Tennessee Personal Injury Law: Slip-and-Falls
A single misstep can result in severe injuries and on average, more than one million Americans fall victim to slips, trips, and falls every year. Slip and fall incidents often end up leaving the victim with serious fractures, concussions, spine injuries, and more. Sometimes these falls can result in fatality. Unfortunately, the reality is that, statistically speaking, an individual is actually more prone to dying from a serious fall than they are from the discharge of a firearm, becoming the victim of a pedestrian accident, or even accidental drowning.
The majority of accidents involving slips, trips, and falls are a direct result of a hazardous condition, like slippery or uneven walkways. The cause of a lot of these types of accidents may be traced back to the negligence or inadequate maintenance of a property manager or owner. In such cases, those who have been injured are entitled to pursue compensation for damages sustained due to the negligence of the party at fault. Compensation may come in many forms, including:
- Monetary repayment for any past, present, and/or future medical expenses accrued because of the fall
- Lost wages because of the injury
- Reduced potential for future earnings
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
Proving Liability in Slip and Fall Claims
Property owners and managers bear the sole responsibility of proper maintenance and upkeep of their premises in order to prevent slip and fall accidents from ever occurring. These preventative measures will often include maintaining awareness of hazardous conditions and taking action to keep visitors on the property out of harm’s way. However, proving responsibility for such incidents can be a cumbersome task. In order to prove liability for an accident, one of the following must be applicable:
- The owner or manager of the property, or their employees, were aware of hazardous or dangerous conditions which could potentially result in a slip and fall accident, but were unable or unwilling to appropriately address them.
- The owner or manager of the property, or their employees, should have been able to recognize the hazardous condition, on the basis that an ordinarily reasonable person would have been able to recognize the situation as possibly dangerous.
- The owner or manager of the property, or their employees, were at fault for the hazardous condition and were unable or unwilling to notify visitors and patrons in a timely manner.
Speak to a Lawyer About Your Case
For more than 25 years, our attorneys at InjuryTN have been helping Middle Tennessee recoup compensation for slip and fall accidents. Get the help you need today by contacting our office.
Comparative Fault in TN Slip and Fall Accidents
Those who have been injured at the fault of a property owner or manager must not only be able to prove that the owner or manager was indeed negligent, but you must also be able to provide evidence that you were not primarily at fault for the occurrence.
Personal injury law in TN utilizes a framework built on the idea of “comparative fault,” which compares the actions of either party leading up to the incident in an attempt to determine a percentage of fault. Tennessee uses what is known as the “50 percent rule.” This rule states that the individual filing the injury claim may be entitled to compensation if they are able to prove that they were less than 50% (fifty percent) responsible for the incident which transpired. Nonetheless, the compensation available to the victim will diminish in proportion to their determined level of fault.
A victim of a slip and fall accident in Tennessee determined to be 50% (fifty percent) or more at fault for the incident may not be able to recoup for their injury and losses. Actions taken which could result in sharing a portion of the fault include:
- Engaging in behavior which disallowed you to recognize the danger or signage for hazards, such as using a cellular device while walking.
- Being somewhere you didn’t have the appropriate authority or approval to access, or lacking a reasonable explanation for your presence in that location.
- Engaging in careless actions or activities, such as being intoxicated, inappropriately running, or donning footwear that is not suitable for the location.
Owners and managers of Tennessee properties, in addition to their insurance agency as well as attorneys, will usually claim that the victim of the slip and fall contributed some level of fault in the injury. While this may be a valid claim, it could also be an attempt at avoiding payment to the victim.
An accomplished slip and fall lawyer in Middle Tennessee may be able to assist you in proving your perspective of the event in order to make the most out of your claim. In the event that your claim has been disputed or entirely denied, or you seek guidance regarding your premises liability claim, InjuryTN is here for you.
Factors Contributing to Slip & Fall Accidents
According to the National Safety Council, fall injuries are classified as preventable and the top causes of slip and fall accidents reflect this. The following are some of the most common causes for slip and fall accidents:
- Wet floors
- Oily floors
- Weather hazards
- Loose or unanchored floor mats
- Flooring which does not maintain consistency of traction
- Negligent Premises
- Clutter, debris, or obstacles in walkways or hallways
- Inadequate lighting
- Exposed cables
- Wrinkled or folded carpets and rugs
- Absence of handrails in stairways or difficult terrain
Failure to Comply with Walkway Safety Standards
It is also necessary for individuals to maintain awareness of their surroundings, ensure they are walking at appropriate paces and wearing suitable footwear given the conditions and nature of the surface on which they tread. Even so, how can one prove primary fault for a slip and fall injury?
One method involves determining the level of compliance with National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) standards to which the company adhered. The NFSI belonging as an accredited walkway safety standards developer with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The NFSI has reported that 55% (fifty-five percent) of all slips, trips, and falls are a direct result of dangerous walkways. Furthermore, an additional 87% (eighty-seven percent) of all slip and fall claims take place on surfaces with a low to moderate level of traction, and only 13% of such claims happen on floors with high traction.
Businesses in Tennessee today must abide by the standards put forth by the NFSI regarding what measures should be taken to determine the levels of risk for slip and trip accidents. While abiding by and adhering to these standards is completely voluntary for businesses, an owner or manager of a property who chooses not to comply with them may find that this decision was seen by the court as proof of negligent maintenance in a premises liability suit.
Moreover, as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), walking-working surfaces should consistently pass inspection by property owners and managers. A single violation with OSHA may be utilized by a worker who has been injured on the premises to bolster their ability to bring the claim beyond the limits of the workers’ compensation complex.
Liability for Landlords in TN Slip and Fall Accidents
A landlord could be held liable for the incident if a visitor or guest suffers an injury from slipping and falling on a rental property. The biggest concern would be whether or not the landlord was aware or should have been aware of the hazardous condition which caused the injury when the lease was signed.
Tennessee laws regarding landlords and their tenants a essentially the determining factor in premises liability cases. Landlords are required to fulfill specific roles in maintaining the safety, fitness, and habitability of their property, which includes abiding by all prevalent building and housing standards.
Our Middle Tennessee Slip and Fall Attorneys Can Help
The accomplished personal injury attorneys at InjuryTN are devoted to assisting those affected by slip and fall accidents in seeking the compensation they need. Our premises liability practice has given us the experience necessary to advocate for our clients empathetically while getting the most out of the financial recovery available to them in their situation. The attorneys at InjuryTN are proud to be able to provide the best in quality of legal representation as well as exceptional client satisfaction.
Contact our office today by phone at (615) 640-HURT or fill out an online contact form to schedule your first consultation with an accomplished and considerate lawyer. Your initial consultation is completely free, and all personal injury cases operate on a contingency plan, so you don’t pay until we win.