If you’re shopping in a supermarket, and slip and fall, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses under “premises liability” laws. But you have to prove that you were hurt because of some hazard that existed, and that the property owner was negligent for allowing it to happen. Property owners have what’s known as a “duty of care”…that is, they have to reasonably maintain the property to ensure the safety of visitors. But in Tennessee and some other states, the property owner’s “duty” may be limited depending on why you were in/on the property in the first place. For example, if you were an “invitee” (someone who has an open invitation by the owner to do business on the property, like a shopper in a supermarket), then there’s a reasonable expectation that steps have been taken to ensure your safety. But if you did not have permission to be on the property, you’re considered a “trespasser”), then there’s no implied promise that you will be safe.
There are important exceptions in the case of trespassing. If the property is defined as “excessively dangerous”, or the property owner intended to cause harm, he or she can be held liable. And children are not considered trespassers, which is why swimming pool owners are responsible for erecting fences and gates around the pool.
It should also be noted that the state of Mississippi passed the “Landowners Protection Act” in 2019, which says that anyone who owns, leases, operates, or maintains a commercial property in Mississippi will not be liable for any injury on the property unless the person in charge of the property did something that “impelled” the harmful action.
So premises liability laws are complicated and vary from state to state. If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property….or someone has been injured on your property…..make sure you understand the protection you’re entitled to under the law. Call The Cochran Firm Mid-South for a free consultation at 901-523-1222.