Premises liability involves a complex body of laws governing liability for injuries that occur while on the premises of another person. In general, the person(s) or entity in possession of land and any structures on that land must exercise reasonable care to provide for the safety of others on the premises. The laws vary from state to state with liability being determined by several factors. If you or a loved one has been injured and believe that you may have a premises liability claim, it is imperative that you seek counsel from a San Antonio injury attorney. At the Villarreal & Begum Law Firm, we have helped numerous individuals obtain compensation for injuries sustained due to the negligence of the person or entity in possession of the premises where the injury occurred. Contact us today for a complimentary case evaluation.
Negligence and premises liability are two common arguments made in personal injury cases. The main difference between the two is the higher standard of proof that premises liability claims must meet. Premises liability involves the duty of property owners or managers to use reasonable care in addressing hazards and warning visitors of them. An injured party must prove that the owner knew of a dangerous condition that created an unreasonable risk of harm and failed to fix it. Successfully doing so is arguably the most complicated and challenging aspect of a premises liability claim.
A negligence claim, on the other hand, requires the injured party to establish that the property owner or manager owed them a duty to keep their property safe, failed to keep the premises reasonably safe (negligence), and an injury occurred as a result. Proof that the owner or manager knew of the hazard is not required, but rather that they failed to act how another reasonable person would have under the same circumstances.
An attorney may choose to plead both causes of action to prevent a claim from being rejected.
Every Texas business or property owner has a legal duty to keep their premises in a safe condition for permitted visitors and to warn of any dangers. This duty also extends to the entryways and exits of a business, including parking lots. If the owner of a property is aware of an unsafe area on the property, it’s his or her responsibility to fix the issue and keep that area blocked off until it is repaired. Property owners can be liable for any injuries that occur on their property if they are caused by a hazardous condition, that they either knew about or should have known.
Any individual who enters a private property without invitation from the owner, manager, and/or staff is considered a trespasser. In general, they will not have the ability to file a claim against property owners for any injuries suffered while they are trespassing on the property.
Like many other states, Texas has adopted a recreational use statute that limits liability for recreational property owners. Warm weather in Texas means outdoor recreational activities, such as hunting, camping, hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, etc. People throughout the state engage in such activities that often involve risk. As a result, personal injury accidents occur on private or public property held open to the public for recreational activity. The statute (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 75.001) does not require recreational landowners to ensure their property is safe and states that the landowner (or lessee or occupant) is only liable for injuries that result from gross negligence or malicious intent.
Slip and fall injury is one of the most common causes of premises liability claims. Others include:
Premises liability determination may seem simple, but mitigating factors may exist. Did the property owner exercise reasonable caution? For instance, were hazards clearly marked or access limited? Was the owner aware of the hazard? Was the injured party invited or were they trespassing? Only an experienced premises liability attorney can evaluate the claim and make the proper assessments.
Premises liability injuries can be catastrophic. Slip and fall victims, for example, may sustain a brain injury and sometimes death. Since there are many types of incidents that fall under the umbrella of premises liability, there are many different types of injuries a person may suffer.
Other types of premises liability injuries, include:
Several of these injuries may occur in one property-related accident. On the other hand, some incidents may seem minor at first, but over time can lead to serious injuries. Seeking medical care immediately after will assist you in documenting injuries that potentially may have far-reaching effects that require pursuing a claim. Recovery may include hospital stays, surgeries, and extensive physical therapy.
To protect your legal rights, take the following steps if you have suffered an injury on someone else’s property:
The monetary losses in premises liability cases are often overwhelming, including lost wages, medical expenses and inability to provide for self or family. If your premises liability attorney can prove that the property owner or other responsible party’s negligence led to your injury, you could be owed significant compensation. That may include:
These damages are designed to restore your life as best as possible, to how it was prior to the incident. If you lost a loved one in a premises liability accident, you could be eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim. As a spouse, child of, or another representative of the victim, you may seek compensation for final medical expenses, loss of support, funeral and burial costs, and other damages.
Each state imposes a statute of limitations, limiting the amount of time a person has to file a premises liability lawsuit for compensation. Starting from the date of injury, you have two years to file a premises liability claim in Texas (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003). There are exceptions, but most often, if you file after the statute of limitations has passed, the courts will dismiss your claim, and you will be left with no legal recourse.
Our attorneys are knowledgeable about the laws governing premises liability in the state of Texas. The Villarreal & Begum Law Firm can get you the help you need. In general, you have two years to file a claim. However, starting the process as soon as possible can help ensure you have the time and resources to build a strong case. Call the Villarreal & Begum Law Firm today for your free consultation and thorough evaluation of your claim.