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If you own property in Tennessee, you are responsible to keep your premises safe to visitors. However, accidents can happen. When an accident occurs due to unsafe conditions on someone else’s property, the property owner or the party in control should be held liable. The experienced Nashville premises liability lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard are dedicated to helping those who were injured on another’s property across Middle Tennessee. We will get you the compensation you need in order for you to move forward with your life.
What is Premises Liability?
When you are injured on someone else’s property because of a hazardous condition or negligence, you may have a case of premises liability. In Tennessee, the person, agency, or entity that owns or maintains property can be held responsible for any injuries suffered on the premises. When injuries arise in this situation, you have the right to pursue legal action to be compensated for your injuries.
For instance, a restaurant patron may slip and fall on a spilled beverage that had not been cleaned or trip and fall on a broken step that has not been fixed. Another example of premises liability can even be a person tripping and falling over a broken sidewalk. These conditions are dangerous and should have been taken care of by the individual or business that owns and/or maintains the premises.
Conditions like the ones listed previously are to be handled by property owners. It’s their duty to keep and maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. Failure to maintain your property can lead to significant injuries for an unsuspecting visitor. Common premises liability injuries include head injuries, broken bones, severe burns, electric shocks, illnesses derived from toxic exposure, and your typical bumps and bruises.
In Tennessee, the victim of such an accident must prove that the property owner or operator was negligent, thus breaching the duty of care required which caused the injury. The concept of constructive notice also comes into play which is the idea that the owner should have known about the dangerous condition. This can mean that the owner was made aware of the property flaw, or that it has existed for such a time that there was no way the owner did not know and should have taken the time to remedy the issue.
It is also important to note that if you, as the victim, were found to be partially responsible for your injury, the amount of damages awarded will be reduced by that amount.
But understanding what duty of care is can be complicated and drastically change the outcome of a personal injury case.
A Property Owner’s Duty of Care
In Tennessee, property owners owe different duties of care to different groups – invitees, social visitors, and trespassers.
An invitee is a person who comes to a property for business or a purpose that is mutually beneficial to both parties. This includes going to a store, restaurant, and to work. Invitees are entitled to the highest level of care. Property owners must make regular inspections for hazardous conditions too.
Social visitors or licensees are people who are welcome on someone’s property but don’t necessarily have to be invited. This could be a friend or family member.
A trespasser is a visitor who is not welcome on a property owner’s premises. The property owner is obliged not to intentionally injure the trespasser.
If a person is trespassing and injured, the property owner is not liable unless that person is a child. If there is a dangerous condition on your property and it attracts a child or children on to the premises, the property owner can be held liable for any injuries that occur under the doctrine of “attractive nuisance.” If the condition is known by the property owner, it’s their duty to remove it from their premises. Otherwise, they are at fault. This doctrine only applies to man-made dangerous conditions, rather than those that naturally occur.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for a premises liability incident in Tennessee is one year from the date of the incident. If you were hurt and file a claim after the allotted time, your legal action is barred. That is why having an experienced attorney on your side through the process is imperative to receiving the compensation you deserve.
How Our Tennessee Premises Liability Lawyers Can Help
If you have been hurt on someone else’s property, you may be the victim of someone’s negligence. You can seek damages and much more. The premises liability lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard have guided many Tennessee residents through the process of asserting their rights. If you need legal assistance to seek compensation for your injuries, contact us today.