. This protects them from being sued without their consent. However, the state of Georgia waives its immunity (Sovereign immunity) via the Georgia Tort Claims Act (of 1922) which permits liability of the state for negligent actions of the state’s officials and employees.

Before filing a negligence claim for injuries sustained on government-controlled public property in Georgia, you must begin by submitting a Notice of Claim to Department of Administrative Services within one year of injury. The notice of claim notifies the state of your intention to seek compensation for injuries sustained and gives them time to respond.

After reception and review of your notice of claim, the Department of Administrative Services may admit your claim or deny it. Once they admit, a settlement is offered, and with the right lawyer, a good compensation is offered. However, you may proceed to file a lawsuit if they reject your claim or have not taken action. The time limits for filing “notice of claim” differs across states and towns, ranging from 60 days up to 6 months from time of injury (for Georgia State it is 90 days).



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