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What to know about premises liability laws

Property owners are generally required to take reasonable steps to protect visitors from harm. For instance, a Tennessee business owner must generally ensure that a parking lot or sidewalk is free from ice or cracks. In some cases, you may be liable for any injuries that a person incurs while at your home or apartment even if you don’t own it.

The status of the visitor is important

Generally speaking, invitees and social guests have some expectation that they will be safe while on premises that you own or control. An invitee might be a customer who wants to shop in your store or a friend who has been invited to your house to watch a movie. In some cases, you won’t be held liable if a trespasser or an invitee is hurt on your property. A licensee might include a contractor or another person who is on your property for his or her own purpose. Trespassers are individuals who enter your home or commercial property without a specific purpose or consent to do so.

What to know about comparative fault

In a comparative fault system, both the victim and the property owner might be considered liable for an accident. Say that a fall victim was found to be 40% responsible for an accident. In such a scenario, that person’s financial award would be reduced by 40%.

Why landlords aren’t always responsible for what their tenants do

Landlords aren’t necessarily responsible for the actions that their tenants take because they cede control of the property when a lease goes into effect. However, there are exceptions to the rule. If you own a rental property, it might be worthwhile to consult with an attorney before executing a lease agreement.

If you are hurt while on someone else’s property, it may be in your best interest to hire an attorney who has experience with premises liability cases. This attorney may be able to use medical records, video footage and other evidence to prove that your injuries were the result of property owner negligence.