If you were recently hurt by a hazardous condition on someone else’s property, the process for determining liability and filing suit for damages is a little different for you than it would be for other types of personal injury claims. Property owners and managers in Tennessee owe different duties of care to specific types of visitors, so it is especially important to understand how the circumstances of your accident could impact your potential recovery.
Working with a knowledgeable Murfreesboro premises liability lawyer is a good way to ensure you pursue your case both efficiently and effectively. The guidance and support of a seasoned personal injury attorney could prove critical not only to proving liability on the part of a property owner, but also to contesting any arguments of comparative fault.
Levels of Care Owed to Different Visitors
There are three different classifications of a visitor on someone else’s property, all of which maintain different degrees of duty by owners and managers of that property. The highest duty of care is owed to invitees who are on property for the financial benefit of a property owner, such as shoppers in a retail store. Property owners must inspect their property regularly for hazards to ensure invitees are not harmed, and they must warn them of any hazards that cannot be immediately fixed.
A similar degree of care is owed to licensees, which are social visitors that are on property for their own purposes. Property owners also must warn licensees of known hazards on their property, and any failure to do so could be grounds for a premises liability case that a Murfreesboro attorney could help with.
Finally, property owners typically owe trespassers—visitors who are on property without the owner’s knowledge or permission—no duty of care other than refraining from intentionally harming them, as per Tennessee Code §29-34-208. However, as defined in this statute, the “attractive nuisance” doctrine allows property owners to be held liable for injuries suffered by trespassing children if the owner failed to properly restrict access to a dangerous but attractive hazard such as a swimming pool.
Potential Restrictions on Recovery
As with all personal injury claims, plaintiffs in Murfreesboro handling a property liability case may have their recoverable compensated proportionately reduced if they are shown to be partially responsible for their own damages. Under the modified comparative fault system used by Tennessee courts, an injured claimant is ineligible to recover any compensation at all if they are found 50 percent or more at fault for their own losses.
In addition, TN Code §28-3-104 establishes a particularly strict statutory filing deadline on personal injury cases, including those governed by premises liability law. Unless an injured party or their local lawyer files suit within one year of their accident on another’s property, their case will likely be time-barred and recovery would likely be impossible.
A Murfreesboro Premises Liability Attorney May Be Able to Help
Civil cases that fall under premises liability law are often significantly harder for unrepresented plaintiffs to manage effectively. Establishing liability can be especially complicated, and comparative fault can play a significant role in limiting restitution and preventing an injured party from recovering fully for their losses.
Fortunately, help is available from a Murfreesboro premises liability lawyer for anyone who suffered harm due to negligence by a property owner or manager. To schedule your initial consultation with a knowledgeable legal professional, call today.