Each personal injury action presents a different set of facts that have the potential to alter the outcome of the case. In slip and fall cases, also known as “premises liability” actions, plaintiffs must plead and prove certain required elements in order to establish liability and recover for their injuries. The extent to which a plaintiff successfully pleads and proves a negligence case will directly impact his or her right to a recovery for damages. If you have sustained an injury due to another’s negligence, it is critical that you contact an Atlanta area injury attorney as soon as possible after the incident occurs to preserve and protect your rights.
In a recent case, Austin v. Clark, et al., Ga. Sup. Ct. (2014), the Georgia Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s decision granting the defendant’s motion to dismiss based on official immunity. Essentially, the Court allowed the case to move forward so that the parties would have ample opportunity to conduct a sufficient amount of discovery to either prove or disprove the asserted claims. Here, the plaintiff, Donna Austin, brought a personal injury action against the Superintendent of Peach County Schools and various other school administrators (hereinafter “Clark”), seeking damages that she allegedly sustained from a fall on a sidewalk at the high school after attending a graduation ceremony.
Specifically, plaintiff claimed that while she was on school district property, she stepped into a roadway from the sidewalk and her leg got caught in an opening on the area where water drains from the road. Austin alleged that the defendants in this case negligently performed the “ministerial” duties of inspection, maintenance and repair of the sidewalk and road where the accident occurred. The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the claims were barred by the doctrine of official immunity. The trial court agreed with defendants and granted the motion. The court of appeals affirmed the decision. The Georgia Supreme Court agreed to hear the case to determine whether the defendants were entitled to the motion to dismiss based on the doctrine of official immunity. Continue reading