The Georgia Supreme Court has had a busy calendar this year involving all aspects of personal injury law. A recent decision by the state’s High Court will have an important impact on future cases involving premises liability and public events. The case is important because it narrows the situations in which a person can recover under Georgia premises liability law. If you were injured at a public event, an Atlanta premises liability lawyer can help you navigate your case.
The case at hand, Garden City v. Harris, goes back to November of 2012 when a family went to a youth football game. The parent’s daughter, a 6-year-old, was walking on the bleachers when she slipped between the seats and fell more than 30 feet, seriously injuring herself. As you can imagine, the cost to treat and help this girl after her fall was tremendous.
Georgia Premises Liability in General
The above fact pattern is consistent with many cases involving premises liability. The idea behind premises liability is to hold property owners accountable for the condition of their property when they invite someone (or the public) onto their property. If the property’s condition presents a risk and someone gets hurt, then the owner should be made to pay for the damages caused.
The law regulating premises liability law in Georgia is found in O.C.G.A. § 51-3-1. That law simply states that a property owner is liable for injuries caused on his or her property when he or she fails to take ordinary care in keeping the property safe for the people invited onto the property. This is not an absolute rule. In fact, as any Atlanta premises liability lawyer will tell you that there are exceptions to this rule.
Exception to Premises Liability in Georgia
There is an exception to the general rule of liability for property owners under Georgia law. This is the exception discussed and decided by the Georgia Supreme Court in their recent decision. That exception is found in O.C.G.A. § 51-3-23, and states that owners of recreational facilities will not be held liable for injuries on their property when the owner does not charge the person entry into the facility.
The reason this was a difficult case, and why it came to the Georgia Supreme Court, is because in this case the parents paid to get into the event, but children 6 years of age and younger were allowed in free of charge. So, the person injured in this case, the 6-year-old, did not pay, while the public at large did. The High Court took a conservative line and said that because she did not pay, she could not recover for her injuries in this case.
Your Premises Liability Attorney in Atlanta
This was a difficult result for the family of this young girl, and shows how difficult premises liability cases can be in general. These and other laws are constantly changing over time, and require the expertise and knowledge of and experienced premises liability attorney serving Atlanta. If you have been injured on the property of another in the Atlanta area, contact us. At The Angell Law Firm we will help you understand what you options are, and what steps you need to take going forward.
(image courtesy of Joshua Allwood)