Category: Premises Liability

Landlords Are Responsible for Preventing Fire Deaths, Even in Case of Arson

There’s a popular myth that landlords are never legally responsible for any damage caused by arson. Even people who have never heard this myth repeated will often assume that, if an individual criminal can be blamed for the fire, then the property owner can’t be. This is not true. The reason is fairly simple: landlords have a duty to take all reasonable steps to prevent people from being harmed by fire on their properties, and preventing fires from starting is only part of that task. ...

Forklift Safety Is Still a Serious Issue for Big Box Stores

Jobs that involve using forklifts, or even being near them, carry abnormally high risks of death and catastrophic injury. This isn’t news. It’s been understood for decades. Yet very little progress has been made toward better protecting forklift operators and their coworkers. In the year 2020, there were 78 fatal forklift accidents and 7,290 nonfatal forklift injuries in the U.S. Those numbers are quite average, dating back to at least 2011. The changes that swept many industries in 2020, ...

Taking an Overseas Vacation Does Not Mean Waiving All U.S Legal Protection

American tourists looking to explore more of the globe are often inundated with warnings about the risk of travel in different countries, and advice on how to protect themselves. Some of this advice is well-intentioned and valuable. Being disconnected from your support system in unfamiliar surroundings is a vulnerable position to be in, and no two countries have exactly the same dangers or safety standards. An activity that’s perfectly safe at home could be deadly somewhere else, and vice-...

MARTA May Finally Be Forced to Make Real Safety Improvements

This blog has reported time after time (after time, after time), on the MARTA transportation system’s abysmal safety record. After each new tragic incident, we’ve had to draw the frustrating conclusion that not much has changed, and not much appears to be changing. At long last, this pattern may have broken. Right now, the transit system is working with multiple private consulting firms, at a cost of $2.2 million, to overhaul its safety and incident-response policies. Of course, MART...

Apartment Complexes with Swimming Pools Must Follow Safety Codes

Swimming pools are understandably popular amenities, especially in warm states like Georgia. In the absence of solid safety precautions, however, they can also be extremely dangerous. Nearly 4,000 people die by drowning in the U.S every year, and children are especially vulnerable. Drowning is the top cause of death for children aged 1-4, with residential pools being the most common setting. According to the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, most of these drownings happen outside of d...

Extreme Sport Venues Are Not Exempt from Safety Obligations

Owners of all different kinds of properties are responsible for providing a safe environment for their guests. This does not mean that no one is ever allowed to host activities with an inherent element of risk, like racing and other extreme sports. However, venue owners must take all reasonable precautions to make sure these activities aren’t any more dangerous than they have to be. They also have a duty to warn their guests in detail about any risks that can’t be eliminated. The fact t...

Apartment Residents Shouldn’t Have to Become Heroes When a Fire Starts

It’s always encouraging to hear about people helping each other in times of crisis. Human courage and compassion are wonderful things, and it is most certainly not the purpose of this post to argue that people should stop acting on them. What so often gets lost, however, while we’re cheering for the heroes of a disaster, is objective scrutiny of the disaster itself. Obviously, when a fire is actively burning, it’s not a good time to worry about what caused it or whose fault it is. The i...

Construction Contractors Are Responsible for Safety Even After the Job Is Done

We’ve often discussed on this blog how dangerous construction sites can be, and the responsibility that construction companies have to keep their workers and bystanders safe. We’ve also talked about property owners’ duties to make sure that any spaces open to employees or guests are free of unnecessary hazards. A construction company’s role in safety doesn’t necessarily end when a property opens for business, however. Contractors that develop, repair, and upgrade properties are responsi...

Apartment Building Landlords Are Responsible for Keeping Elevators Safe for Use

Unless a building is on fire, using the elevator should never be dangerous. Most of the time, it isn’t. Modern safety measures include plenty of redundancies to prevent malfunctions, and to ensure that any malfunctions that do occur will not present a danger to life or health. Unfortunately, not all apartment buildings follow these safety measures, which is why serious elevator accidents still sometimes happen. The state of Georgia holds landlords legally responsible for safe operation and...

Wood Pellet Plants Must Do Better at Keeping Workers Safe from Fire

Manufactured from plant matter recycled from other industries, wood pellets are an efficient, renewable fuel, and can also be used for pet bedding and a range of other applications. Unfortunately, the process of transforming plant waste into stable, convenient pellets involves exposure to sawdust, flammable chemicals, and heat-producing machinery. The procedure for making pellets safely is delicate and complex, and all too often, pellet mills don’t do what it takes to keep their workers sa...