§49.7A Duty on Private Property
The Case: Hickman v. Jordan, 87 S.W3d 496 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2001).
The Basic Facts: Plaintiff pedestrian was injured when she was struck by a car in a private parking lot.
The Bottom Line:
· “Both common sense and the Tennessee Code create an obligation on the part of drivers of automobiles to exercise due care. Section 55-8-136 of the Tennessee Code provides, ‘every driver of a vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian upon any roadway….’ Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-8-136 (1998). The Code further provides: ‘The driver of a vehicle shall not back such vehicle unless such movements can be made with reasonable safety and without interfering with other traffic.’ Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-8-163 (1998). Since this accident occurred on private property, neither the statutory rules of the road nor the common law rules pertaining to public roadways are applicable. However, the duties and liabilities of drivers are governed by the basic principles of common law negligence requiring each person to exercise ordinary and reasonable care under the circumstances. The statutory requirements help to determine the minimum standard of care. Miller, 457 S.W.2d at 862-63. Conditions such as those found in a crowded parking lot may require a driver to use an even greater degree of care. Id. The duty of a driver has been summarized as ‘a duty to keep a reasonably careful lookout commensurate with the dangerous character of the vehicle and the nature of the locality….’ Hale v. Rayburn, 37 Tenn. App. 413, 264 S.W.2d 230, 233 (1953).” 87 S.W3d at 499.