An injury accident can occur just about anywhere and at any time. If you recently suffered injuries as a result of a slip and fall accident you had while on someone else’s property, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Although we routinely use the term “slip and fall accident,” the fact is that many slip and fall injuries are not the result of true accident, but are caused by the negligence of another party. When that is the case, the negligent party may be financially liable to the victim for injuries sustained in the slip and fall. The only way to find out for certain if your slip and fall injuries are compensable is to consult with an experienced Tennessee slip and fall lawyer. A Smyrna persona injury attorney, however, has offered to explain the basics of slip and fall liability.
What Is Premises Liability?
The area of the law that governs injuries occurring while on the property of another individual or entity is referred to as “premises liability” law. Premises liability, in turn, falls under the much larger umbrella of personal injury law. Most personal injury claims or lawsuits require the Plaintiff (the injured party) to prove negligence on the part of the defendant. In a premises liability lawsuit, the defendant may be the owner or occupier of the property on which the injury occurred. The law imposes a legal duty on the owner/occupier of property to try and prevent harm from befalling others who enter onto the property. Exactly what that duty means, and the extent of the duty imposed on the owner/occupier, depends on the victim’s status while on the property.
Were You an Invitee, Licensee, or Trespasser?
Visitors to the property of another are divided into three categories – invitee, licensee, and trespasser. A property owner or occupier owes the highest duty of care to an invitee and the lowest to a trespasser.
An invitee is someone who is on the property legally, at the invitation of the owner/occupier, and with the expectation of gain by the owner/occupier. For example, a customer at a supermarket or a diner at a restaurant are both there because the business is hoping to make money off their presence. Other common examples of invitees include: a guest at a hotel, a client at an attorney’s office, a patient at a dentist’s office, or a tourist at an amusement park. The owner/occupier of property owes the highest duty of care to an invitee, meaning he/she must warn of danger and repair known hazards.
A licensee, or social invitee, is someone who is also present on the property with the permission of the owner/occupier; however, without the expectation of financial gain. For instance, the plumber who is at the restaurant to fix the leak in the plumbing is a licensee, not an invitee, because he/she is not there to spend money, but to make money. Other examples of a licensee/social invitee include a guest at a party, an inspector doing an inspection on your home, an employee of a lawncare company who is cutting your grass, or the FedEx delivery driver. The owner/occupier of property owes almost as high a duty to a licensee as to an invitee.
Finally, a trespasser is not on the property legally. Although a trespasser is not on the property with permission, the owner/occupier does still owe a slight duty to him/her – the duty no to intentionally cause harm.
How Can a Smyrna Personal Injury Attorney Help?
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident while o the property of someone else, the owner/occupier of that property may be held liable to you for your injuries if the duty of care owed to you was breached, causing, or contributing to, your accident. Given the numerous circumstances under which a Tennessee slip and fall accident can occur, the best way to find out what legal options you may have is to consult with a Smyrna personal injury attorney as soon after the accident as possible.
Contact a Smyrna Personal Injury Attorney
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident in the State of Tennessee, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced Smyrna personal injury lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected. Contact the team today by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.