How do I prove premises liability in Tennessee?

Any business owner with a property open to the public for shopping, eating or other commercial activity must take care to make sure customers are safe on their premises. It is rare that an injury takes place in a business, and anyone injured due to a business' negligence has options for recourse under Tennessee law.

Injuries or illnesses caused by conditions in a business open to the public may be considered the result of negligence. These issues are specifically addressed by laws and regulations that define and govern premises liability. There are specific conditions under which an owner or manager of a business or facility may be liable for losses related to an injury or illness.

What is the duty of a business owner toward customers?

If a plaintiff in a premises liability case has cause to sue in Tennessee, they must generally show their losses resulted from inaction by the business. When a business manager or owner fails to engage in critical maintenance, such as repairing defective materials like flooring, that results in liability. So does failing to take reasonable steps to to ensure the safety of visitors and customers, like allowing careless actions by staff.

How is this duty connected to an injury or illness?

The plaintiff must prove that the responsible party did not fulfill their duties and that the failure was the direct cause of an injury or illness. For instance, if a person is showing symptoms of mercury poisoning after visiting a shop with broken fluorescent light bulbs, it must be proven that the broken equipment caused the illness for a negligence suit to succeed.

How can a plaintiff calculate damages?

A person must have suffered actual and quantifiable damages to sue a business owner or manager for negligence. This may include medical expenses, wages lost during recovery and emotional distress due to the incident. An attorney can often help quantify these damages.

Source: FindLaw, "Tennessee Negligence Laws," accessed Jan. 22, 2018

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