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The “Superior Knowledge” Element of Georgia Premises Liability Lawsuits

Landowners have a duty to those whom they invite or allow onto their property. The nature and extent of the duty owed to a visitor depends on several factors, most notably the relationship between the parties. Thus, trespassers are owed the least amount of care and business invitees the most.When someone is injured on the property of another party, they may be entitled to compensation through a Georgia premises liability lawsuit. However, in order to succeed in a lawsuit against a defendant property owner, the victim must establish that the defendant violated the duty owed to the plaintiff. Most often, this is by failing to take some corrective action regarding a dangerous condition on the property.

One element of a Georgia premises liability lawsuit that is a frequent subject of litigation is the “superior knowledge” requirement. Essentially, a premises liability plaintiff must not only show that the defendant landowner knew (or should have known) of the hazard, but also that the landowner had superior knowledge of the hazard. A recent case illustrates how the Georgia Court of Appeals applies this rule.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a handyman who was helping the defendant put a bathroom in the defendant’s basement. At some point, the plaintiff needed to remove a large glass mirror that was affixed to the wooden framing of the basement. The mirror was glued to three two-by-fours. The plaintiff discussed the mirror’s removal with the defendant, and the two agreed the best option would be to use a pry bar to try to remove the mirror from the wood.

Initially, things went as planned. However, when the plaintiff was attempting to pry the mirror from the second two-by-four, the mirror shattered. The plaintiff was moving the pieces of the broken mirror to a garbage can in the defendant’s front yard when he cut himself on the glass, severing the tendons in his wrist.

The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the defendant, arguing that the defendant was aware of the danger presented by the mirror because the defendant had hung it several years before. The defendant argued that the plaintiff, as a contractor with 18 years of experience, was also aware of the dangers posed by the broken mirror. Indeed, the plaintiff admitted that he was aware of the broken glass when he was moving it and that he knew it could cut him.

The court rejected the plaintiff’s claim, finding that he failed to establish that the defendant possessed superior knowledge of the hazard. The court explained that the plaintiff and the defendant had equal knowledge, and thus the plaintiff’s case was insufficient as a matter of law.

Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured on the property of another party, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Georgia premises liability lawsuit. The dedicated Georgia injury attorneys at the McAleer Law Firm have extensive experience helping injured Georgians pursue the compensation they need and deserve. We provide free consultations to accident victims, and we do not charge clients for our services unless we are able to help in obtaining the compensation they deserve. Call 404-622-5337 to schedule your free consultation today.

See More Posts:

Farm Accident Results in Wrongful Death Case, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, December 12, 2017.

Georgia Statutes of Limitations in Personal Injury Lawsuits, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, January 3, 2018.