Georgia Court Dismisses Premises Liability Case Based on Plaintiff’s Equal Knowledge of the Hazard that Caused Her Fall

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.

When the plaintiff’s order was complete, she attempted to exit out the rolling door, but it was locked. While the plaintiff looked for another employee to inquire about an alternate exit, she was unable to find anyone to help her. The employee that told her to use the rolling door was occupied with other customers in his office, so the plaintiff left out the regular entrance.

As the plaintiff was exiting the studio, she slipped and fell, resulting in serious injury. The plaintiff then filed a personal injury lawsuit against the business. The defendant argued that the plaintiff had equal knowledge of the hazard which, under Georgia premises liability law, was fatal to her claim.

The plaintiff argued that the only reason she left out of the entrance door was because she did not want to get the employee that told her to use the rolling door fired. Thus, she argued that she had no viable alternative but to exit out the door where the hazard was located.

The court rejected the plaintiff’s argument and dismissed her case. The court explained that the plaintiff’s desire not to get the employee in trouble did not amount to the level of “coercion” necessary to establish that there was no other viable alternative. The court explained that, had the plaintiff’s own job been on the line, the result may have been different.

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 Georgia personal injury lawyers at McAleer Law have decades of experience representing injury victims and their families hold those responsible for their injuries accountable. We handle all Georgia personal injury lawsuits, including slip-and-fall accidentd, car accidents, and wrongful death cases. To learn more, call 404-622-5337 to schedule a free consultation today.

See More Posts:

Georgia Court Rejects University’s Claim of Immunity in Recent Wrongful Death Case, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, May 22, 2018.

Georgia Court Discusses Plaintiff’s Potential Failure to Comply with Terms of Insurance Contract, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, June 11, 2018.