Earlier this month, one state’s supreme court handed down an opinion in a premises liability case involving a woman who was seriously injured while attending a firework display at her local fairground. In the case, Woody v. Pembina County Annual Fair & Exhibition Association, the court ultimately determined that the defendant was immune from liability based on an exception to the general rule that landowners owe a duty of care to those they invite onto their property.
Woody was attending a free firework display at her local fairground. As she was looking for a seat in the wooden grandstand, she stepped on a piece of rotten floorboard and fell to the ground, seriously injuring herself as a result. After recovering from her injuries, she filed a premises liability lawsuit against the fairground, claiming that it was responsible for her injuries because of its failure to keep the grandstand in safe working order.
Generally speaking, landowners have a duty to make sure that their property is safe for those they invite onto their land. This often includes a duty to inspect the premises for dangers that may not be apparent to visitors and may catch them off guard. As common sense would dictate, the level of responsibility to a visitor depends on the relationship between the property owner and the visitor. For example, the duty a landowner owes to a trespasser is far different from that owed to a customer visiting a commercial establishment.
In Woody’s case, the court determined that, although Woody was invited to be on the land, the fairground didn’t owe her a duty to keep the grounds safe. This was not based on the relationship between the parties but instead was based on the purpose for which Woody was on the land: for recreational use.
Georgia, as well as most other states, has a “Recreational Use” statute in effect that exempts landowners who open their land to recreational use by the general public from legal liability. The court in Woody’s case determined that since the firework show was free, the fairground could not be held liable for injuries caused during the show. Of course, if the fairground charged a fee to enter the show, the situation would be different because the fairground would be engaging in commercial activity.
Have You Been Injured in a Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Georgia slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries you sustained. However, depending on where the injury occurred, who owns the land, and what brought you onto the land, varying laws may apply. To learn more about this complex area of the law, contact Miller Legal Services, a Georgia personal injury law firm, at 770-284-3727. The skilled attorneys at Miller Legal Services have decades of experience bringing cases on behalf of injured Georgians and know what it takes to be successful for their clients. Call today to set up your free consultation.
More Blog Posts:
Negligent Drivers Injured in Georgia Auto Accidents May Still be Entitled to Compensation, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 25, 2016.
Georgia Governing Law on Damages That a Plaintiff May Be Awarded in a Personal Injury Lawsuit, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, March 10, 2016.