Court Determines Puddle of Rainwater Did Not Constitute “Dangerous Condition” in Premises Liability Case

Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a premises liability case brought by a woman who was injured when she slipped and fell after stepping in a puddle on a train platform. The appellate court ultimately affirmed the lower court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of the defendant, finding that the accumulated rainwater was not a dangerous condition as defined under the law.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was attempting to catch a train that was operated by the defendant transportation agency. As the plaintiff approached the train, she walked on a covered concrete platform. Since it had been raining earlier that day, there was a puddle near the door to the platform.

The plaintiff told the court that she saw the puddle but did not think it would be slippery. However, as she stepped in it, she slipped and fell. The plaintiff was injured as a result and filed a premises liability lawsuit against the transportation agency, claiming that it was negligent in allowing the puddle of water to form.

The plaintiff testified that the area where the puddle had formed was darker, as though water had been accumulating there for a period of months or years. However, as the transportation agency pointed out, there had been no previous incidents involving falls on the platform. The transportation agency moved for summary judgment, and the trial court granted the motion. The plaintiff appealed.

The Court’s Opinion

The court affirmed the lower court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the defendant. The court explained that the plaintiff knew that it was raining, and it is common for water to accumulate in small amounts on rainy days. The court held that the mere presence of a small puddle of rainwater on a rainy day does not constitute a dangerous hazard.

The court continued its analysis by noting that no evidence presented suggested that the puddle was especially large or that it had been there for a long time. The court acknowledged that the plaintiff had testified that the area where she slipped was darker. However, without an expert witness to explain that the concrete was dark due to accumulating water, the court determined the argument was based solely on speculation and was without merit.

Have You Been Injured on Public Transportation?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a slip-and-fall accident or while riding on public transportation, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled injury attorneys at the Maryland-based law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience handling all types of personal injury matters, including those arising out of slip-and-fall accidents. Our team of dedicated advocates understands the nuances of Maryland personal injury law and works diligently in pursuit of our clients’ goals. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Expert Testimony Fails to Establish Causation in Medical Malpractice Lawsuit, Maryland Accident Law Blog, March 27, 2017.

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide and What Can Be Done to Prevent Exposure, Maryland Accident Law Blog, April 10, 2017.

Contact Information