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Assumption of risk in premises liability cases

Bar, nightclub and concert venue owners in Georgia and around the country are expected to do all that they reasonably can to ensure the safety of their patrons, and they are usually held responsible when preventable accidents occur. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. Premises liability lawsuits may not be successful in circumstances where the plaintiffs failed to take reasonable steps to protect themselves from injury.

Assumption of risk arguments were made successfully in two premises liability cases. One of the cases was filed by a concertgoer who suffered a leg injury after being kicked from behind by aggressive dancers who were in what is known as a mosh pit. The property owner involved convinced the court that the concertgoer, who had attended many such events in the past, should have been aware that standing in close proximity to a mosh pit was dangerous.

The second case involved a tourist who slipped and injured herself while dancing on a bar. Her attorneys conceded that she had acted knowingly and willingly, but they argued that the bar owner should still be held responsible because patrons were encouraged to behave in this way. The court ruled that the tourist assumed the risk of slipping when she climbed onto the bar and dismissed the case.

Experienced personal injury attorneys may anticipate comparative negligence or assumption of risk defenses in premises liability cases, and they could seek to overcome them by arguing that premises owners negligently allowed dangerous practices to take place in order to increase business. Attorneys could also point out to their clients that assumption of risk arguments are rarely made successfully in this kind of litigation.

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