What is Premises Liability Law?
Premises liability deals with an injury sustained by a visitor on another person’s property. Texas law requires property owners to keep people safe from foreseeable hazards and dangers. This applies to private property owned by individuals, as well commercial property owned by businesses and corporations. So, a property owner can be held liable for an injury you sustain on the property if you can prove the property owner acted negligently with the property’s maintenance or created an unsafe condition which caused your injury.
What are Some Common Types of Cases a Premises Liability Attorney Handles?
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Dog Bites
- Uneven Pavement
- Uncleared Snow and Ice
- Hanging Tree Branches
- Broken Stairways and Handrails
- Objects Falling from Shelves
- Unguarded Holes
- Insufficient Lighting
- Improper Warning Signs
- Negligent and Inadequate Security Cases
- Pool Drowning Cases
What Elements are Needed to Prove a Premises Liability Case in Court?
Not every injury that occurs on someone else’s property will qualify as a premises liability case. As mentioned above, all property owners, whether they are a homeowner, business, government entity, non-profit organization, or anyone else, are required to maintain their property so that legal visitors to the property are reasonably protected from accidents and injuries. However, the property owner must have a reasonable amount of time to discover and remedy any situation that arises and may cause injury to a visitor.
In a premises liability case, the burden of proof falls on the person who was injured. Therefore, the injured person must prove the property owner is liable for the injuries incurred. This requires proving the following four elements:
- A condition on the property posed a dangerous risk of harm to people who were legally on the property;
- The property owner, or a representative of the owner such as an employee, should have known about the condition and the dangerous risk it posed;
- The property owner or representative failed to take reasonable measures to prevent the contain or protect legal visitors from the condition; and
- The dangerous condition caused injury to the visitor.
So, only when the property owner or their representatives were clearly negligent and the visitor’s injuries are clearly linked to that negligence, is a full award of damages likely. And, having an experienced and skilled premises liability attorney who knows what evidence to collect and how to present your case can make all the difference when it comes to your chances of recovering a fair settlement or jury verdict.
Does the Reason You were On the Property Affect the Legal Duties Owed to You?
In Texas, your legal status on the property in question determines the duties owed to you by the property owner, so the reason why you were on the property when you were injured is important and will affect your premises liability case. There are three different types of legal distinctions for individuals visiting the property of another:
- Invitee — You are considered an invitee if you enter property with the express or implied permission or invitation of the owner and your visit benefits both of you. An example of an invitee would be a customer visiting a Walmart or Chili’s restaurant. Under the law, a property owner owes the highest level of duty to an invitee. Not only must the property owner warn about or make safe dangerous conditions they know about, but they also must make reasonable inspections to discover dangerous conditions and provide warnings for them or make them safe.
- Licensee — You are a licensee when you’re on property that is not open to the general public, but the owner of the property has allowed you to enter, usually with no business purpose involved. An example of a licensee would be when you’re a social guest at someone’s home for dinner or a party. A property owner still has a duty to warn a licensee of dangerous conditions they have actual knowledge about. But, they are not required to inspect the property for dangerous conditions.
- Trespasser — You are a trespasser if you’re on property without permission from the owner. Typically, property owners have no duty to warn trespassers of dangerous conditions on the property.
Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation
If you’ve been injured on property that belongs to someone else, whether it be a home, restaurant, school, or church, you may have a valid premises liability case, and having a premises liability attorney on your side can help protect your rights and ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. The Law Office of Mark O’Bryan takes premises liability cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay any legal fees unless we recover compensation for your injuries. Contact The Law Office of Mark O’Bryan at (972) 372-4054 to learn more!