Nashville is among the most vibrant cities in the American South. Each year, millions of visitors from around the world plan vacations to the Music City, hoping to enjoy the sounds, sensations, and opportunities afforded by one of the nation’s liveliest nightlife destinations. However, the best-planned visit can end in trouble. In a dark, crowded bar, any managerial oversight—even something as trivial as a spilled beer or broken bottle—could constitute a significant hazard. In fact, some slip-and-fall accidents have far-ranging consequences that can thrust families to the very brink of financial ruin.
Tennessee Bars and the Duty of Care
Every state sets its own laws outlining business owners’ duties to the public. In Tennessee, bars, nightclubs, and other entertainment venues have a legal obligation to proactively maintain their properties. A Nashville bar may be required to:
- Constantly mitigate dangerous conditions, including wet floors, spilled beverages, and accumulations of water and ice.
- Perform regular maintenance.
- Respond to customer complaints about potentially unsafe conditions.
- Post signs or notices detailing recognized hazards.
When bar and restaurant owners fail to proactively maintain their properties, they endanger patrons and place them at risk for serious and potentially life-altering injuries.
Establishing Liability After a Nashville Bar Slip-and-Fall
Under Tennessee state law, slip-and-fall accident victims have a legal right to file a claim for damages against the person or party that caused their accident. However, obtaining a fair recovery can be unexpectedly difficult. You must be able to demonstrate the following four elements of every premises liability lawsuit:
- The establishment owed its patrons a legal duty of care and was obliged to maintain reasonably safe premises.
- The establishment negligently evaded its duty of care by failing to take reasonable measures to mitigate obvious hazards or prevent a foreseeable danger.
- This negligence caused your slip-and-fall accident-related injuries.
- Your accident-related injuries constitute actual damages that a Tennessee court could compensate.
While proving negligence seems simple, bar and restaurant operators can fall back on various defenses intended to limit and offload their liability. Even if you have what appears to be an open-and-shut case, they could tell the court that you were intoxicated, reckless, or otherwise negligent, and that the accident would have been avoided had you exercised common sense.
Protecting Your Rights After a Serious Slip-and-Fall Accident
If you or a loved one was injured in a Nashville bar, restaurant, or other entertainment venue, take the following steps to protect your legal rights to recovery.
After an accident, always immediately inform the property’s management team that you were injured by a dangerous condition on their premises.
Get Medical Attention Right Away
Even if you don’t believe you were seriously injured, you need a thorough medical examination. A physician could help you identify, diagnose, and treat internal injuries, including traumatic head injuries, that may not present any immediate symptoms.
Additionally, seeing a doctor shows an insurance company that you have legitimate concerns about your physical well-being and aren’t simply seeking to profit from an unfortunate accident.
If you don’t need to visit an emergency room or seek intensive medical care, try to collect evidence of the dangerous condition that caused or contributed to your accident:
- Take pictures of the wet floor, spilled beverage, or other hazards that caused your slip-and-fall accident.
- Photograph your visible injuries.
- Ask eyewitnesses for their full names, phone numbers, and other contact information.
Since insurance companies often seize any opportunity to minimize an accident victim’s potential compensation, collecting evidence supporting the establishment’s negligence is of the utmost importance.
Contact an Attorney
Bringing a slip and fall case against a Nashville bar or restaurant isn’t something to tackle alone. A skilled legal team not only helps collect additional evidence, but it also proves liability by:
- Reviewing police reports and management inquiries.
- Subpoenaing the business’s history of complaints and internal safety procedures.
- Obtaining surveillance camera footage.
- Interviewing eyewitnesses and consulting industry experts.
- Assessing your damages.
- Negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf.
- Preparing for trial, if the bar is unwilling to negotiate in good faith.
You likely stand a better chance of success with an experienced slip-and-fall attorney on your side. However, you must act fast: Tennessee has a strict statute of limitations applicable to all slip-and-fall accident claims. If you don’t contact an attorney as soon as you can, the timeline could lapse, and a Nashville court could dismiss your claim on a technicality.