Texas Premises Liability Lawyer
People may assume that if they’re injured while on public property, private land, or inside a business, the property owner will be legally obligated to pay for their medical expenses. But that’s not necessarily true, as illustrated by an opinion from the Supreme Court of Texas.
In June 2015, Texas supreme court justices found that even though a premises liability statute requires an employer to maintain a safe workplace, the law “does not obligate an employer to eliminate or warn of dangerous conditions that are open and obvious or otherwise known to the employee.” The case, Randy Austin vs. Kroger Texas, No. 14-0216, concerned a grocery store employee who was mopping up a spill when he fell and broke his femur. The severity of the injury required nine months of hospitalization and six surgeries, and caused his left leg to be two inches shorter than his right.
If you’ve sustained an injury on someone’s property, you need a lawyer who understands the challenges of premises liability law. The Evans Law Firm has been able to achieve favorable results for clients, getting the settlements they need to cover their medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Find out how we can help you. Call us today at (855) 414-1012 for a free consultation.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability means a property owner, lessee, or occupant is liable for someone’s injuries, because a “defect” on the property caused a person’s injuries. But there are many provisions of this law – Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Chapter 75 – that limit a property owner’s liability.
To prevail on a claim of premises liability, a plaintiff must be able to show that a property owner either was aware of or should have been aware of the defect that caused his injuries. The court will consider other factors, too, such as the reason the plaintiff was on the property, or any risks he assumed.
Sometimes, the outcome of a premises liability case hinges on a single word. In the case of University of Texas at Arlington vs. Sandra Williams and Steve Williams, No. 13-0338, that single word was “recreation.” Texas civil code states that granting permission to use one’s land for recreational purposes does not “assure that the premises are safe for that purpose.” UT-Arlington asked the Supreme Court of Texas to review a lower court’s decision that awarded damages to the plaintiff for her injuries, claiming she had been on university property for recreational purposes.
Sandra Williams attended her child’s high school soccer game at a stadium on the Arlington campus. After the game, she leaned against a gate, and the gate gave way, causing her to fall five feet and injure her rib and arm. The latch on the gate had fallen off at some point in the past, and the university had used a chain and padlock to keep it closed. The supreme court’s opinion stated that watching a soccer game is dissimilar to the definitions of “recreation” in the state statute – hiking, fishing and swimming, for example. Therefore, the justices affirmed the previous ruling in favor of Williams.
No one expects that a routine event like mopping a floor or watching a high school soccer game can result in serious, debilitating injuries. Unfortunately, many people have suffered injuries due to a property owner’s careless oversight, poor maintenance, or blatant disregard for general safety. If you or someone you love has been injured and you believe you may have a premises liability case, call us today at our toll-free number: (855) 414-1012.
What To Do If You’re Injured
If you are injured while on someone else’s property, your first concern is getting medical attention. But if you are able to, or if you have someone with you who can, collect any information that could be helpful in a premises liability case.
- Get names and contact information for any witnesses.
- Ask bystanders to capture photographs of the scene and email you the images.
- Take your own photos.
- Make note of the exact time the vehicle accident occurred, and get the names of any managers, owners, or employees who talk to you.
- Look for a security camera that may have recorded the accident.
- Call a lawyer as soon as possible.
- Admit any fault for the accident.
- Accept an informal, on-the-spot settlement.
- Sign any forms or agreements.
- Discuss the accident on social media.
In times of stress or panic, your body’s adrenaline may mask feelings of pain. So even if you think your injuries are minor, you should see a doctor right away. If you have grounds for a premises liability case, early documentation of your injuries will help support your case.
Get Help in Understanding Premises Liability Law
The Evans Law Firm has helped protect the rights of people who have been injured because of another’s negligence. If your injuries occurred on someone’s property, you may be entitled to compensation. Call us today at (855) 414-1012, or fill out our contact form, for your no-obligation, free consultation.