COVID-19 raises new questions for premises liability, and those questions are being answered in Georgia with new legislative activity. Recently, the governor signed the Georgia COVID-19 Pandemic Business Safety Act (PBSA) into law.
The new act protects schools, businesses, and healthcare facilities from being held liable for certain claims related to COVID-19. They will be entirely immune to claims unless they arise from “gross negligence, wilful and wanton misconduct, reckless infliction of harm, or intentional infliction of harm.” (SOURCE)
Claims arising from areas such as medical equipment manufacturing, the provision or omission of certain medical care, and even exposure on the premises are now much less likely to be successful.
The PBSA also allows businesses to establish a rebuttable presumption that a customer voluntarily assumes the risk of exposure by including a warning message on a sign, receipt, or other proof of purchase.
In Georgia, court’s recognize that a person “assumes the risk” of their injury in only very specific circumstances. Under the law, a person can only “assume the risk” of their injury if they have both requires subjective and actual knowledge of the particular risk. A general understanding of “nonspecific” risks that could be associated with a given activity is not sufficient. However, when a person is acting under the direction and control of another, such as in an employee-employer relationship, the “choice” to assume a risk may not be voluntary.
Hoffspiegel Law has experience litigating cases involving “assumption of the risk” concerns in cases where injured people have signed “liability waivers” required before undertaking activities like go karts, inflatable slides, and mechanical bulls.
There are specific requirements for the warnings under Georgia’s new law, including a specific text size, so not all warnings are created equal.
You can learn more about PBSA here.
The legislative response to the pandemic at all levels of government has a major impact on your legal safety. It’s never been more important to have legal expertise on your side.
If you have questions or are in need of legal services, connect with us here: https://www.hoff-law.com/contact/