Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that clearly illustrates an issue that frequently arises in Indiana premises liability cases. The case involved a handyman who was seriously injured while moving a piece of glass while working at the defendant’s home. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff, who admitted to being aware of the risks involved with moving a sheet of glass, should be entitled to recover compensation for his injuries.
The defendant, a wheelchair-bound homeowner, hired the plaintiff to put in a bathroom in the defendant’s basement. Part of the job required the plaintiff to remove a large mirror that was glued to the basement’s wooden frame.
The plaintiff and the defendant decided that they would use a crowbar to remove the three wooden boards from the back of the glass. The first board was removed without incident. However, when the plaintiff removed the second board, the glass broke, leaving a sharp shard attached to the board. The plaintiff carried the board up to the front of the house and tossed it into a garbage can. However, somehow the glass that was attached to the wood sliced the plaintiff’s wrist, causing him serious and permanent injuries.
The plaintiff filed a premises liability action against the defendant, claiming that he was negligent in having the plaintiff move the glass. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant hung the glass himself several years ago, and he knew that it was glued to the boards. The defendant claimed that the plaintiff was aware of the risks involved with moving broken glass, and he should be precluded from recovering compensation for his injuries.
The trial court denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, and the defendant immediately appealed.
The Court’s Analysis
The court agreed with the defendant and reversed the lower court’s decision. The court explained that, in order to recover in a premises liability lawsuit, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant had superior knowledge of the hazard. Here, the plaintiff admitted that he knew of the dangers involved with moving broken glass, and the defendant did not have superior knowledge of the hazards involved.
Indiana Premises Liability Law
In Indiana, courts use a slightly different analysis when considering premises liability lawsuits insofar as the plaintiff’s knowledge of the hazard is concerned. In Indiana, the question is whether the hazard is “open and obvious.” If so, the plaintiff will not be entitled to compensation for their injuries unless there is some knowledge that the defendant had but did not disclose regarding the specific nature of the harm.
Have You Been Injured in an Indiana Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Indiana slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Indiana personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse have decades of experience handling all types of Indiana injury claims, and they provide a unique form of client-centered representation to each of their clients. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an attorney today, call 888-532-7766 or fill out our online form.
Court Dismisses Victim’s Case Against Ski Resort Due to Signed Release Waiver, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, February 1, 2018
Court Strictly Interprets Recreational Use Statute, Rejecting Plaintiff’s Premises Liability Claim, Indiana Injury Lawyer Blog, February 20, 2018