University Of Tennessee Agrees to Pay Student $300,000 In Personal Injury Damages After Failing To Maintain Safe Campus.

Property owners have an obligation and duty to maintain safe premises.  This duty extends to the property itself, but also may apply to the sidewalks and walkways immediately nearby.  While this duty applies to areas that may only see guests for a brief period of time, such as a restaurant or retail store, it is perhaps even more important for areas that have long-term exposure for injury, such as college campuses.  When a college or university fails to provide a safe environment for its students and faculty, it may be sued for the damages that result as a consequence of their action, or inaction. 

That is what happened to the University of Tennessee after it reportedly failed to provide a safe environment for one of its students.  According to, Jessica Smith, an attending student, was walking from a parking garage to her residence hall one November when she was attacked by an unknown assailant and struck with a brick.  Smith was seriously injured by the attack and experienced multiple injuries, including severe brain damage.

Smith filed a personal injury lawsuit against the school for allegedly failing to provide adequate lighting where the attack occurred.  While the University did not directly cause her injuries, the lawsuit argued that they increased the likelihood of her being attacked by failing to provide adequate lighting, thus creating an unsafe walking environment.  This unsafe environment could be considered a breach of the duty of care that the University had towards Smith and every other student. Rather than go to a jury trial, the University agreed to pay Smith $300,000 in personal injury damages for the injuries and expenses she incurred as a result of the attack.

Have you been injured on someone else’s property?  If so, you may be able to recover for a wide variety of personal injury damages and expenses, but you’ll need an expert attorney to help guide you through the complexities of a civil trial.  To contact one of our expert Massachusetts personal injury attorneys, including our premises liability specialists, please call 617-787-3700 at any time of day, or if you prefer, email us at Your needs are our top priority!

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