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.
On appeal, the court ruled that the plaintiff had knowledge of the hazard, and thus the trial court was correct to rule in favor of the defendant. Because the plaintiff testified that she saw the employee cleaning another section of the floor and saw a “wet floor” sign as she exited the escalator before she fell, the court stated that the plaintiff had equal knowledge of the risk presented by the wet floors. Additionally, because there was a wet floor sign within the vicinity of the plaintiff’s fall and the plaintiff testified that she was looking straight ahead as she walked down the hall and there were no external issues affecting the lighting or her vision, the defendant had not breached a duty of care to her.
In Georgia, property owners cannot be held responsible for injuries caused by obstacles that the plaintiff had equal knowledge of. Because plaintiffs are expected to take reasonable care to avoid obstacles that are in plain sight, property owners often do not have a responsibility to warn people about obstacles in plain view because plaintiffs have the same awareness of the obstacle as the property owner. However, claims could be brought if the property owner or an employee of the property owner places objects or obstacles in a way that prevents an accident victim from seeing them.
Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Slip and Fall Incident?
If you or someone you know has been injured in a Georgia slip and fall accident, contact the lawyers at McAleer Law. Our experienced attorneys have successfully represented injury victims in all kinds of Georgia personal injury cases, recovering substantial amounts of compensation on their behalf. Contact our office today at 404-622-5337 to speak to a member of our team today.