A Georgia court of appeals recently reversed judgment in a slip and fall case in which a woman was badly injured at a church. The case is an example of why letting a case continue to a jury for a true judgment is risky, particularly when reasonable minds can disagree about the issue of liability. It is also an important lesson for property owners who invite the public to visit, and the responsibilities that entails. If you have questions regarding an injury you incurred on someone else’s property, reach out to an Atlanta premises liability lawyer today.
This case began in July of 2015 when a woman was leaving the funeral services for her mother. As if that event was not enough for her to deal with on that day, as she was leaving the church where the services were held, she was seriously injured after falling on the stairs. As a result she broke her leg, and sustained other serious injuries, as well.
The Evidence in This Case
This case, like most cases, began with the person injured filing a lawsuit against the allegedly negligent party. In this case it happened to the be the property owner because the allegations were that the property owner failed to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition for those members of the public invited onto the property. Following the filing of the lawsuit, the case continued onto the evidence collection phase.
As any Atlanta premises liability lawyer can tell you, the evidence collection phase of a personal injury lawsuit is perhaps the most important. This is where the case is made or lost. In this case the evidence was collected mostly through testimony at depositions, and here the evidence collected seemed to favor the woman who was injured.
The evidence collected showed that when she was leaving the funeral services, the woman was directed out the back entrance of the church, instead of the front. As she exited the church, she took one step down the narrow staircase, and then failed to find the next step. As she reached to support herself, she fell because there were no handrails there to support her. Even the property owner and agents to the owner admitted that the steps were a problem, and that they were concerned about the lack of a handrail.
Lower Court Throws Out Case
Despite all the evidence collected, and the fact that it could lead a jury to believe that the owners were negligent in how they kept the property, the trial judge threw the case case out. He ruled that there was no dispute of fact as to whether the owners were negligent, but the appeals court did not agree with this position.
In their opinion, the appeals court showed why this case had to go to a jury for deliberation. It was clear from the evidence collected that the property owners were concerned about the safety of the stairs, yet did nothing about them. Then a woman was injured on those very stairs. As any Atlanta area premises liability lawyer will tell you, that constitutes the kind of dispute that a jury must resolve, or that is settled prior to going to a jury. That is what is going to happen in this case.
Your Premises Liability Attorney in Atlanta
If you are injured because of an injury that happened on the property of another, consider contacting us today. At The Angell Law Firm we help victims slips and falls, negligent property management, and dangerous premises recover for the injuries they suffer. Contact the premises liability attorney in Atlanta that your case deserves. Contact us today.
(image courtesy of Sebastian Pociecha)