In a recent Georgia personal injury action, the plaintiff sued the defendant, who worked for an electrical services company, when she fell on her as they walked down a staircase in her home. The plaintiff had asked the company for electrical services. Its two employees, one of whom was the defendant, met her to inspect her water heater and heater in her basement. There were windows in the basement that provided some lighting, but there was no direct lighting on the stairs.
The plaintiff was wearing clogs with two and a half inch heels. The staircase had a preconstruction step and a split platform. The plaintiff told the electric company employees to take care because there wasn’t a handrail. The defendant wasn’t worried about the lack of handrail and used her left hand to sweep the wall and keep balance. The plaintiff walked down first, the defendant walked behind her, with another electric company employee bringing up the rear. However, as the defendant came to the split platform, she fell and knocked the plaintiff down. She fell on top of the plaintiff on the concrete floor of the basement.
The plaintiff was taken to the hospital. The defendant testified she didn’t know what caused her fall, but later she told the plaintiff she fell simply because she lost her balance. The defendant completed an accident report that stated she fell because of the design of the premises and she hadn’t paid attention to footing. She photographed the scene later and decided she’d lost her balance because her shoe heel had passed through a gap in the staircase. However, the staircase passed the County’s inspection.