Visitor Question

Fall in jail due to no “Wet Floor” sign…

Submitted By: Tiffany (Nashville, TN, US)

A slip and fall occurred when an inmate was directed to take another hallway that had just been mopped, but no sign was placed there. He slipped and fell, and was sent to the nurse and never taken to the hospital. He had serious injuries like an extremely cold left arm, and severe neck and shoulder pain afterward.

He has been released from jail and is now going to the pain clinic for treatment and physical therapy. In TN, the sheriff’s office is in charge of the jails, and they deny liability. What can be done about this? Is the inmate entitled to anything for the pain he is suffering? Does the jail have liability for not having a Caution sign placed in the wet hallway? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Tiffany,

The jail should have placed “Wet Floor” caution placards on the site. Their failure to do so was negligent. Here is the problem…

The sheriff’s department is a governmental entity, and as such it has something called “sovereign immunity.” Sovereign immunity means a governmental entity is insulated from personal injury lawsuits. As a result, the entity can only be sued if it agrees to be sued.

Don’t be discouraged. Fortunately, the State of Tennessee is one of the more liberal states when it comes permitting injury claims to be filed against its state agencies. Filing an injury claim against the sheriffs department in Tennessee is considered a “tort claim.” To file your tort claim against the sheriff’s department go to this website.

This is the Tennessee Department of Treasury’s Division of (Tort) Claims Administration. In this site you will be able to gather information about your tort claim. You can also download a Claim for Damages form.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: February 13, 2014

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