Accidents happen all the time. Most of these incidents are minor and often require no more than basic first aid. But what if you get seriously hurt on someone else’s premises by inadvertently walking into a dangerous situation you should have been made aware of?
You may be able to file a premises liability claim depending on the circumstances but what damages can you expect to recover?
The obligations of property holders to keep things safe
Property owners have a duty of care to ensure that anyone on their premises is reasonably safe from possible injury. This means they should remove or otherwise deal with any dangerous situation as soon as they know about it. Alternatively, they should make visitors aware of possible dangers so they can be avoided.
For example, when employees at a supermarket become aware of a spill that could result in someone slipping and suffering serious injuries, they should place warning signs and clean up the mess. This is their legal obligation and failing to do so is negligent. That leaves the store open to a premises liability claim.
Property holders, like store owners, can also be held responsible for hazards that they should have known about, even if they lacked actual knowledge. For example, if the shopkeeper never sent an employee around the aisles to look for spills, the fact that they didn’t know there was one there isn’t an excuse.
Both economic and non-economic damages are possible
Plaintiffs in a premises liability case can recover economic and non-economic damages if it can be shown that the owner or person/entity in charge of the premises in question is at fault.
Economic damages include quantifiable medical costs directly related to injuries, lost wages and possible damage to property. Non-economic damages may include compensation for pain and suffering or emotional distress.
How much financial compensation you could receive depends on the severity of your injuries and other factors of your case. However, in Tennessee, there is no cap for economic damages, but non-economic damages are capped at $750,000 and can be adjusted to $1,000,000 if there is a catastrophic injury such as extreme damage to the spinal cord. Punitive damages are capped at $1,000,000.
Having basic knowledge about what a premises liability case is and possible damages can help you decide whether you should pursue legal action or not after an accident on someone else’s property.