Explanation of a Premises Liability case
You live in or are visiting Texas, and you or a loved one is injured while shopping at a store, or on another’s property. Do you have a case? You may, but there are many factors that must be taken into account and explored to find out. . When these sorts of injuries occur, it is often referred to in the legal industry as a Premises Liability case.
Many people have not heard the term ‘premises liability’ until they are involved in some type of accident or injury that occurs somewhere outside their own home. In common terms, the phrase “premises liability” refers to the liability or responsibility that a landlord/property owner (also called the “Defendant” in this article) owes to the people who use his/her property—their responsibility to maintain their premises in a safe manner, so as not to cause injury to a visitor. These cases however may also include injuries that occur on a sidewalk or bridge owned by the county/state that causes an injury.
So how do you know if you have a premises liability case? First, someone is injured. Next, the injury must have been caused due to a defect or dangerous condition that existed that contributed to the injury. Examples include: water or food left for long periods of time at a supermarket, scaffolding that wasn’t properly secured and that falls; Old floorboards that were rotted and gave way causing someone to fall through; A malfunctioning automatic door that caught someone’s leg; lack of sufficient lighting causing someone to trip over something, or the lack of lighting (lack of security) contributed to a mugging. Maybe there were no signs or improper signage warning someone of an unsafe condition.
There are countless scenarios like these that could potentially develop into a premises liability case. The burden or proof lies on the attorney hired by the injured party (or their family, if they are deceased) to show that the defect or dangerous condition existed and that the Defendant did not do anything to remedy or prevent that condition. In Texas, we have to prove that the condition or situation on the Defendant’s property caused injury (or death) to the visitor. We have to show that the Defendant knew or should have known that there was risk of harm.
Another factor in these types of cases is the right of the injured person to be on that property. When it involves a worker who is at their workplace, a vendor who is servicing a business, or a shopper who comes to a retail store when the store is open for business – these people have every right to be there, and the landlord cannot deny responsibility. It gets tricky, however, if an employee comes by the workplace after hours to retrieve something, or if a trespasser is injured, like a curious person peeking in the windows of a building that’s for sale when nobody is there, and they fall and break their leg. Aside from trespassers, there’s something else called an “uninvited licensee” – this is someone who has the privilege of entering a property for convenience, pleasure, or some benefit. Such as a bicyclist taking shelter under a roadside pavilion in a rainstorm, or a hunter who has been given permission by a land owner to hunt on his/her land.
The amount of factors that come into play are too many to incorporate them into this article, . The bottom line is that the judge will be looking for evidence that shows whether or not a property owner has made reasonable efforts to maintain the safety of those who visit the property. With any injury case, it is important not only to seek medical treatment immediately, but to document all symptoms, conditions, and treatment received. The victim of premises liability can receive compensation for medical treatment, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Keep in mind that statutes of limitation apply so anyone who believes they have a potential premises liability claim should file the claim in a timely manner. It is always wise to speak to a personal injury attorney with premises liability experience to determine whether you have a case and what your potential outcomes could be. The right attorney can make a difference in the success of your claim.