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How To Know If You Have a Valid Slip and Fall Case

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Determining whether you have a valid slip and fall case involves assessing several key factors related to the incident, liability, and damages. Slip and fall cases fall under the broader category of premises liability law, which requires property owners and occupiers to keep their premises safe for visitors. If you’re injured due to a property owner’s failure to keep their premises reasonably safe, you may be entitled to significant compensation.

Below you will find information on how to determine whether you have a valid slip and fall case and when to turn to a Chattanooga slip and fall attorney to help maximize your compensation.

Presence of a Hazardous Condition

The most fundamental requirement for a valid premises liability case is the presence of a hazardous condition somewhere on the property. A hazardous condition is anything that poses a risk of harm (wet floors, uneven surfaces, poorly lit areas, etc.).

It must also be proven that the property owner or occupier knew–or should have reasonably known–about the hazardous condition and neglected to take appropriate actions to remedy the situation or warn visitors of the potential danger.

The Legal Status of the Visitor

The nature in which you were visiting the property has substantial implications for the validity and value of your slip and fall claim. 

Tennessee law differentiates visitors into 3 categories, each with different levels of protection:

  • Invitees: Individuals invited onto the property for the owner’s commercial benefit (e.g., customers). They are owed a higher duty of care.
  • Licensees: Guests who enter the property for their own purposes with the owner’s consent (e.g., social guests). Owners must warn them of known dangers.
  • Trespassers: Individuals with no right to be on the property. In TN, a landowner owes no duty of care to trespassers and is not liable for any injury, property damage, or death suffered by them while on the land.

If you were trespassing, the chances of having a valid claim are much lower but not impossible. There are some exceptions where trespassers could still have a valid claim (age of the trespasser, property owner’s awareness of trespassers, nature of the hazardous condition, etc.), but it’s best to consult with a personal injury attorney to determine if your specific case fits these conditions.

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Negligence

The validity of your slip and fall claim also depends on there having been negligence on behalf of the property owner. To establish negligence, the following is required:

  • Breach of Duty of Care: You must show that the property owner failed to maintain a safe environment, which directly caused the hazardous conditions.
  • Causation: You must prove that there is a direct link between the hazard and your injuries.
  • Injuries and Damages: You must provide evidence to prove that you suffered physical injuries or other damages: medical expenses, property repair or replacement expenses, pictures or videos of the injuries/damages, etc.

If you cannot prove that you suffered injuries and damages, cannot prove that your injuries and damages were directly caused by the hazard, or cannot prove that the property owner was negligent, you likely DO NOT have a valid slip and fall case. 

Consider Tennessee’s Comparative Fault Laws

Tennessee follows a “modified comparative fault” rule, meaning your compensation may be reduced by your percentage of fault in the accident. If you are found to be mostly at fault (more than 50%), you cannot receive compensation for any associated damages.

Why You Need a Slip and Fall Attorney

Insurance companies are never eager to pay out on big claims. They’re businesses, and they don’t make money from paying out. That means they’ll try a number of tactics to avoid paying, including trying to make it look like the accident was your fault. When you’re fighting for compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, emotional damages, and lost wages, you need experienced help.

The right slip and fall attorney can stand up for your rights, fight back against the insurance companies, and give you the best shot at significant compensation for your accident. The attorneys at The McMahan Law Firm have spent years helping people with premises liability claims, and we’re ready to talk with you. Give us a call today, or complete our online contact form for a free case review!