Earlier this month, the state’s court of appeals issued a written opinion in a Georgia personal injury case that required the court to consider whether a tenant’s slip-and-fall accident could properly be brought against the condo association and property management firm responsible for the complex’s maintenance. Ultimately, the court concluded that the defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the plaintiff could not establish that a landlord-tenant relationship existed between herself and the defendants.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff rented a condo from the condo’s owner; however, the two never executed a formal written lease, relying only on an oral agreement. During her stay at the condo complex, the plaintiff complained to the condo association on several occasions that the stairwell leading to her condo was dark and without a handrail. The association took no action.
One day, the plaintiff slipped and fell when she was walking down the stairs. She filed a personal injury lawsuit against both the condominium association as well as the property management firm responsible for maintaining the complex.
In response to the plaintiff’s claim, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff should not be entitled to recover compensation for her injuries because she had equal or greater knowledge of the hazard that caused her fall. The plaintiff acknowledged the general rule that a premises liability plaintiff cannot recover if she had equal or greater knowledge of the hazard; however, she claimed that the “necessity rule” applied to her case. The necessity rule allows for a plaintiff to recover after a slip-and-fall involving a known hazard if that hazard must routinely be encountered as a normal part of daily living at a property. The trial court agreed with the plaintiff and denied the defendants’ motion. The defendants appealed.
On appeal, the Georgia Court of Appeals reversed the lower court. The court held that the necessity rule only applies when the plaintiff can establish a landlord-tenant relationship existed between the parties. Here, there was no evidence presented suggesting that such a relationship existed between the plaintiff and the defendants. Thus, the court reversed the lower court’s decision due to an incorrect application of law. As a result, the case was remanded back to the lower court to conduct the proper analysis.
Have You Been Injured in a Georgia Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Georgia slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Atlanta personal injury attorneys at the McAleer Law Firm have the knowledge, confidence, and skill to represent clients in any type of premises liability lawsuit, including those naming private landowners, businesses, and government entities. Call 404-622-5337 to schedule a free consultation with a dedicated attorney from the McAleer Law Firm today. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we can assist you in recovering for your injuries.
See More Posts:
Georgia Appellate Court Affirms Summary Judgment in Favor of Defendant in Recent Car Accident Case, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, July 5, 2017.
Georgia Appellate Court Clarifies When Accumulated Rainfall Constitutes a Hazard, Georgia Injury Attorney Blog, June 27, 2017.