What Is the Premises Liability Law in Tennessee?
To ensure that their properties are secure for guests, all property owners owe a duty of care. However, the level of care that must be used depends significantly on the guest. According to the law, premises liability determines when a property owner is responsible for an injury that takes place on their property.
All states have laws governing premises liability, but each one has a slightly different set of rules. Here's what Tennessee law has to say.
What Is Premises Liability in Tennessee?
Premises liability is one component of personal injury law that deals with injuries brought on by dangerous or subpar property conditions. Under Tennessee law, property owners or occupants have to take reasonable precautions to ensure visitors are protected against any potential dangers.
However, this is not an absolute duty. The security of a visitor is not a promise that a property owner or operator must make. Whether they were negligent in maintaining the property will determine whether they are liable for an accident to a visitor.
Some of the most common situations that give rise to premises liability claims are:
Slip and fall accidents
Dog bite injuries
Crimes committed against guests
Due to the vast spectrum of events that premises liability law covers, the injuries that clients sustain can be very diverse, ranging from scrapes and bruises to broken bones, brain trauma, back problems, and even death.
Anyone who believes they have a premises liability claim should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. It is essential to obtain qualified legal counsel immediately because Tennessee's statute of limitations for these types of claims is so short. They can also advise on questions like Do hospitals report dog bites in Tennessee?
How to Prove a Premises Liability Claim in Tennessee
The simple fact that an injury took place on a private property does not make the property owner liable. In Tennessee, the injured visitor must establish the following elements in order to prevail in a premises liability case:
The guest was injured on the property as a result of the owner's negligence.
The individual owning, occupying, or leasing the property was negligent in the property use.
The property owner's negligence played a bigger role in the accident compared to the guest's negligence.
These factors can be examined further:
Injury As a Result of a Dangerous Condition
Ultimately, a property owner's duty of care is to make sure the property doesn't have any defects or dangers that could reasonably be anticipated to harm other people. Premises liability legislation may apply to a variety of safety risks, such as:
Slippery indoor and outdoor surfaces as a result of water, spills, or ice.
Inadequate or improper safety measures, such as a lack of security guards.
No gating around swimming pools.
Poor lighting in parking lots.
However, that's not all. The victim also has to prove that the property owner was constructively or actually aware of the hazard.
The idea behind constructive knowledge is that the owner should have known there was a defect by taking reasonable care. By demonstrating a pattern of behavior, a reoccurring occurrence, or a general or continuing situation, a visitor may be able to prove that a property owner had constructive knowledge of a hazardous condition.
Actual knowledge of a defect is immediate and unmistakable awareness of a hazardous condition. If a property owner knew there was a tripping hazard on the premises or was previously made aware of it and did nothing, for example, they may be held responsible for any injuries that occur as a result of the hazard. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also explain what the statute of limitations for premises liability in Tennessee is.
Duty of Care and Negligence
In order to prevent injury to others or themselves under the same or comparable circumstances, the owner, occupant, or lessee of a property has a duty to use ordinary care, which is defined as the care that an ordinarily cautious person would use. Negligence is the failure to exercise ordinary care.
However, whether an individual is an invited guest, a licensed user, or an uninvited trespasser determines the extent of the owner's duty of care to that visitor.
An invitee is a person who enters the property with the intent to do business or engage in another activity that will be advantageous to both parties. Both customers and employees at restaurants and retail establishments are regarded as invitees.
Licensees have the implied or express consent of property owners to enter the premises. This includes friends and families.
Lastly, trespassers don't have permission to enter someone else's property.
Property owners have a specific duty of care to each of the above visitors. Invitees are often owed a greater duty of care than licensees; however, there is no duty of care owed to trespassers. Nevertheless, there could be an exception to this rule if the trespasser is a child.
The plaintiff needs to be able to prove that the property owner owed them a duty of care, breached that duty of care, and suffered an injury as a result of this.
Comparative Fault in Tennessee
As long as the plaintiff's carelessness is less than the defendant's negligence, premises liability claims are eligible for compensation under Tennessee's comparative negligence statute. This is referred to as the "50 percent rule."
In other words, even if the guest is only partially to blame for the accident, they may still be able to receive compensation for their injuries. However, visitors might not be entitled to damages if they contributed 50% or more to the accident.
The damage award is diminished according to the plaintiff's fault in situations when he or she is determined to be somewhat responsible for their injuries, but not more than 49 percent.
An injured person may be deemed entirely or partially at fault for their injuries if they were under the influence, texting while driving, entering a prohibited location, wearing incorrect footwear, and other behaviors.
Get Expert Advice From a Premises Liability Lawyer
It's vital for anyone who has been involved in a premises liability accident to seek expert legal services. These claims can be tricky to navigate, which is why it's vital to have the assistance of a professional premises liability lawyer in Nashville.
The compassionate premises liability lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys in Nashville, Tennessee, have years of experience when it comes to these personal injury claims. We've handled plenty of premises liability cases and are confident we can get you or your loved one the compensation you/ they deserve.