Georgia Court Interprets Recreational Use Statute, Affirming Dismissal of Slip-and-Fall Case

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.

In response to the plaintiffs’ claim, the defendant argued that it could not be held liable under the state’s Recreational Properties Act (RPA). Under the Recreational Properties Act, a landowner cannot be held liable for injuries to someone they allow onto their land for recreational purposes, as long as they do not charge a fee.

The plaintiffs claimed that the RPA did not apply here because the stadium did charge admission to enter the property, and only young children were exempted from the fee. The court, however, disagreed. The court explained that the statute was clearly written, and it was the court’s duty to apply the statute as written. Since the statute states that a landowner cannot be liable when no fee is charged, and the stadium did not charge a fee, the court held that the plaintiff’s case should be dismissed.

The court also noted that its holding was in line with the purposes of the RPA, which was to limit the liability of landowners in hopes of encouraging them to open their land for free public use. Importantly, the RPS will not apply in cases involving intentional or grossly negligent conduct on the landowner’s part.

Have You Been Injured in a 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. This may even be the case if you were engaging in a recreational activity at the time of your injury. The dedicated Georgia personal injury attorneys at McAleer Law have extensive experience handling all types of Georgia injury cases. To learn more, and to speak with an attorney about your case, call 404-622-5337. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we are able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

See More Posts:

Georgia Court Discusses Government Immunity in Recent Car Accident Case, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, January 10, 2018.

Georgia Court Determines Steep Stairway Without Handrail May Constitute Hazard in Recent Premises Liability Case, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, December 4, 2017.

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