On October 20, 2019 our Nashville, Tennessee client was meeting friends for lunch at a popular Brentwood, Tennessee restaurant. After their meal, our 75-year-old client proceeded to walk down the restaurant staircase and exit the building. After exiting she was forced to walk down a four riser concrete staircase outside to get to the parking lot.
As she took her first step, she tried to grab the handrail. But, there was one problem. The staircase was designed and constructed without a handrail in violation of city codes and industry standards. Without a handrail to help her, our client fell off the stairs causing her to sustain a broken arm.
After being injured, our client was taken to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for treatment. She had surgery and began the recovery process. After receiving a large hospital bill she called Weir & Kestner Injury Lawyers for a review of her injury rights.
Because the accident occured on commercial property that was neither owned or maintained by the restaurant we argued primary liability rested with the shopping center property owner. Before we filed a lawsuit, we hired a building codes expert to investigate the staircase and file a report. Our expert found the staircase design and construction was deficient. Our expert also found that the property owner had also installed a handrail after the accident (Note: often proof of remedial measures to fix a dangerous condition is not admissible evidence). With the expert report, we now had a strong legal basis for a lawsuit. So, we filed suit in Williamson County Circuit Court against both parties to ensure our client’s rights were maximally protected.
In cases involving more than one defendant, litigation can become complicated. In this case, we had two defendants, the lessee restaurant and the lessor property owner. Often, the defendants then argue over who is responsible and sometimes agree on a liability split. While these two defendants investigated their potential liability exposure, Weir and Kestner Injury Lawyers were aggressively pushing the case.
At every turn, we pushed back against the defendants to prove liability and all the elements necessary to win the case under Tennessee premises liability law. The parties finished the fact discovery process, including party depositions. Before moving into expert proof, the defendants asked for a mediation in an attempt to settle the case.
At mediation, the parties agreed on a confidential settlement that made sure our client received fair compensation for her injuries. While both defendants contributed to the settlement, the property owner’s carrier paid the majority as the primary liable party. Weir & Kestner held the businesses and their insurance companies accountable and helped our client protect her injury rights.