Articles Posted in Slip and Fall

Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia premises liability lawsuit discussing a legal doctrine that can be used by some plaintiffs to excuse their failure to notice a hazard on the defendant’s property.

Georgia Premises Liability Law

While landowners owe visitors a duty to maintain a safe location, courts will only impose liability on a landowner when the plaintiff can show that the landowner had superior knowledge of the hazard that caused the plaintiff’s fall. The idea is that a landowner cannot be negligent for failing to warn someone of a danger that they did not know existed.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was a frequent customer at the defendant hardware store. One day, the plaintiff was shopping for a specific item, and approached a sales associate in the garden section for assistance. The floor in the garden area was wet, and there were several “wet floor” signs placed around the area. The sale associate told the plaintiff to follow him, which the plaintiff did. As the plaintiff was following the sales associate, he slipped in a small puddle of water, and was seriously injured as a result.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia slip-and-fall case dismissing a plaintiff’s case based on her knowledge of the ice that she slipped on. The court had to determine if the plaintiff’s decision to exit out of the same door she entered through was fatal to her claim, when she knew that there was ice on the ground. Ultimately, the court concluded that it was and dismissed the plaintiff’s case.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was picking up an order for her employer at the defendant’s millwork studio. At the time, it was below freezing, and when the plaintiff entered through the front door she noticed that a water spigot had been left open and water was dripping out onto the ground. The water was not quite frozen, but it had formed a mixture of water and ice.

The plaintiff navigated the entrance to the studio without a problem, and when she got inside she told an employee about the hazard. The employee told her to leave out of another rolling door so as to not risk slipping on the ice. The employee explained not to tell anyone that he told her to use that door, because he could get fired for permitting her to use the rolling door.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia premises liability lawsuit brought by an office manager who slipped and fell after stepping in a puddle of water. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff’s case against the owner of the building was legally sufficient despite the plaintiff’s own conflicting testimony as to whether it was raining on the day of the accident.Ultimately, the court resolved the conflict in the plaintiff’s testimony against her, and it found that there was no issue of fact that needed to be resolved by a jury. Thus, the court entered judgment in the defendant’s favor.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was an office manager at a tax preparation company that was located in a building owned by the defendant. One day, the plaintiff was the first to enter the office, and as she did so, she slipped on a puddle of water that had gathered near the back office.

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Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a Georgia premises liability lawsuit requiring the court to interpret and discuss the state’s recreational use immunity statute. Ultimately, the court ruled in favor of the defendant landowner, basing its decision on the fact that the accident victim did not pay a fee to enter the stadium.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs took their daughter to a youth football game at the defendant stadium. The admission fee was $2 for adults and children over six years old. However, children under six were free. The plaintiffs paid $2 each for their own admission, and their young daughter was admitted for free.

During the game, the plaintiff’s daughter slipped through a gap in the bleachers and fell approximately 30 feet. As a result of the fall, the plaintiff’s daughter was seriously injured, and the plaintiffs filed a personal injury case against the stadium. The plaintiffs alleged that the stadium was negligent in the construction of the bleachers, allowing for a gap where a small child could slip through.

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Recently, a Georgia woman filed a lawsuit against a hotel after she sustained injuries when she slipped and fell on a wet sidewalk outside of the hotel. The hotel appealed after a trial court denied its motion for summary judgment. The appellate court was tasked with determining whether the plaintiff had superior knowledge of the hazardous condition and if she assumed the risk of the hazard.

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff and her grandchildren were staying at the hotel when they decided to go to the pool after dinner. After spending time at the pool, the plaintiff and her grandson decided to go back to their room. They took the same path to the hotel room that they had taken on their way to the pool. The woman’s grandson did not dry off and was walking in front of the plaintiff when the woman noticed that part of the sidewalk’s surface was peeling off. She warned her grandson to slow down, however, she ended up slipping and falling, resulting in serious injuries.

The woman filed a negligence lawsuit seeking to recover for the damages she suffered as a result of her fall. In support of her claim, she provided an expert affidavit, which stated that the defendant failed to maintain the sidewalk safely. The expert opined that the sidewalk’s deteriorated paint increased the likelihood that it would become slick and unsafe when it was wet.

The availability of evidence in a Georgia personal injury case can often make or break a lawsuit, especially when a party is acting in reliance on the opposition for certain information pertinent to the case. Unfortunately, bad actors will occasionally engage in the “spoliation of the evidence,” which can often have significant consequences in the course of a lawsuit.

In Georgia, “spoliation of evidence” can arise in many settings. According to Georgia law, spoliation involves “the destruction or failure to preserve evidence that is necessary to contemplated or pending litigation.” This could mean that an individual purposely destroyed or chose not to preserve necessary evidence – common examples are intentionally getting rid of camera footage or destroying paperwork.  In addition, the evidence in question must be necessary and serve a central purpose in the case. A spoliation of the evidence claim can only prevail if the individual in control of the evidence is aware that there is or could be a lawsuit. As long as a claim is “reasonably foreseeable,” then they are responsible for saving relevant documents and materials.

In a recent Georgia Court of Appeals decision, a couple sued a restaurant entity for negligence after their minor son was injured on an outdoor restaurant playground at one of the restaurant’s franchise locations. While waiting on a table, the children played on the outdoor playground. It was a sunny, 80- to 90-degree day, and one of the plaintiffs concluded that the floor was “pretty warm, but no big deal.” Soon after, he discovered that the bottom of his 19-month-old son’s feet were badly burned. His son was subsequently taken to a local emergency room for treatment.

With the school year well underway, many students have returned to their college campuses. Whether your child is just starting their college journey or returning for their final year, no one expects to get hurt while living on campus. However, when these accidents occur, those responsible for causing the accident can often be held liable for any resulting injuries.

In a recent Georgia Court of Appeals opinion, a student sued a university after she suffered an accident in her dorm room. When the student moved in to begin her freshman year of college, her dorm room had two raised beds. One of the beds was higher than the other, and by the time the plaintiff arrived, her roommate had already chosen the lower bed. Initially, the plaintiff wanted to lower her bed, and submitted an online maintenance request, but the school never fulfilled the request. In addition, there was no ladder for the plaintiff to climb into the bed. Thus, to get onto her bed, the student had to step on a desk first and then climb in.

Following a Halloween party and a few drinks, the plaintiff arrived home and fell asleep. She fell out of her lofted bed, blacked out, and suffered serious injuries. After the accident, the plaintiff had to medically withdraw from her classes and was only able to return briefly in the spring before withdrawing again because of the severity of her injuries. For the brief time the plaintiff was back at school that Spring, she purchased a bed rail on her own and lowered the height of her bed to that of her roommate’s. Subsequently, the plaintiff sued the university, claiming it was negligent in failing to provide safety rails on the raised bed. She argued that the university’s failure to do so was the proximate cause of her injuries. The university appealed after unsuccessfully moving for summary judgment.

Although a lawsuit may seem straightforward as a dispute between two or more parties, there are often many procedural details that occur behind the scenes that act as stepping stones in the course of litigation. Understanding and navigating these procedural requirements can often be challenging, but can also save parties time and money during the course of a lawsuit when appropriately handled by an experienced Georgia personal injury lawyer.

In a recent Georgia Court of Appeals case, the court considered a misunderstanding in a dispute concerning an important procedural issue. The plaintiff filed a suit against the defendant for a slip and fall action four days before the statute of limitations for her case was set to expire. The plaintiff did not serve the defendant until 12 weeks later. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss the case on the ground that the plaintiff had failed to present evidence that she had exercised proper diligence in attempting service after the statute of limitations expired.

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court’s decision, siding with the plaintiff. Because the plaintiff’s counsel was a member of the Georgia General Assembly, he was entitled to a statutory leave of court, which he had properly requested. This meant that the plaintiff’s counsel was entitled to an extension and temporarily relief from responding to the motions. Further, because the plaintiff relied on the court approving a scheduling order that both parties agreed to, the trial court erred in granting a motion to dismiss because the plaintiff was within the correct time frame and had no further obligation to respond.

We’ve all seen a “wet floor” sign at some point in our lives. Maybe you’ve even been unlucky and slipped on an unknown substance while grocery shopping. When slip and fall accidents occur as a result of another’s negligence, the business or individual who owns the property may be held liable through a Georgia premises liability lawsuit.

In a recent Georgia Court of Appeals decision, a plaintiff slipped and fell on a wet floor at the Atlanta airport where she was employed and sued the defendant for negligence, arguing that the defendant had superior knowledge of the slippery floor and a duty to warn her of the hazard. Because they failed to warn her, the plaintiff argued that the defendant breached its duty and failed to exercise ordinary care.

On the day of the incident, the plaintiff had completed her shift in the airport atrium and proceeded down the escalator to stop at an office to turn in her paperwork and cash. As she stepped off the escalator, she noticed a man cleaning the floors to her left and a “wet floor” sign posted nearby. As she was walking to the office, she turned to the right and slipped and fell. Landing on her right side, she hit her head and briefly lost consciousness. When she regained consciousness, her clothes were wet, but there was no visible water on the floor and there were no visible wet floor signs near where she fell. Following the accident, the plaintiff suffered from blurred vision and significant neck and spinal injuries that required surgery. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, and the plaintiff appealed.

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in an appeal from a judgment in favor of a plaintiff in her lawsuit against the City of Atlanta. The woman filed a lawsuit to recover for damages she incurred after driving into an open manhole. The woman contended that the government should be liable for her injuries because the manhole was a public nuisance. The city appealed a jury finding in favor of the woman, arguing that the woman did not meet her evidentiary burden.

Under Georgia law, a municipality “may be held liable for damages it causes to a third party from the operation or maintenance of a nuisance, irrespective of whether it is exercising a governmental or municipal function.” To recover for damages plaintiffs must present evidence that:

  1. The severity of the defect is a result of conduct that exceeds mere negligence;
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