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In the U.S., countless people are injured each year due to someone else’s negligence. Many of those cases fall under the legal principles of premises liability, which holds property owners and tenants responsible for the condition of their property. Learn more about premises liability below.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
If you get hurt on someone else’s property and sue for damages, it may be considered a premises liability case. There are many types of premises liability cases, including:
- Dog bites
- Swimming pool accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Assaults due to negligent security
- Injuries or death resulting from fire
- Elevator accidents
- Exposures to toxic fumes or chemicals
Virtually any accident that occurs on property that’s under someone’s care may be considered a premises liability case. However, certain factors must be present. You must have measurable damages, and you must be able to prove that the person responsible was negligent in some way.
If you have questions regarding an injury case, it’s vital that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. These types of cases can be complicated, and there are statutes of limitations you must adhere to.
Proving Negligence in a Premises Liability Case
In a premises liability case, you must be able to prove negligence, which is the failure to take reasonable care in situations where a person may be on your property. Negligence is not an intentional act; rather, it is careless in nature. In a negligence case, four things must be proven:
- The person you sue must have a duty of care; they must be responsible for the property
- You must prove that they violated their duty of care
- You must prove that the violation caused your injury
- You must have measurable damages or injuries
You must also be able to show that it’s reasonable to expect a person to address the issue that caused your injury. For example, if you slip on ice, you could argue that a reasonable person would make sure their walkways are free from ice. If further examination shows that the property owner performed reasonably, they may not be considered negligent; the incident may be labeled an accident.
Examples of Property Owner Negligence
As mentioned, you must be able to show that the property owner did not maintain their property as a reasonable person would. For example, if an injury is caused by one of the following, you may be able to show that the owner did not perform reasonable/regular maintenance:
- Rotten boards
- Missing handrails
- Hidden trip hazards
- Broken stairs
- Wet floors
- Uneven thresholds
Accidents do happen, but in cases of negligence, accidents can be prevented. You can often figure out if an injury is caused by negligence by asking if it could have been reasonably prevented.
Duty of Care Implications in Texas and Elsewhere
While many states hold that owners have a duty of care toward anyone who steps foot on their property, Texas makes a distinction between types of visitors:
Invitees – These are guests who have entered the property with the owner’s knowledge and for the mutual benefit of both parties. Examples include a customer entering a grocery store, or a painter going into your home to paint a room for you. For these individuals, the property owner is held to the utmost level of duty of care. If the invitee wanders into a forbidden area of the property, however, they may no longer be considered an invitee.
Licensees – These are people – such as utility workers – who come onto the property to perform an official function. For these people, property owners have a responsibility to warn them of any dangers on the property.
Trespassers – Trespassers do not have an invitation or official reason to be on the property and therefore, do not have as many rights as other types of visitors.
If you’ve been injured in Dallas due to the negligence of a property owner – whether commercial or residential – call the law offices of Juan Hernandez, one of the few attorneys in Texas who is board-certified in personal injury law.