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Atlanta Criminal Defense Lawyers > Blog > Personal Injury > Airbnb Guest Injured by Falling Vine Can Sue Property Owner

Airbnb Guest Injured by Falling Vine Can Sue Property Owner


If you are injured while an invited guest on someone else’s property, you have the right under Georgia law to sue the owner for damages. This is known as premises liability, and it covers situations where the owner failed to keep both their property–and any approaches to that property–in reasonably safe condition. In this context, an approach is any area adjacent to the property that is under the owner’s control and through which the owner has “induced or led others” to use as a means of entering or exiting the premises. For example, if you are injured on a driveway leading up to a person’s home, that would be considered an “approach” to the residence and you could sue the homeowner for damages.

“Unclaimed” Strip of Land May Still Be Under Defendant’s Control

But what if the approach is not technically owned by the owner of the premises? The Georgia Court of Appeals recently addressed such a scenario. In Drucker v. Morgan, the Court reinstated a personal injury lawsuit filed by a woman injured while staying at an Airbnb in Savannah. The defendants owned and operated the house in question. Prior to the plaintiff’s arrival, the defendants emailed her with instructions to park “either on the street or in the driveway near the front door.”

The driveway was actually located about 50 feet from the house. The plaintiff and her husband parked there. They also noticed there was a substantial amount of vegetation in the area, including a “long, thick vine hanging down near their car.” The next day, when the plaintiff returned to her car, her husband “placed his hand on the vine” and gave it a “light tug to see if it was sturdy.”

It turned out the vine was not sturdy. An 11-foot branch fell off the tree and struck the plaintiff. She sustained serious injuries as a result.

The plaintiff sued the defendants, alleging premises liability for the dangerous condition created by the vine. An expert witness retained by the plaintiff found the limb that fell on the plaintiff “was severely decayed and [had] been dead for years.” The plaintiff argued the defendants were liable for not taking corrective action to remedy a clearly identifiable long-term hazard on their property.

Only the defense argued it was not their property. The strip containing the driveway and the tree was located on a strip of “unclaimed land” which had no legally recorded owner. On this basis, the trial court dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit.

The Court of Appeals reversed, however, holding that a jury could find the defendants exercised “control” over the unclaimed strip because there was evidence that they effectively used the property as an “approach” to their rental house. Indeed, one of the defendants admitted in a deposition that he “defined the parking area” on the strip “by setting up barriers [and] preventing cars from driving onto a certain part of the ‘public way.'” As such, it was premature for the trial court to declare that the plaintiff was not injured on the approach to the defendant’s property.

Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers Today

Premises liability claims often raise complex factual questions that need to be resolved by a court. An experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyer can review your case and assist you in developing an effective strategy to assert your rights in court. Contact Hawkins Spizman Trial Lawyers today to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Georgia including Atlanta, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Cobb County, Fulton County, Gwinnett County, Johns Creek and Sandy Springs.



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