Court Addresses Plaintiff’s Burden of Proof in Georgia Slip and Fall Lawsuits

Recently, a Georgia appellate court issued an opinion stemming from a defendant’s appeal of a trial court’s denial of their motion for summary judgment. The case arose after a woman suffered injuries at her apartment complex. The woman went to the apartment complex’s car cleaning area to vacuum her daughter’s car. As she stepped out of the car to reach for the vacuum, she tripped and fell backward. She subsequently filed a negligence lawsuit against the apartment complex, arguing that she fell on a foreign substance.

During the deposition, the woman conceded that she did not know what caused her to fall backward or what caused her foot to slip. However, when the woman’s attorney asked her about why she thought she fell, the woman responded that she believed she slid on slippery rocks. The woman further testified that the stones were dry, and she did not come into contact with any liquid. The defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that there was no evidence of any dangerous condition. The trial court denied the motion, holding that a jury could find that the rocks may have been slippery from the car wash area.

The appellate court reversed the trial court’s finding based on the plaintiff’s failure to present evidence of a dangerous condition. Under Georgia law, plaintiffs who do not prove the cause of their injuries cannot recover for their damages. In slip and fall cases, plaintiffs must establish the existence of a dangerous condition on the premises. Proof of a fall, without more, does not automatically create liability on the part of the business owner.

In this case, the law required the plaintiff to prove that the rock’s condition created an unreasonable hazard. However, she failed to present any evidence that the stones she stepped on were wet or amounted to a dangerous condition. Although, she speculated that there was water on the rocks from the car cleaning area, she failed to provide any corroborating evidence. Moreover, she previously testified that there was no water or liquid on the rocks, and she did not face a dangerous condition on the ground. Ultimately, the court found in favor of the defendant because the plaintiff failed to present any triable issue.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Georgia Slip and Fall Accident?

If you or someone you know has suffered serious injuries in a Georgia slip and fall accident, you should contact the attorneys at McAleer Law. Georgia slip and fall cases are rarely as straight forward as they seem at first glance, and these cases necessitate a thorough understanding and application of relevant Georgia case law and statutes. The attorneys at our law firm possess the unique knowledge and experience that these cases require. Our attorneys have successfully represented countless personal injury victims in their accident claims, successfully recovering substantial settlements and damages awards on their behalf. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation with one of our dedicated injury lawyers, call us at 404-622-5337. You can also contact us online at your convenience.