Georgia residents who either own a property or frequent one where certain dangers are present should know about a premises liability case in California that ended in an interesting court decision. Back in July 2013, a woman at a golf club in Napa Valley was taking private golf lessons when she was swarmed by yellow jackets at the fifth hole. These wasps are predatory and can attack without any provocation. The woman was stung more than 50 times and, according to paramedics, was within 15 seconds of dying. Her physical recovery cost her over a month of work, and her development of a deathly allergy to wasps means that she must now carry EpiPens wherever she goes.
She sued the golf course for general negligence, but the first trial court threw the case out, saying that the management of stinging insects goes beyond the requirements for a “reasonably safe” property. It took 15 minutes for the exterminator to actually find the wasps’ nest, which was under a lump of grass.
The victim appealed, which resulted in the court’s ruling that property owners must protect entrants from deadly insect stings. The presence of yellow jackets being a foreseeable risk, it is now expected that owners must take care to prevent it. The courts will soon determine whether the golf course lived up to that duty.
Those who might be filing a premises liability claim will need to prove that they were injured in an ultimately preventable accident and that the property owner should have been aware of the risk. They will also need to prove that all of the injuries for which they seek compensation are accident-related. This is why having the assistance of an experienced attorney can be advisable.