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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Should You File a Slip and Fall Lawsuit? | Benefits and Risks

Slip and fall accidents can be more severe than most people think. They can happen at any time, and the victims risk getting painful injuries, depending on what happened.


Sometimes, victims are encouraged to file a claim against the property owner for the accident. A successful claim could give fall victims the compensation needed to cover medical bills, lost wages, and other things.


Unfortunately, not all slip-and-fall cases are due to property owners' negligent acts. Victims must talk to a slip-and-fall attorney to determine whether it's worth their time to start gathering evidence for one of these claims.


This page covers everything about slip-and-fall claims in Tennessee, including when it's recommended to file one against a property owner.


What Constitutes a Slip and Fall Accident?

What Constitutes a Slip and Fall Accident?


In simple terms, a slip-and-fall accident happens when someone trips, falls, or slips and suffers an injury. These accidents can happen due to a wide variety of reasons, including:


  • Spilled drinks

  • Wet floors

  • Protruding objects

  • Cracks/holes in the floor

Where Are Slip and Fall Accidents Common?

As mentioned previously, slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere. However, there are a few places where they are more likely to happen.


These places include:

  • Sidewalks

  • Restaurants

  • Movie theaters

  • Stadiums

  • Parking garages

  • Nursing homes

  • Grocery stores

  • Apartment complexes

Even though slip and fall accidents are more common among older people, anyone can experience an injury because of one. However, the elderly tend to be more likely to sustain severe injuries.


How Can Someone Determine Liability in a Slip and Fall Case?

Not all slip-and-fall lawsuits will go in the victim's favor. There are a few conditions that must be met for the property owner to be liable for the accident.


Usually, property owners don't have to guarantee a person's safety. However, they are legally required to ensure that their property is as safe for people as it can be.


There are three elements that victims must prove to hold an owner liable for a slip and fall accident:


  • There was a dangerous condition on the property that led to the victim's fall.

  • The property owner knew (or should have known) about said condition.

  • The property owner failed to give the victim a warning about the condition (or failed to fix it).


It can be complicated to prove whether a property owner should have known about a hazardous condition on their property. This is why it's important to get help from a Nashville slip and fall lawyer to get a better chance of earning compensation.


Typically, a premises liability claim alone won't be enough to hold the property owner accountable. The victim may have to gather as much evidence as possible that proves that the owner was responsible for keeping these dangerous conditions in check.


Evidence that victims can gather for their cases includes:

  • Security camera footage

  • Witness testimony

  • Photos and videos of the scene

  • Expert testimony from building inspectors, doctors, accident reconstructionists, and other related professionals

Can the Property Owner Defend Themself During a Slip and Fall Claim?

Yes. It's more than likely that the property owner will also seek legal help to avoid liability from the victim's claim. As mentioned at the top of the page, not all slip-and-fall cases settle in favor of the victim.

There are two common defenses that property owners use during these lawsuits:


Modified Comparative Fault Rule

Tennessee applies the modified comparative fault rule. It establishes that the victim's compensation will depend on their percentage of fault. If the victim's fault is at (or above) 50%, they won't be able to recover any damages.


Property owners may argue that the victim was running through the place before slipping, for example, which can be a valid defense.


"Open and Obvious" Hazard

Most of the time, owners argue that the hazardous condition was "open and obvious," meaning they're not at fault. This means that, theoretically, it was impossible for the victim to not have noticed the hazard.


Even though this argument may work sometimes, there are other factors to evaluate, such as what the victim was doing at the time of falling. The court will also evaluate how obvious the hazard truly was before determining liability.


What to Do If the Slip and Fall Accident Happened at Work


Those who fall and get injured at work may file a workers' compensation claim. Most employers in Tennessee must carry this kind of coverage, which gives financial benefits to employees who get injured while working.


The main benefit of workers' compensation claims is that the victim won't have to prove fault like in a personal injury lawsuit. Instead, the victim must do the following:


  • Prove that the employer carries this type of insurance coverage.

  • Prove that the injury happened during the course and scope of the victim's employment.

  • Prove that the injury is covered by the policy.


If the employer doesn't have workers' compensation insurance for any reason, the victim may go ahead and file a personal injury claim.


What Damages Can the Victim Recover from Their Lawsuit?


Victims can recover economic and non-economic damages from their claims (if they're successful).


  • Economic damages represent all monetary losses that came because of the victim's injury. They include medical bills, property damage, lost wages, etc.

  • Non-economic damages, on the other hand, represent non-monetary losses, such as emotional distress or pain and suffering. In Tennessee, non-economic damages are often capped at $750,000, unless the case involved a catastrophic injury.


If the victim can prove that the owner acted recklessly, fraudulently, or maliciously, the victim may recover punitive damages too, although this isn't common. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also help with suing homeowners insurance for a slip and fall injury.


How Long Do Victims Have to File Their Personal Injury Lawsuit in Tennessee?

How Long Do Victims Have to File Their Personal Injury Lawsuit in Tennessee?


Tennessee victims often have one year from the date of the accident to file their claim. Otherwise, they'll lose their right to get compensated.


Bottom Line


Victims can request a free consultation from the experts at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. These professionals are more than willing to help anyone who experienced a slip-and-fall injury, especially if it led to any kind of loss of enjoyment of life. They can also help with getting a fair amount from your workers comp settlement.


If a dangerous condition existed at a property, and it led to the victim's slip-and-fall injuries, it may be possible to get compensated. It's not fair to go under that kind of stress alone, which is why the team at Schuerger Shunnarah will cover them all the way through.

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