Whether you can hold a property owner accountable for premises liability can depend partly on your reason for being on the property, whether you’re an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. In a recent Georgia premises liability lawsuit, a plaintiff was hurt when she tripped and fell down the stairs in a man’s backyard. The defendant had allowed his friend to have a birthday party at his house. The friend wanted to sit on the back porch by the pool to listen to music at the birthday party. There were brick stairs in the backyard, which had tiers. He’d purchased the property 20 years before, and the stairs had been there when he bought it.
The plaintiff was a friend of the woman having her birthday at the defendant’s house. When the plaintiff got to the house, she walked on a path to the back of the defendant’s house and arrived at some brick stairs leading to the area by the pool. She claimed that the lights were dim in that area.
As the plaintiff walked down the stairs, she looked forward, but not down. Her foot hit something and this caused her to trip. Later when she was being carried into the house after the fall, she noticed that there was an orange extension cord lying over three or four stairs where she’d tripped. However, she hadn’t seen the extension cord before falling and didn’t know who placed the cord there or how long it had been there.