Clinton Premises Liability Lawyer
Premises liability is an umbrella term for on-property injuries that happen away from home. Examples include falls, swimming pool injuries, and dog bites. Generally, property owners have a duty of care to keep their property reasonably safe. This legal responsibility makes sense. Owners are in a position to identify hazards and address them before someone gets hurt. That’s a responsibility they should take seriously.
The experienced Clinton premises liability lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette routinely handle matters in Anderson County and nearby jurisdictions. We are familiar with all the rules of evidence and procedure in these courts. This familiarity includes unwritten and informal rules. So, our bicycle doesn’t have training wheels. Instead of moving tentatively down the street, we confidently work to achieve the best possible result under the circumstances.
Duty of Care
Traditionally, to determine the duty of care, or level of legal responsibility, in a particular case, the law divides victims into several different categories based on their relationship with the owner.
Several decades ago, Tennessee abandoned these distinctions and replaced them with a duty of reasonable care. So, whether the victim was on the property for business purposes, social purposes, or both, the owner has a responsibility to keep people safe. This responsibility includes removing known hazards, such as:
- Wet spots on floors,
- Uneven walkways,
- Icy patches on sidewalks,
- Loose handrails,
- Lax security,
- Unsafe level of swimming pool cleaning chemicals, and
- Unrestrained dangerous dogs.
This responsibility hinges on the owner’s knowledge of the hazard. You can only address the problems you know about. More on knowledge of hazard below.
A lesser duty of care applies to trespassers, or people who visit without permission and who don’t benefit the owner in any way. Generally, owners must only refrain from intentionally harming these individuals. Stories of injured thieves who successfully sued homeowners are mostly urban legends, especially in Tennessee. Even a child sneaking into a swimming pool has few legal rights in the Volunteer State.
Knowledge of Hazard
The duty of care is usually a straightforward legal question. Knowledge of a hazard is a different story, especially since some insurance company defenses could be involved.
A Clinton premises liability lawyer can use direct or circumstantial evidence to establish knowledge. Direct evidence, like an open repair invoice or another smoking gun, is stronger than circumstantial evidence, which usually involves the time-notice rule. Since direct evidence usually surfaces during discovery, if an attorney settles a premises liability case too quickly, maximum compensation might not be available.
This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Insurance company defenses in premises liability claims include contributory negligence and assumption of the risk.
Comparative fault usually shifts blame for a fall, car crash, or other incident from the tortfeasor (negligent party) to the victim (innocent party). If both parties were partially at fault, jurors must apportion responsibility between them on a percentage basis. Tennessee is a modified comparative fault state with a 50 percent threshold. Victims are entitled to a proportionate share of damages if they are no more than 50 percent at fault for an injury.
Assumption of the risk usually involves a beware of dog, wet floor, or other warning sign. Even if the owner displayed such a sign, fair compensation is still available in these cases.
Contact an Experienced Anderson County Lawyer
Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced premises liability lawyer in Clinton, contact Fox Farley Willis & Burnette Attorneys at Law by going online or calling 865-500-HURT. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.