An elderly woman hired a roofer to clean the wet pine straw that accumulated on the roof and awnings of her house. While attempting to complete the task, the roofer fell and was injured when the awning he was cleaning detached from the side of the house. It was later discovered that the awning was initially installed correctly. But a painting contractor later removed the awning and then reattached it using nails instead of the correct bolts.
Georgia premises liability law states that the property owner is liable to guests on the property for injuries caused by the owner's failure to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises safe. The property owner has an affirmative duty to inspect the premises for any possible dangerous conditions and to take reasonable measures to protect guests from foreseeable dangers.
However, Georgia premises liability law does not hold the property owner strictly liable for injuries that occur on the property. Instead, the law requires the landowner to use the rule of due diligence of an ordinary prudent person to keep the property safe.
Applied to this case, there is no reason to believe that the homeowner should be liable for the roofer’s injuries. She did not have actual knowledge of the defective nails holding the awning to the house, nor was there any visible sign of sagging or buckling. There was no reason that the homeowner should have been put on notice that there might be a problem with the method used to attach the awning. Therefore, she cannot be held accountable for constructive knowledge either. As a result, the court ruled that the roofer could not recover for his injuries from the homeowner.
Posted in Personal Injury Tagged premises liability