Articles Posted in Slip and Fall Accidents

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Earlier this month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a wrongful death case brought by the parents of a young boy who died after he fell while the teacher was out of the classroom. In the case, Barnett v. Atlanta Independent School System, the court determined that a teacher’s decision related to the control and supervision of students is a discretionary one that is entitled to immunity.

ClassroomThe Facts of the Case

In October 2008, Antoine Williams, a seventh-grade student, fell on the floor while horse-playing with another student. Williams’ teacher was not in the classroom at the time and did not return until approximately 30 minutes after Williams’ fall. Upon her return, the teacher called 911, and Williams was taken to the hospital, but sadly Williams died due to a loss of blood.

After the accident, the school’s principal conducted an investigation into the accident. When asked, the teacher initially told the principal she was in the room when Williams fell after complaining of a bloody nose. However, that was later shown to be a false statement, and the teacher admitted to not being in the room.

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Earlier last month, an appellate court in North Dakota issued a written opinion affirming the dismissal of a plaintiff’s premises liability lawsuit against the government entity in charge of maintaining the park where the plaintiff’s injury occurred. In the case, Frith v. City of Fargo, the court clarified that the applicable statute of limitations in the plaintiff’s case imposed a three-year timeframe in which the lawsuit must be filed. Since the plaintiff filed her lawsuit after three years had elapsed since her injury, the lower court was proper in dismissing the lawsuit.

FootpathThe Plaintiff Trips While Rollerblading in a Park Maintained by the Defendant

The plaintiff, Frith, was injured on July 7, 2012, when she fell while rollerblading in Fargo Park, a park that was operated by the defendant. Evidently, Frith ran over an area of soft material used to cover up cracks in the pavement. As she ran over the patching material, she lost her balance and fell.

Frith filed a premises liability lawsuit against the Park District of the City of Fargo, claiming that the City was negligent in allowing the dangerous condition to exist on the pathway. The lawsuit was initially filed in July 2015, just days before the three-year anniversary of the injury. However, since the plaintiff failed to properly serve the City, she had to re-serve the City, and the lawsuit was not technically filed until September, when the plaintiff effectuated proper service.

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Earlier last month, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in a premises liability case brought by a woman who slipped and fell in the defendant’s grocery store. In the case, Youngblood v. All American Quality Foods, the court ultimately determined that there was insufficient evidence showing that the defendant grocery store knew of the dangerous condition causing Youngblood’s fall. The court also held that, even if the defendant did have actual knowledge of the hazardous condition, store employees took reasonable care in tending to it.

Wet FloorThe Facts

Youngblood was shopping at the defendant grocery store when she slipped in a puddle of water in the beverage aisle. There was no evidence indicating where the puddle of water came from, and Youngblood testified that she did not see the puddle before stepping in it. At some point around the same time as Youngblood’s fall, another customer told the store’s management that there was a spill in the beverage aisle. It was not established whether this was before or after Youngblood’s fall. However, by the time a store employee arrived at the spill with cleaning supplies, Youngblood had already fallen.

As a result of her fall, Youngblood sustained injuries and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the store. The store argued that there was no proof that it had knowledge of the spill prior to Youngblood’s fall, and even if the other customer did alert management to the spill moments before the fall, the employees acted in a reasonable manner in tending to the spill.

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Earlier this month in Michigan, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a premises liability case, answering the question of whether photographic evidence of an uneven sidewalk taken 30 days after the injury was sufficient to raise a question regarding the defendant’s liability. In the case, Bernardoni v. City of Saginaw, the court ultimately concluded that the evidence submitted by the plaintiff was not sufficient to survive a summary judgment challenge by the defense, and it affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s case.

Feet on PavementThe Facts of the Case

Ms. Bernardoni was injured when she fell after tripping on two uneven slabs on concrete on a sidewalk in Saginaw, Michigan. She filed a premises liability lawsuit against the City, alleging that the City was negligent in maintaining the sidewalk and that the City’s negligence contributed to her injury. Along with her claim, she submitted a sworn affidavit stating that it was her belief – although she was not certain – that the dangerous condition existed for at least 30 days prior to her fall. She also provided the court with pictures of the uneven sidewalk that were taken by her husband about 30 days after her fall.

The City responded with a request for the court to dismiss the case under the theory of governmental immunity. The City argued that, in general, government organizations are immune from lawsuits arising from potentially negligent acts made in furtherance of government business. Furthermore, the specific facts of this case did not give rise to the “highway exception” to government immunity.

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Earlier this month, a Michigan appellate court issued a written opinion in a government liability case arising from uneven pavement that allegedly caused the plaintiff to trip and injure herself. In the case, Kozak v. City of Lincoln Park, the court determined that the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to the court to prevent dismissal at the summary judgment stage.

HighwayThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff filed this negligence lawsuit after she tripped and fell while crossing a street in Lincoln Park, Michigan. Evidently, as she was approaching the middle point of the roadway, there were two concrete slabs that were not perfectly lined up, leaving a three-inch elevation differential.

In a pre-trial motions hearing, the defense asked the court to dismiss the case, based on the immunity that government agencies have when carrying out government functions. In response, the plaintiff cited a state statute that specifically exempts the maintenance of a highway from governmental immunity. This “highway exception” requires governments in control of roadways in the jurisdiction to ensure that they are “reasonably safe and convenient for public travel.” The exception also creates a cause of action against the government agency for anyone injured as a result of the government’s failure to comply with the requirements.

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Earlier this month, one state’s supreme court issued an opinion in a premises liability case reversing what was a favorable verdict to the plaintiff based on errors the trial judge made in instructing the jury. In the case, Alcala v. Marriott International, the court determined that there was no basis for several of the court’s instructions to the jury, and since the jury returned a general verdict, not specifying under which theory the defendant was negligent, a new trial was required.

Brick PathThe Facts of the Case

Alcala was staying at a Marriott hotel when she slipped and fell on some ice that had accumulated outside one of the hotel’s main entrances. At trial, an employee on duty at the time of the accident testified that she would shovel the snow and then apply a deicer to melt any residual ice underneath the accumulated snow. She testified that no one told her too much deicer could prevent the substance from working.

Experts also testified for each side. Alcala’s expert focused on how slippery the sidewalk was when it was covered in ice, asserting that the industry standard was to apply a deicing agent when necessary. Marriott’s expert, however, focused on the concrete itself, explaining that the industry standard is to “broom finish” the concrete to give it traction, but there was no industry standard for when to apply a deicing agent.

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Earlier last month, an appellate court in Delaware issued an opinion affirming the dismissal of a premises liability lawsuit against a gym, based on the fact that the plaintiffs had signed a valid liability release waiver. In the case, Ketler v. PFPA, the court determined that the release waiver signed by the plaintiffs was permissible under the law and thus was enforceable against the plaintiffs.

muscles-up-musculos-para-cim-1516632Ketler v. PFPA: The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were a couple who joined the defendant gym for $10 a month. Before they were able to join, the gym requested that they sign a liability release waiver, acknowledging the risks involved in using the facility and also releasing the gym from liability for any injury that was caused by the negligence of the gym or any of its employees. The Ketlers signed the waiver.

Three years after joining the gym, Mr. Ketler was injured when a cable on the rowing machine he was using snapped. He and his wife filed suit against the gym, arguing that the gym’s negligence in failing to properly maintain the equipment was what caused Mr. Ketler’s injuries.

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Earlier last month, the Texas Supreme Court handed down a decision that illuminates a very important issue for all people who have been injured while on the premises of a hospital or doctor’s office, but not necessarily injured due to a doctor’s medical negligence.

slippery-when-wet-1549497In the case, Galvan v. Memorial Hermann Hospital System, the court allowed a plaintiff’s case to continue towards trial despite the fact that the plaintiff failed to submit documents that were necessary for a medical malpractice case under state law. The court came to its decision by analyzing the alleged negligence and determining that it was not a medical malpractice case, so the plaintiff should not be required to comply with the additional procedural requirements present in medical malpractice cases.

A Woman Slips in a Hospital

The facts of the case are simple in that the plaintiff slipped and fell on a puddle of water while visiting a loved one at the defendant’s hospital. She filed suit against the hospital for failing to maintain a safe property for visitors. In the plaintiff’s mind, this was a premises liability lawsuit.

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In Georgia, as in the majority of other states, establishing negligence is a requirement when an individual brings a premises liability claim against an individual or company. A victim or their family member may bring a claim against an individual person or the owner of a company. However, it is important that a victim understands that a business operator or private landowner will not necessarily be held responsible just because an injury occurred on their property.

Under Georgia law, an individual bringing a premises liability case must show that the other party was legally responsible for their injury. The manner in which this is proven and the specifics that must be shown vary with each case. However, it will likely require that the plaintiff show that the injury occurred because the other party did not keep their property reasonably free of dangers that they should have known to exist.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Some common instances in which these types of injuries occur are when a person is enjoying an outdoor activity at an amusement park or ski resort, when they are hurt in a swimming pool, or when they slip and fall in a parking lot of a shopping center. There are many issues that arise in these cases because often entertainment facilities require individuals to sign liability waivers. Even when there is no liability waiver signed, establishing fault on the part of a landowner can still be difficult. It is highly recommended that victims seek legal representation so that they are able to meet all of the prerequisites to filing this type of claim.

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Earlier this month, the Georgia Supreme Court decided a case arising out of a slip-and-fall accident that occurred at a hospital. The case required the court to determine if the heightened requirements of a medical malpractice lawsuit applied to the plaintiff’s premises liability case. The court ultimately determined that the plaintiff’s case need not comply with the medical malpractice requirements because there was no connection between the alleged negligence and the hospital’s provision of medical services.

attention-1315471In the case, Reddic v. East Texas Medical Center Regional Health Care System, the plaintiff slipped and fell a few feet after entering the hospital. The plaintiff filed suit under a premises liability theory. In a pre-trial motion, the defendant asked the court to dismiss the case against them because the plaintiff did not comply with the medical malpractice procedural requirements. Specifically, the plaintiff did not file an expert report supporting her position.

The trial court denied the defendant’s motion, and the defendant appealed to the appellate court. The appellate court, finding a connection between the condition of the floor and the hospital’s business as a health care provider, reversed the trial court and granted the defendant’s motion.

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