While in most situations it is preferable for Tennessee property owners to avoid dangerous conditions on their property altogether, in some cases it simply is not possible for owners to do so. They may need to make a repair, update construction, or start a project that necessarily leaves a dangerous condition temporarily on the property. When this happens, it becomes imperative that property owners properly warn others who enter the property so that they know that a dangerous condition exists.
A recent case before the Tennessee Court of Appeals looks at whether a dangerous condition was properly flagged for others and whether reasonable precautions were put in place. In this case, L.R. was injured after she slipped and fell on a wet hallway floor outside her classroom at a local middle school. Earlier that day, custodians at the school had noticed that water was spilled on the hallway floor. They decided to mop up the water, which was on the left side of the hallway. They placed signs in a small area of the hallway to indicate to others that the floor was wet. However, they then proceeded to continue to mop the remainder of the hallway, going all the way over to the right side where L.R.’s classroom was located. The custodians did not move any of their signs to indicate this broader wet floor, and did not warn L.R. although she was in the classroom at the time.
Shortly thereafter, L.R. exited her classroom and fell almost immediately after she slipped on the wet floor. She was injured and sued the school for her injuries, alleging they had failed to properly warn of the hazard. The court, after listening to the testimony of the witnesses and reviewing security video footage of the fall, agreed with L.R. and found that the school had been negligent in failing to properly warn L.R. of the dangerous fall. The school district appealed.