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Court Finds Landowner May Be Liable for Injuries Even if Accident Occurs Off Premises

Earlier this month, a California court of appeals issued an opinion of interest to anyone injured while on or near the property of another party. In the case, Vasilenko v. Grace Family Church, the court allowed a plaintiff’s premises liability case to proceed against a church after injuries the man sustained while crossing the street to attend a church service. This is an interesting opinion because the church was in no way in control of the road where the plaintiff sustained his injuries.


The Facts of the Case

The defendant in the case, a church, operated two parking lots. The primary parking lot was directly adjacent to the church. However, once that lot filled up, volunteer parking attendants would direct traffic to the overflow lot, which was across a busy five-lane road. Once at the overflow lot, churchgoers were able to park but were not provided any assistance in crossing the road to get back to the church.

On the day in question, the plaintiff was directed to park in the overflow lot because the primary lot was full. He parked his car and attempted to cross the busy five-lane road to get to the church. However, as he did so, he was struck by a car, causing a serious injury. The plaintiff then filed a premises liability case against the church, arguing that the church was negligent in directing churchgoers to park in the overflow lot without providing them assistance to get back to the church safely.

The church’s position was that since the road where the injury occurred was not in its control at the time of the accident, the church did not have a legal duty to the plaintiff. The plaintiff claimed that a duty arose when the church directed him to park at the overflow lot.

The court hearing the case sided with the plaintiff, holding that under these circumstances, the church assumed a duty to the churchgoers it directed to the overflow parking lot. The court explained that the general rule in premises liability cases is that an injury occurring off the premises will not result in landowner liability. However, under these facts, when the church affirmatively directed churchgoers to the parking lot and then provided no assistance in crossing what was known to be a busy road, a duty was present.

Have You Been Injured in a Pedestrian Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Georgia pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation from one or more parties. As the case discussed above illustrates, there may be potentially liable parties other than the motorist who struck you. The skilled premises liability attorneys at Miller Legal Services have the experience necessary to properly evaluate a case and determine all potentially liable parties. With their help, you can rest at ease knowing you have an experienced advocate on your side who will fight tirelessly for your right to recovery. Call 770-284-3727 today to set up a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

The Element of Foreseeability in Georgia Personal Injury Cases, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 3, 2016.

Lawsuit Stemming from Unsafe Fence Dismissed Based on Plaintiff’s Failure to Submit Necessary Evidence of Negligence, Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, July 6, 2016.