Property owners should take steps to make their property reasonably safe for those they’ve invited onto the property. However, sometimes property owners ask visitors to sign waivers regarding accidents they may have on the property in order to avoid liability. In a recent Georgia appellate decision, the court considered a case in which the plaintiff sustained injuries during an event in which her daughter participated at the defendant’s facility. The defendant provided tumbling instruction, along with cheerleading team programs. It was hosting an exhibition of routines for parents on the day of the accident. The gym floor was covered with purple practice mats. There were two vendors there to promote services and goods.
The plaintiff’s daughter was part of a special needs team, which wasn’t a part of the defendant’s facility or teams, but rather a separate nonprofit that was allowed to practice in the facility. The special needs team was charged nothing for its use of the facility, but it was invited to be a part of the exhibition of routines. On the day of the accident, the special needs team performed later than was scheduled. Spectators whose children had yet to perform had to wait outside. Once they were let in, they were crammed together.
The plaintiff and her daughter couldn’t stay for the whole program after the special needs team performed. The mother went in search of her daughter. While walking towards her daughter’s team through the crowd, she fell from the mats about two feet to the concrete floor. Where she’d fallen hadn’t been demarcated with rope. After she fell, a facility employee called an ambulance. The hospital diagnosed her with four breaks that necessitated surgery and months of recovery.