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Gatlinburg Negligent Security Lawyer

In criminal court, individuals are usually responsible for assaults, sexual assaults, and other violent crimes. But in civil court, the landowner could be responsible for the injuries resulting from these incidents. Usually. According to the premises liability doctrine, landowners have a duty to provide reasonable security at the property they own. If they fail to do so, they could be legally responsible for damages.

Criminal court prosecutors punish evildoers, perhaps by putting them in jail. That’s what they do. But the experienced Gatlinburg negligent security lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, Attorneys at Law obtain maximum compensation for victims. That’s what we do. Over the years, we have developed proven methods that allow us to efficiently collect evidence and present your claim in court. This approach helps us fight for you in court and speak up for you at the negotiating table.

Establishing Liability

Duty of care and knowledge of hazard are the two primary components of a negligent security or other premises liability claim in Tennessee.

If the victim was a social invitee, like a party guest, or a business invitee, like a customer, the owner usually has a duty of reasonable care. This legal duty requires owners to keep their property relatively clean and safe.

A few negligent security victims are licensees or trespassers, from a legal point of view. Since the owner-victim relationship is not as close in these cases, the duty of care is lower. Essentially, a licensee is someone like a guest of a hotel guest, and a trespasser is someone like a burglar.

Generally, a judge determines the victim’s legal status, largely based on the victim’s behavior and the victim-owner relationship, if any. Next, a Gatlinburg negligent security lawyer must establish knowledge of the hazard.

The standard of proof in these situations is a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). That’s one of the lowest burdens of proof in Tennessee law. Examples of negligent security include:

  • Inadequate security level (g. unarmed guards when armed guards are necessary),
  • Missing or broken equipment,
  • Malfunctioning gates,
  • Inadequate lighting, and
  • Failure to respond to security threats.

Direct and circumstantial evidence is admissible in this area. Safety studies and other potential smoking guns which establish actual knowledge usually surface during a lawsuit’s discovery process. Circumstantial evidence of constructive knowledge (should have known) often overlaps with foreseeability, which is discussed below.

Compensation in a negligent security injury claim usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. A Gatlinburg premises liability lawyer can also obtain additional punitive damages in a few extreme cases.

Foreseeability Issues

Foreseeability, which is Legalese for “possibility,” doesn’t come up too often in premises liability matters. Negligent security claims are a major exception. Basically, owners are only responsible for damages if the victim’s injury was foreseeable to the owner.

Evidence of foreseeability includes prior similar incidents at that location, prior similar incidents in the neighborhood, the nature of the business, the location of the business, and the area’s reputation as a “high crime” area.

Assume a string of muggings recently occurred outside the hotel where Jane was staying. Despite the risk, the hotel’s owner didn’t beef up security or replace some burned-out exterior lights. An evildoer took advantage of the environment and assaulted Jane. Under these facts, the hotel owner should have foreseen the attack and should have taken steps to prevent it.

Contact a Savvy Sevier County Lawyer

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Gatlinburg negligent security lawyer, contact Fox Farley Willis & Burnette Attorneys at Law by going online or calling 865-500-HURT. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.

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