Students at Ole Miss University and residents in the surrounding community of Oxford, Mississippi are mourning the death of a student after an unexpected sledding accident last month. A senior at Ole Miss, and a member of the Phi Psi fraternity, was killed after he hit a street sign near campus while riding in a kayak. According to a local news report, the students were taking advantage of a rare snow day by sledding down a snow covered hill in the Highland Square neighborhood when the victim lost control, hit a road sign, and was ejected from his kayak and killed.
Storms and winter weather increase the dangers on Tennessee roads and complicate most other activities that residents are involved in. People are at an increased risk of slipping and falling when entering and exiting homes and businesses, and other dangers like sledding come with the season as well. Winter accidents come in many sorts and can have a variety of causes, but as a general rule business and property owners are liable for the increased dangers that the winter weather brings to their property.
Premises Liability Lawsuits in Tennessee and the Issue of Foreseeability
In Tennessee, a property owner can be held responsible for injuries and deaths that occur on their property as a result of their own negligence or failure to warn. Property owners have a duty to maintain the safety of their premises and protect members of the public against foreseeable harm. This does not mean a property owner is automatically responsible for any injuries suffered on their property. An owner can only be held liable for injuries that can be reasonably foreseen under the circumstances. This foreseeability requirement is designed to prevent property owners from being held financially responsible for harms that they could or should have never seen coming.
Comparative Negligence in Tennessee Cases
Property owners may be able to avoid liability for accidents and injuries on their property by arguing comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is a legal doctrine that applies in many states, including Tennessee, and acts to limit a negligent plaintiff’s ability to recover damages from a defendant.
Under the Tennessee comparative negligence rules, which were adopted with the Tennessee Supreme Court’s decision in McIntyre v. Balentine, 833 S.W.2d 52 (Tenn. 1992), a negligent plaintiff may only recover damages from a defendant if the plaintiff’s negligence was less than that of the defendant. In Tennessee cases where a plaintiff’s negligence contributed to an accident but was less than the defendant’s negligence, the amount of damages awarded to the plaintiff would be reduced in proportion to the amount of negligence attributed to them. It is essential for an accident victim to plead their complaints in compliance with this rule to avoid dismissal of their claims.
Have You Been Injured in a Tennessee Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a slip-and-fall accident or other premises liability accident, the skilled lawyers at Matt Hardin Law can help with your case. We know the most effective ways to try a Tennessee wrongful death cases, and we are not afraid to fight to get our clients the damages they deserve. At Hardin Law we represent clients in premise liability, personal injury, and wrongful death cases. Call us today to schedule a free consultation at (615) 200-1111 or fill out a free online form.
See Related Blog Posts:
Mother and Son Killed after Leaving Their Vehicle to Help Crash Victims on I-65, Nashville Injury Lawyer’s Blog, published February 17, 2014.
Woman Driving Under the Influence Crashes into Two Cars in Ft. Campbell, Nashville Injury Lawyer’s Blog, published December 19, 2014.