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$153,500 Settlement for Slip and Fall Injury at Rutherford County Tennessee Kroger

Our client was finishing up shopping at a Smyrna, Tennessee  Kroger.  While approaching a self-checkout aisle, his left heel slid out from under him causing him to fall violently onto his left shoulder and hip.  As he lay on the ground in pain, he noticed he was laying in a growing pool of liquid that he did not see before he fell.   A Kroger employee told him they were aware of the liquid spill and staff was going to clean it up.  Unfortunately, without any prior warning of the hidden danger, the clean up was too late and our client was severely injured.

Slip and Fall in Rutherford County Kroger

Unable to get up due to the pain in his arm and lower body, an ambulance was called and our client was transported to StoneCrest Medical Center.  He was diagnosed with a suspected injury to the rotator cuff and told it may involve repair to the rotator cuff.  He followed up with  Tennessee Orthopaedic Alliance for a consultation.  An MRI showed an acute large rotator cuff tear and he needed surgery.

Kroger denied liability for the accident.  A customer had spilled the liquid just minutes before our client slipped.  Even though Kroger was aware of the liquid spill, Kroger said they were not responsible.  To win a premises liability case against a business like Kroger you must prove certain legal elements:  

  •  The business owed you a duty of care
  •  The business breached that duty
  •  The business’ actions or inactions caused you injury
  •  You suffered legal damages as a result 

Duty:  Kroger Owed Our Client a Duty 

While business proprietors are not insurers of their patrons’ safety, they are required to use due care under all circumstances. Smith v. Inman Realty Co., 846 S.W.2d 819, 822 (Tenn.App.1992).

“In cases involving premises liability, the premises owner has a duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances to prevent injury to persons lawfully on the premises. Eaton v. McLain, 891 S.W.2d 587, 593-94 (Tenn.1994). This duty is based upon the assumption that the owner has superior knowledge of any perilous condition that may exist on the property. See, e.g., Kendall Oil Co. v. Payne, 41 Tenn.App. 201, 293 S.W.2d 40, 42 (1955). The duty includes the obligation of the owner to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition, and to remove or warn against latent or hidden dangerous conditions of which the owner is aware or should be aware through the exercise of reasonable diligence.  Eaton, 891 S.W.2d at 593-94.

Breach:  Kroger Had Actual Knowledge of the Dangerous Condition

A dangerous condition or defective condition must either be (1) caused or created by the owner, operator, or his agent, or (2) if the condition was created by someone other than the owner, operator, or his agent, that the owner had actual or constructive notice that the condition existed prior to the accident.  Blair v. West Town Mall, 130 S.W.3d 761, 764 (Tenn. 2004).  “Actual notice” is defined as “knowledge of facts and circumstances sufficiently pertinent in character to enable reasonably cautious and prudent persons to investigate and ascertain as to the ultimate facts.”  Kirby v. Macon Cnty., 892 S.W.2d 403, 409 (Tenn. 1994).

“Constructive notice” is defined as “‘information or knowledge of a fact imputed by law to a person (although he may not actually have it) because he could have discovered the fact by proper diligence, and his situation was such as to cast upon him the duty of inquiring into it.’” Hawks v. City of Westmoreland, 960 S.W.2d 10, 15 (Tenn. 1997)(quoting Kirby, 892 S.W.2d at 409).  In cases involving premises liability, “the premises owner has a duty to exercise reasonable care under all circumstances to prevent injury to persons lawfully on the premises.” Dobson v. State, 23 S.W.3d 324, 330 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1999) (citing Eaton v.McLain, 891 S.W.2d 587, 593-94 (Tenn. 1994))

Causation:  The Harm To Our Client was Foreseeable

Kroger’s failure to clean up the spill caused our client’s injury.  The risk of harm is considered foreseeable when “a reasonable person could foresee the probability of its occurrence or if the person was on notice that the likelihood of danger to the party to whom is owed a duty is probable. Downs ex rel. Downs v. Bush, 263 S.W.3d 812, 820 (Tenn. 2008) (citations omitted).

In this case, we believed our case had all the legal elements necessary to win.  Our client would not have needed surgery if it were not for Kroger failing to clean up a spill their employees knew about.  We fought against Kroger to prove liability and all the elements necessary to win the case under Tennessee premises liability law.  Before filing a lawsuit, our client asked us to negotiate and Kroger was interested in that too.  We argued for our client’s full economic and noneconomic damages.  After surgery, our client made a full recovery and after months of negotiating accepted $153,500 to settle his claim.

At Weir and Kestner, our Tennessee slip & fall lawyers are here to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us online or call our office directly at 615.220.4180 to speak to one of our experienced attorneys today!

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