Recently, the Court of Appeals of Georgia issued an opinion in a case concerning a ridiculous plaintiff’s personal injury lawsuit against a university. This student sued Valdosta State claiming that by putting here in the top bunk, they were responsible when she got drunk and fell out of bed months later!
The record indicates that the plaintiff moved into a dorm room that contained two lofted beds. The plaintiff wanted the bed in the lower position, but her roommate had already chosen that bed. The plaintiff submitted a request to the housing department to have her bed lowered; however, the request was never fulfilled. As a result, the plaintiff had to step on a desk to reach the top of her bed.
On the night of the accident, the plaintiff attended a Halloween party and consumed a few beers throughout the party. When she returned to her dorm room, she got into her bed. The last thing she remembers is falling out of her bed and blacking out. The incident resulted in serious injuries requiring surgery and a stay in the intensive care unit. The plaintiff had to withdraw from the university and could not continue her studies because of cognitive difficulties related to injuries she sustained from the fall.
The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the university, claiming that it was negligent in failing to install safety rails on the lofted beds. She further asserted that the university had notice of the risk because of similar incidents within the university system. The university filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the lofted bed was an “open and obvious” condition.
Under Georgia law, owners and occupiers are not “insurers of safety.” Therefore, to prevail on a premises liability claim, plaintiffs must meet specific evidentiary requirements. Plaintiffs must prove that the owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition, and that the plaintiff lacked knowledge of the condition, despite exhibiting ordinary care. Specifically, liability hinges on whether the owner had “superior knowledge” of the dangerous condition that would expose invitees to unreasonable risk. A plaintiff’s likelihood of success in a premises liability claim depends on whether the plaintiff knew about the specific hazard at issue. Generally, a party’s negligence or their lack of ordinary care is not susceptible to summary adjudication. However, in cases where evidence is undisputable, plain, and palpable, a trial court can decide whether a party is entitled to summary judgment.
In this case, there is no dispute regarding whether the defendant knew about the lofted bed in the plaintiff’s room. However, the evidence shows that the plaintiff had equal knowledge that the bed was raised and did not have safety rails. The court reasoned that the bed was a static condition that the plaintiff knew about, and that the danger of falling was apparent and avoidable. Therefore, the trial court erred in denying the defendant’s motion for summary judgment.
In other words, take responsibility for your own behavior! If you tend to get shit faced, sleep on the floor or put in rails.
Have You Suffered Injuries Because of Another’s Negligence?
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Georgia slip and fall accident, contact the attorneys at Simon Law. The attorneys at our law firm have extensive experience successfully resolving cases on behalf of Georgia injury victims. Our firm handles premises liability cases, defective product lawsuits, motor vehicle accident cases, and more. Contact our law firm at 404-259-7635 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our office.