Tennessee Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer
Slip-and-falls or trip-and-fall accidents are terms for personal injury accidents resulting from a hazard, obstacle, or condition on public or private property. These accidents are sometimes unavoidable, but they can also occur because someone responsible for a property’s upkeep has been negligent.
The legal system recognizes that property owners or managers cannot be held responsible for every object or condition on their property that could cause injury. Considering some big-box retail stores can be up to 260,000 square feet – about five times larger than a football field – making it difficult for for managers to police and detect spills and other hazards as soon as they occur.
When determining whether negligence resulted in a person’s injury, the court looks for evidence that:
- The overseer or manager of the property had either actual or constructive notice (“known or should have known”) of the hazard
- The hazard could reasonably be expected to cause injury
- The potential injury could be considered serious
- There is a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the hazard and a person’s injury.
In slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall injury cases, the plaintiff’s attorney must be able to prove that all conditions of negligence existed, in order for the plaintiff to collect compensation for damages. It takes a lot of experience to prevail in such cases – the kind of experience that John R. Colvin has.
If you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident and believe someone else’s carelessness is to blame, we may be able to help you. For more than 20 years, we’ve sought to protect the rights of people in the Tennessee Valley, and we’re not intimidated by corporate lawyers who care more about big businesses than the needs of injured people.
Call us today for a no-obligation consultation at 1-844-683-6227.
Why Injuries Occur
Parents often teach children at an early age to look where they’re going, and that’s good advice throughout one’s lifetime. In this instance, looking means being alert and aware of one’s surroundings; no one can safely navigate their environment by staring at the ground beneath them as they walk. So even when you’re being alert, it’s easy to miss some of the common hazards below you that could cause you to trip or fall, such as:
- Uneven or broken walkways – Sidewalks and paths made with stone or cement can deteriorate over time, causing large cracks, unevenness and abrupt drop-offs.
- Unsecured or bunched-up rugs – A rug placed on a hard floor should be secured by carpet tape or a rubber mat that keeps it from slipping; long rugs – such as the industrial types found in entrances to many stores – can sometimes bunch-up, creating a raised bump.
- Peeling floor tiles – Vinyl floor tiles, over time, can become insecure at the edges and begin to curl upward.
- Wet floors and spills – Water or condensation on a floor can be difficult to see, especially if it’s isolated, as is often the case with spills.
- Debris – Anything that lies on a walking surface could be considered debris – bits of hardware like nails or screws, autumn leaves that blow into a store’s breezeway, or bits of food on a restaurant floor.
The risk of slipping or tripping may be higher in areas with inadequate lighting and on staircases – particularly those that are in need of repair, lack handrails, or have a high-gloss surface.
The Tennessee Valley doesn’t get a lot of snow and ice in the winter, but even a little bit of accumulation can be hazardous for pedestrians. Broadly, Tennessee law states people should remove snow or ice on their property in a reasonable timeframe, if it’s practical and safe to do so. So, homeowners aren’t expected to shovel their walkways during an ice storm or immediately after a snowfall. But if they were to allow ice to accumulate on their sidewalk and do nothing to remove it for several days, they could be found liable for anyone who’s injured in a slip-and-fall accident in front of their home.
Tennessee annotated code 29-20-203 states governmental entities are immune from any lawsuit related to a defective or dangerous street, alley, sidewalk, or highway under their care, unless the government had actual knowledge of a defect. This rule affords protection to the government under the same principle that applies to other businesses – there’s no way to be at all times aware of every defect in a geographic area’s infrastructure.
Back in 1998, the Tennessee court of appeals noted, “The question of what condition of a sidewalk will make it defective, dangerous, or unsafe has troubled the courts for many years.” A minor, obvious defect does not necessarily mean a sidewalk is unsafe, and there are no legal guidelines regarding how large a defect must be to be considered unsafe.
On Your Side
A slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident can cause serious lifelong injuries requiring multiple surgeries and rehabilitative care. Many people have found that what seems like a minor back injury at first can gradually worsen and cause severe pain and a lack of mobility.
Even if you think your injuries are minor, if you’ve been hurt in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident, call us today – there is a time limit in Tennessee for filing personal injury cases. Request a no-obligation consultation by filling out our online form or calling us today at 931-962-1044.