Premises liability refers to the liability of a property owner or occupier for a physical injury caused by an unsafe condition. Injuries that fall under premises liability are often referred to as “slip and fall” injuries. These types of injuries often occur from a plaintiff who fell and injured due to a slippery or unstable condition. However, these injuries are not only caused by dangerous conditions on the floor. Premises liability may arise from injuries caused by any condition on the property. If you suffered injuries due to a property condition, you should talk to Texas slip and fall lawyers right away. Personal injury lawyers who represent clients in premises liability cases can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Texas premises liability law
Texas personal injury law creating premises liability can be a complicated issue because the at-fault party will argue its duties to you and other people do not require them or their insurance company to pay for your injuries. Texas law defines visitors to a business, home, or public place in three categories.
Under Texas premises liability law, a person is an invitee when expressly or indirectly invited onto the property. That might be a social guest in your home or customers in a business open to the public. The property owner holds the highest duty of care to invitees because the owner invited them onto the premises. The owner has a duty to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of invitees, such as searching for and then fixing or warning of dangerous conditions.
A licensee is a permission allowed to be on the property by the owner but is on the property for the licensee’s own benefit. For example, a salesperson who shows up at your door is a licensee. The salesperson is there to conduct his or her business, not because you invited them to knock on your door. A property owner owes licensees a duty to fix or warn of a dangerous condition if the owner is aware of the danger.
A trespasser is a person without permission to be on the property for any reason. A trespasser is somebody who enters property despite signage or a barrier, such as fencing, that indicates the area is not open to entry. A premises owner owes no duty to a trespasser except to avoid intentionally causing harm to the trespasser.
Government property falls under special provisions under Texas law. The Texas Legislature decided to balance the state’s obligation to maintain public property safely with minimizing the ability for people to sue the state for premises liability and other tort claims. Under the Texas Tort Claim Act, your right to pursue claims against the state for injuries on public property is limited. You also must act to put the state government on notice of your claim in a short period of time. If you suffer a premises liability injury on public property, you need to contact a Texas premises liability attorney right away.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries in Texas
In retail stores and restaurants the floor can have spilled food and drinks, merchandise and other slippery conditions that can cause injury. These injuries do not always occur on flat surfaces, they can occur on stairs and ramps, which can be particularly dangerous. Property owners have a duty of care to their guests to make sure the floors are not hazardous. This includes cleaning spilled liquids, removing items obstructing safe walkways, repairing torn carpets and mats, and posting signs of dangerous conditions (such as wet floor signs).
The duty of care extends beyond interior floors. This includes taking steps to remove ice and snow from walkways and repairing holes and damaged steps. Even shared exterior space must remain in a safe condition.
Individuals have the same duties to their social guests, whether they live in a house, apartment, town home, condo, or mobile home. Individuals have to provide safe conditions for social guests and alert their guests of any dangerous condition not immediately fixed. You can suffer injury in a home by broken steps, falling items, icy driveways and other conditions.
Falling objects can be just as dangerous
Walmart began its “falling prices” advertising campaign in the 1990s with black and yellow construction theme, as though the falling prices were so dangerous you needed to be on the alert for objects falling on your head. They were right. You do need to be on alert for objects falling on your head. Shoppers are at risk of objects falling from the tops of displays, shelving units and other high reaching storage space on the retail floor.
Of course, Walmart isn’t the only store accused of falling merchandise injuring customers. Merchandise is at risk of falling on customers in any store or office where businesses store objects above eye level. These injuries can and do happen to customers at other businesses. Property owners, businesses and homeowners, have a duty to protect their guests from dangerous risks above as much as below.
Hire a Texas slip and fall lawyer today
Many people first think of a slip and fall injury as a minor stumble that gives the victim an excuse to claim fictitious injuries to make a lot of money off of nothing. There are always going to be some people trying to make a dishonest buck; but slip and fall accidents can be very dangerous.
Texas courts interpret the law generously for property owners and businesses. That has made the property owners, businesses and their insurers very aggressive in refusing to settle these cases. That means trying to represent yourself in these cases is almost a guarantee that you will lose. Your choice is really between walking away with your own medical bills to pay (if you can pay them) or hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you and stand up to the responsible party. Hire an experienced Texas slip and fall lawyer who can fight for you and get you the money you deserve.