Recently, the Court of Appeals issued an opinion in a Georgia negligence lawsuit in which the victim filed against an electric company and its employee where trial court had foolishly held that there is no duty for people to walk down stairs in a prudent manner. This lends credence to my theory that during COVID, the caseloads are getting so bad that trial judges are erring on the side of granting summary judgment and tossing cases when they should not.
In the underlying injury case, the plaintiff contacted a electric company to service her home. On the day of the incident, the electric company’s employee came to the plaintiff’s home to inspect a heater in the basement. The plaintiff advised the employee to be careful because there was no lighting and no handrail. In response, the employee stated that they were fine; however, seconds later, they fell into the plaintiff, causing her to fall down the stairs and suffer serious injuries.
The plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging negligence against the employee and negligent hiring, training, and supervising against the company. The trial court found in favor of the defendant, and the plaintiff appealed, arguing amongst several issues, that the employee had a legal duty to exercise ordinary care while walking. The trial court stupidly held that the defendant had no duty to walk down stairs carefully. WTF?
In Georgia, a plaintiff asserting a negligence claim must meet specific elements to recover damages from the defendant. The fundamental legal inquiry in these cases is whether the defendant owed the victim a legal duty. The court examines whether a duty exists by looking at statutory laws or common law principles. The law distinguishes premises liability and negligence cases based on whether a condition on the premises caused the victim’s injuries. Essentially, premises liability is only applicable if the owner or occupier of the residence had control over the defective condition.
In this case, the plaintiff alleged that the defendant toppling onto her caused her injuries. Contrary to the defendant’s assertions, premises liability is not the correct framework in this case. Instead, the case presents a question of the employee’s active negligence. The plaintiff argued that the employee breached their duty of care to walk prudently and avoid colliding with her. The appellate court agreed with the plaintiff, reasoning that the correct inquiry was that of negligence, not premises liability. They found that the defendant’s contention that the accident occurred in a private home rather than a public place did not negate the employee’s duty of care. Ultimately, they held that the trial court erred in determining that the employee did not owe the victim a duty of care.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Georgia Slip and Fall?
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a Georgia slip and fall, contact Christopher Simon, Attorney at Law. Our law firm is comprised of highly skilled, respectful, and compassionate attorneys who are ready to take on even the most difficult insurance companies on behalf of our clients. We understand that each accident presents unique facts and challenges; thus, we provide clients with individualized attention. Our office handles lawsuits stemming from Georgia motor vehicle accidents, dog bites, wrongful death, bicycle accidents, premises liability claims, and more. We make sure to listen to our client’s concerns and present their options clearly and logically. Through our representation, our clients have recovered significant amounts of compensation for their losses. Contact our office at 404-259-7635, to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.