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Georgia Appellate Court Clarifies When Accumulated Rainfall Constitutes a Hazard

Earlier this month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a premises liability case that was brought by a college student who slipped and fell while walking from one class to another on a rainy day. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff presented enough evidence to survive the defendant’s summary judgment challenge, allowing her case to be submitted to a jury.

Rainy DayThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a student at Georgia Perimeter College. At the time she arrived at school, it was a nice day with clear weather. The plaintiff attended her first class, which was in a windowless classroom. After her first class ended, she went to her second class, which was in the same building and was also in a windowless classroom. Her second class ended at 11:15. During this time, the weather changed, and a rainstorm rolled in.

While the plaintiff was on the way to her third class, she slipped and fell in a puddle of water. The size of the puddle was contested, with the plaintiff claiming it consisted of “standing water,” and a professor who came to her aid estimating that there was less water present, about as much as if a wet paper towel had been wiped across the floor. The area where the plaintiff slipped was not near a door, and the water had been tracked in by fellow students.

The school moved for summary judgement, relying on previous case-law holding that anyone injured by slipping on rainwater on a rainy day should not be permitted to recover compensation for their injuries because they should have expected the ground to be slick, given the weather conditions. The plaintiff argued that the previous case-law was not applicable to this case, since the plaintiff had no idea that it had been raining outside because her classes had all been in windowless rooms. The trial court agreed with the school and dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

On Appeal, the Plaintiff Is Successful

On appeal, the court agreed with the plaintiff that the fact she was unaware of the rainy weather was relevant to her claim against the school. The court held that the rationale behind the previously decided case was that anyone who knew it was raining outside should be on notice that the ground may be slippery. Here, since the plaintiff didn’t have any knowledge of the weather outside, the rationale did not apply. The court noted that there was conflicting evidence regarding the amount of water on the floor at the time of the plaintiff’s fall. Thus, there was a genuine issue that needed to be resolved by the jury.

Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Slip-and-Fall Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Georgia slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated and knowledgeable attorneys at the Georgia-based McAleer Law Firm have extensive experience bringing a wide range of personal injury and wrongful death cases, including premises liability cases. To learn more about premises liability law in Georgia, and to speak with an attorney about your case, call 404-622-5337 to schedule a free consultation today.

See More Posts:

Georgia Court Determines Fast-Food Restaurant Did Not Have “Superior Knowledge” of Hazardous Condition that Allegedly Caused Plaintiff’s Fall, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, June 6, 2017.

Undue Nit-picking by Georgia’s Court of Appeals?, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, May 23, 2017.