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No Security Sensor on Apartment Gate, City Transit Driver Drops Disable Person Off at a Non Designated Area

Memphis, TN |

My grandson is transported to and from adult day care by MATA Plus, a transportation service for the disabled. Today the driver dropped my grandson off outside the apartment, near the exit gate instead of at my apartment door. We were walking through the gate when it began to close. it knocked my grandson down and my grandson took me down. It kept closing on us. Three boys were near and ran to help us. I guess the sensor sensing more bodies is what caused it to start opening. My grandson appeared shaken and only a little bruised. I was shaken, no bruises, but I will be in lots of pain soon from holding back a 1000 lb gate with my body. Who is to blame? Me for walking through the car's exit, the driver for using an unsafe stop, or the apartment for a possible ill working gate?

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Best answer

    Under Tennessee law, injuries resulting from a dangerous condition on property involve questions of reasonable care by 1) the property owner/operator, and 2) the person using the property. The law does not require property owners to prevent all injuries - only to take "reasonable" care to guard against risks of harm. The greater the knowledge of a risk, and the greater the harm, the more a property owner is held to do something about the situation. There is an equal duty on the person using the property to act reasonably - seen from the perspective of the community as a whole, not just your particular normal habits. Issues about whether the gate should have a sensor are part of the balancing of what is reasonable under the circumstances. So long as a property owner has taken some reasonable measures to take care of their property, the law is not going to require a specific measure be taken to avoid a specific harm.

  2. This sounds like an old state bar question. Seriously, assuming you and / or grandson suffered injuries, I think you both should get medical attention. With respect to liability, I think the gate probably malfunctioned and you may have claim against the apartment complex. There might be some comparative negligence for walking through the area designed for vehicle and not pedestrian but if it is commonly used by pedestrian, then that would shift more blame to the complex, in my opinion. With respect to the transport people difficult to say because if they left you in a place of safety then they may have fulfilled there duties. Were you unable to walk to your apartment without using the driveway? or was it more convenient? If the MATA is government agency or service, then government claims would need to be filed.

    You really need to contact counsel in your state to review your situation.

    The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. I am only licensed in the State of California and I am not providing you with specific legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances and/or the jurisdiction where you reside. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. The information provided is of a general nature is not intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Your question, although you may believe is simple, it is not simple. You require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

  3. I'm glad that nobody was injured. Let the gate owners know of the sensor issues.

  4. Everyone you mentioned could potentially be liable. None of that will really matter much unless you or your grandson suffered some significant injury. If there were no injuries then such a claim would have little value and you will have a hard time finding a lawyer willing to pursue such a claim.

    If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you provide, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the answer. You should seek the advise of an attorney who can explore all aspects of your question. This communication does not form an attorney client relationship.

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