Premises Liability Attorney in Middle Tennessee
Property owners and manager in Tennessee bear the responsibility of upkeep for their premises to ensure the safety of all visitors and guests. The inability to appropriately address dangerous or otherwise unsafe conditions which can reasonably be identified as harmful to other individuals can be grounds for a claim of premises liability to be filed in the event that you are injured on someone else’s property, or if someone has been injured on yours.
Premises Liability Lawyers: Assisting Those Injured on Somebody Else’s Property
The experienced personal injury attorneys at InjuryTN have been representing clients who have been injured in Davidson, Williamson, Wilson, Sumner, Robertson, Rutherford, Montgomery, Cheatham, Dickson, and Maury counties as well as throughout the Middle Tennessee region for more than 25 years. Our accomplished premises liability lawyers have the skills and experience necessary to develop a solid case for compensation to the fullest extent of the law for the injuries you sustained.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises Liability refers to the practice of personal injury law which handles the harm that has been caused by hazardous conditions on one’s property. Individuals who may own, lease, or occupy property in Tennessee bear the sole legal duty to maintain reasonably safe conditions on their property in a concerted effort to prevent those visiting their property from sustaining any form of injury.
However, this responsibility has limits. Property owners and operators are not required to guarantee a visitor’s safety. The owner’s liability for injuries sustained by visitors to the property is based on the level of negligence the owner displayed in adequately maintaining the safekeeping of the property.
Prevalent circumstances which often cause premises liability claims to be filed may include:
- Amusement park accidents
- Dog bites
- Drowning accidents
- Pool-related accidents
- Tourist Accidents
- Criminal activity perpetrated against property visitors
Due to the fact that premises liability law can involve such a large variety of different accidents, the injuries sustained by our clients differ tremendously; everything from cuts and bruises to broken bones and TBIs and, in some cases, even death.
In the event that you have been injured on someone else’s property and you think you have a premises liability case, it’s best not to wait to discuss the case with a lawyer. Tennessee’s brief statute of limitations on such claims creates a critical need to receive timely and qualified legal counsel. The decisions you make regarding your legal representation immediately following a premises liability case will make a world of difference in the success of your claim.
Proving Premises Liability in Middle Tennessee
Just because someone was injured on private property does not necessarily imply that the property owner will be held legally responsible for the injury. In order to file a claim for premises liability against a property owner successfully, the individual or individuals who were injured will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt ALL of the following:
- The individual who is responsible for the property was negligent in the proper maintenance and upkeep of the property.
- The property guest or visitor was injured on the property’s grounds as a direct result of that negligence.
- The negligence of the guest was less a contributing factor to the injury than the owner’s.
The aforementioned contributing factors are explained in further depth below.
Duty of Care and Negligence
The individual who owns, leases, or otherwise occupies a property in Tennessee bears the responsibility to exhibit regular care and maintenance, which is legally identified as the care and maintenance a normally careful individual would use in order to prevent injury to those on the property in similar situations. The inability or blatant failure to exercise ordinary care of a premises is considered negligence by TN law.
Nonetheless, the extent of the responsibility which the property owner or manager owes the property guest is dependent upon whether the visitor was invited, under a lease, or illegally trespassing.
- An invitee is an individual who is on the property for the purpose of conducting business, or for another purpose which would be considered mutually beneficial to the parties involved.
- Guests and employees (or workers) in stores and restaurants would be considered invitees.
- A licensee carries the expressed or implied consent from the property owner to be on the premises at a given time, or during a given time frame.
- Social guests like friends and families would be considered licensees.
- A trespasser has no permission to be on the property at all.
In any case, the owner or manager of the property has an obligation of a specific level of care to each kind of visitor. In most situations, an invitee would be owed a higher level of care than a licensee would, and trespassers would be owed no level of care or consideration of safety. However, there are specific exceptions to this rule, such as in the event that a minor trespasses on an owner’s property and is injured due to hazardous conditions.
Injury Caused by Hazardous Conditions
For all intents and purposes, a property owner’s responsibility for care and maintenance entails ensuring that the property is consistently void of hazards, danger, or defects which may logically be expected to create dangers to other individuals. There is an extensive list of dangers and hazards which could be classified under premises liability law, including:
- Inadequate safety precautions
- Indoor and outdoor surfaces which can become slippery when wet or frozen
- Inadequate lighting in parking lots
- Absence of fencing around swimming pools or other contained bodies of water
- Uneven walkways
Determining the level of property owner or manager liability will additionally require proving they had actual knowledge or constructive knowledge of the danger.
- Actual knowledge of a defect or hazardous condition is defined as direct knowledge that such a condition exists on the premises.
- Constructive knowledge exists conceptually on the basis that a property owner or manager should have been aware of the defect, if they had exercised proper care. A visitor can prove that an owner or manager had been given constructive notice of hazardous conditions by observing repeated conduct and incidents or an unchanging condition.
Comparative Fault in Tennessee
In Tennessee, comparative negligence law allows for plaintiffs to recoup damages for premises liability in the event that their negligence is effectively determined lesser than that of the defendant. This rule is commonly referred to as the, “50% rule.”
Essentially, one may still recoup compensation for injuries or harm if they are less than 50% (fifty percent) at fault for the injury or accident. In the event that the individual is found to be at least 50% or more at fault for the incident, damages or compensation may not be available to recover. If the plaintiff is determined to be partly liable for the injuries they sustained (but less than 50%), the compensation is diminished in proportion to the percentage of fault.
The individual who is injured may be determined at fault, either partially or wholly, for their injuries as a result of intoxication, distracted traversal, going into a restricted or prohibited area, not wearing appropriate clothing (such as dangerous footwear), as well as other actions. Similarly, because comparative negligence may mitigate a property owner or manager’s liability for a visitor’s injury, this may be wrongly put forth as a defensive strategy.
We Understand the Duties of Middle Tennessee Property Owners
The numerous facets which affect premises liability emphasize the significance of finding competent legal representation following an incident. At InjuryTN, our accomplished personal injury attorneys have a thorough understanding of Tennessee’s premises liability laws from practice spanning more than 25 years. Our lawyer will personally investigate the details of your case and assertively seek out compensation from involved parties.
Premises Liability and Victims of Crimes in Middle Tennessee
Though premises liability cases typically involve a property owner or manager’s negligence for accidental injuries which took place on their property, claims may additionally be put forth against a property owner in the event that someone has fallen victim to some crime or criminal activity on the premises.
In general, property owners carry the responsibility of exercising reasonable precautions in order to protect the safety and wellbeing of their visitors from potential criminal actions. When determining the reasonable foreseeability of criminal behavior on the premises, property owners must consider the general crime rate in the area as well as past occurrences of crime on or around the property. Additionally, the court will take into account whether the reasonably increased security measures would place a financial or otherwise taxing burden on the business or property owner.
In the event that you have fallen victim to a crime on someone else’s property, the owner or manager of that property may be held accountable for maintaining inadequate security measures, often including:
- Security services (i.e. guards, etc.)
- Surveillance cameras
- Appropriate lighting
- Gating or fences
Similar to other kinds of premises liability claims, numerous factors are involved in identifying fault, which includes the incident’s reasonable foreseeability and the visitor’s status, as well as the level of negligence the victim exhibited.
Occasionally, owners with properties in high-crime areas will take protective security measures for their visitors, like employing external security companies. In these cases, a negligent security company may be held liable for any criminal activity which took place on the property.
Victims of criminal activity who can prove a premises liability claim might be entitled to compensation, which often includes lost wages and medical bills as well as damages for pain and suffering endured. It is worth noting that civil cases for premises liability are processed in court separately from criminal cases against perpetrators.
Statue of Limitations for Premises Liability Cases
In Tennessee, claims of premises liability will need to be filed within one year of the incident’s occurrence. Furthermore, wrongful death claims as a result of premises liability have a statute of one year, however that time begins at the time of the death rather than when the incident takes place.
A victim of premises liability who fails to file a claim within one year of an incident might not be able to recoup any form of compensation.
This is why at InjuryTN, we encourage speaking with a competent, experienced premises liability lawyer as soon as possible. The more time that elapses after an accident, the more adversity you will face in attempting to identifying crucial evidence that can be utilized to develop a solid case.
How We Can Help You
Have you been injured on someone else’s property? you might be trepidatious in filing a claim, particularly in the event that you are in close personal proximity with the owner of the property. However, it is important to bear in mind that a lawsuit for premises liability is held against that individual’s insurance company, not the individual themselves. Owners and managers of properties will usually have liability insurance, which protects them in the event that an injury occurs on their premises.
You shouldn’t have to pay out of your own pocket for an injury you sustained that was no fault of your own.
The experienced premises liability attorneys at InjuryTN are ready to help you fervently fight for the compensation you deserve. Call our office or fill out an online contact form to schedule your free consultation with an accomplished Tennessee premises liability lawyer.