Tennessee Court Discusses Liability of Property Owners in Motorcycle Accidents

Although negligent driving is the cause of most motorcycle accidents, some are due to dangerous roads or thoroughfares. When unsafe road conditions cause a motorcycle accident, an accident victim may be awarded damages from the party that created the hazardous condition, if the injured person establishes liability. The Court of Appeals of Tennessee recently discussed what a person injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a dangerous condition must prove to recover damages. If your motorcycle accident was caused by unsafe road conditions, it is prudent to speak with an experienced Tennessee motorcycle accident attorney regarding your potential claims.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff, who was operating a motorcycle, was struck by a car exiting the drive-through area of the defendant’s fast-food restaurant. The plaintiff sued the defendant property owner on a theory of negligence, arguing that the drive-through lane, which allowed customers to exit the property onto a five-lane highway, created an unreasonably dangerous condition.

Specifically, the plaintiff reportedly argued that the lane promoted an unregulated flow of traffic onto the highway, with no warning signs or traffic control devices. The plaintiff further alleged that the lane was dangerous because it permitted drivers to turn left onto the highway. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. The court found the plaintiff failed to establish a duty or proximate cause, and granted the motion. The plaintiff appealed.

Proving Liability of a Parking Lot Owner

A plaintiff seeking to prove negligence must establish a duty of care owed to the plaintiff, conduct that fails to meet the standard of care, and therefore constitutes a breach, an injury, and causation. Additionally, the plaintiff must prove that any injury sustained was a reasonably foreseeable result of the breach.

Under Tennessee law, a property owner may owe a duty to people on a public road next to the property, if a condition on the property creates a foreseeable risk of harm. A property owner is not required to warn against conditions that do not create a foreseeable risk, however. In the subject case, the court noted that although the plaintiff argued that the drive-through lane created a dangerous intersection that had a history of motor vehicle collisions, the plaintiff failed to offer any evidence in support of his contention.

Further, the defendant property owner produced an affidavit stating that she was unaware of any accidents caused by a driver exiting the drive-through lane either prior to or after the plaintiff’s accident. The defendant also produced a report from an expert which stated that the drive-through lane met or exceeded the Department of Transportation requirements. Thus, the court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Speak with a Seasoned Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you or someone you love suffered damages in a Tennessee motorcycle accident, it is advisable to speak with a seasoned attorney to discuss your right to seek damages. Attorney Eric Beasley is a diligent Tennessee attorney who will zealously pursue the full amount of compensation you may be able to recover under the law. Mr. Beasley can be contacted through the form online or at 615-859-2223 to set up a confidential and free consultation to discuss your accident.