Question of Liability - Injuries Sustained After a Fall in a Hotel Tub
Georgia Slip and Fall Attorneys Montlick & Associates Addresses Question of Liability
A case decided in the First Division of the Georgia Court of Appeals could limit a hotel's liability for dangerous conditions that caused a slip and fall. The decision came down on February 1, 2018. At first glance, the decision may seem to excuse hotels from responsibility for damages a guest suffers after falling on the hotel premises. Georgia law will allow the hotel guest to recover damages, but the hotel guest must prove that the fall was more than an accident.
The Facts of the Case are Critical to a Successful Outcome
The parties in the case did not dispute the facts. A 65-year-old woman suffering from rheumatoid arthritis entered the bathtub to take a shower. The woman noted that the shower appeared to be clean and dry when she got in to begin bathing. The victim started lathering herself with soap with the water running, but then her legs went out from underneath her, and she crashed down in the bathtub. The fall caused her to suffer substantial personal injuries.
The woman sued the hotel to recover personal injuries. The woman claimed that the hotel breached their duty of care a hotel owes to a hotel guest. Also, the woman argued that the hotel was per se negligent for failing to comply with a new regulation. Lawyers for the hotel asked the plaintiff on what she believes she fell. The woman assumed something was wrong because she was not doing anything except lathering herself when she fell.
Regrettably, the court dismissed all of her claims.
Negligence Per Se
The plaintiff cited a Georgia state regulation that obligates hotel proprietors to use anti-slip devices in showers. The shower in which the plaintiff fell did not have anti-slip equipment in place at the time of the fall. Unfortunately for the plaintiff, the regulation in issue did not become law until six (6) months after her fall. Therefore, the hotel had no obligation to install the devices required by the regulation.
"Unreasonable Risk of Harm"
The appellate court ruled the trial court correctly dismissed the plaintiff's case. The law of slip and fall in Georgia is clear. Invitees, such as hotel guests, have a reasonable expectation of safety. However, landowners are not "insurers" of everyone's safety. A slip and fall plaintiff in Georgia can win damages if the plaintiff can prove that the owner/occupier either knew or should have known about a condition that created the "unreasonable risk of harm" and the plaintiff had less knowledge of the dangerous condition than the defendant. Just because someone fell does not mean the hotel owner is liable for damages. The plaintiff must show through expert testimony or by another means that the tub or the floor had a defect or was otherwise unreasonably dangerous. Without more, sometimes a floor is just slippery when wet.
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If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of accident caused by someone else's negligence, contact Montlick & Associates today for your free consultation with our experienced Premises Liability Lawyers in Georgia. Montlick & Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 36 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
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Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law
17 Executive Park Dr NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
Telephone: 1 (800) LAW-NEED
Telephone: 1 (404) 529-6333