Nashville Slip & Fall Lawyer
Anyone can slip and fall at any time, just like a drunk driver appears without warning. But older people are especially prone to serious fall injuries. Many of these people have gait disorders. So, when they stumble, they usually fall. Furthermore, most older adults have pre-existing conditions which make their fall injuries worse. In fact, most older fall victims have such severe physical and emotional injuries that they can never live independently again.
Although these matters are complex, as outlined below, the experienced Nashville slip & fall lawyers at Mitch Grissim & Associates quickly evaluate these claims, identifying both the strong points and weak points. As the case progresses, we emphasize the strengths and shore up the weak areas. This approach helps us obtain maximum compensation for your serious injuries.
Duty of Care
Public property owners, like hotel and restaurant owners, usually have a duty to keep patrons and employees reasonably safe. The same legal responsibility usually applies to private property owners, such as homeowners. In Tennessee, the duty varies depending on the relationship between the victim and property owner, as follows:
- Invitee: Most visitors are invitees. They have direct or indirect permission to be on the property, and their presence benefits the owner economically or noneconomically (g. the benefit of social interaction). Since the relationship is so close, most owners have a duty of reasonable care to protect most invitees. More on this duty below.
- Licensee: A person like a guest of an apartment tenant is usually a licensee. The victim has permission to be on the property, but there is no benefit. As a result, the owner has less of a legal responsibility. The owner must only warn a licensee about latent (hidden) defects, such as an unsteady staircase.
- Trespasser: If the victim has no permission to be on the land and there is no benefit, the owner generally has no duty of care. Some doctrines, like the attractive nuisance rule, protect some child trespassers.
In this context, the duty of care usually requires owners to ensure that there are no fall hazards, such as uneven walkways or large sidewalk cracks. This duty also requires owners to inspect their properties to ensure that they remain reasonably safe.
Knowledge of Hazard
Compensation is available if the victim proves that the owner knew, or should have known, about the hazard which caused the fall. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Frequently, there is direct evidence of actual knowledge. Examples include open maintenance requests and “cleanup on aisle three” announcements.
The victim/plaintiff may also use circumstantial evidence of constructive knowledge (should have known). The time-notice rule usually applies to such evidence.
Assume Linda slips and falls on a piece of lettuce on a grocery store floor. If the lettuce was wet and crisp, it probably just fell on the floor. So, employees did not have sufficient notice about the hazard. But if the lettuce was wilted, it had probably been on the floor for awhile, and someone should have picked it up.
In both cases, victim/plaintiffs must establish knowledge by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).
Contact a Diligent Davidson County Slip & Fall Lawyer
Fall injury victims are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Nashville, contact Mitch Grissim & Associates. You have a limited amount of time to act.