Premises Liability FAQs
The Evans & Herlihy Law Firm has handled many premises liability cases throughout Texas. These cases are governed by “tort law,” which is broad term that describes the civil duties of individuals. When the owner or manager of a property is found to have breached a civil duty and, as a result, another party suffered an injury on that property, the court may find the injury victim is entitled to compensation.
Many legal protections exist for Texas property owners, so in a premises liability case, the burden is on the plaintiff’s attorney to prove that a breach of care occurred. If you’ve suffered an injury and think you may have a premises liability case, call us to request a free case consultation, at 1-855-414-1012. To learn more about premises liability, see these common questions and answers:
“If I slip and fall in a grocery store and injure my back, can I pursue a premises liability case?”
The answer to this question depends on whether the person responsible for the property was aware of the hazard that caused your fall. So, for example, if moments earlier, another customer spilled some of his coffee on the floor, and you stepped in it and slipped, the store would not be liable for your injuries, because the liquid wasn’t on the floor long enough for management to be aware of it or to remove it.
“How long does a hazard need to be present for a property owner to be found liable for injuries caused by that hazard?” Like most matters of civil law, there’s no hard-and-fast rule that answers this question. The court considers whether the property owner knew or should have known about the hazard and had “a reasonable amount of time” to do something about it. Here’s another example that illustrates this aspect of the law: A retailer knows that on particularly hot days, the overhead air conditioner drips condensation onto the floor. If a customer were to slip in that water and suffer an injury, the retailer would almost certainly be liable for their injuries. However, if the manager puts a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign under the AC unit and has an employee mop up the water frequently, the court would likely side with the retailer in a premises liability case. “If I suffer an injury due to a hazard on public property, is the city liable?” Cities are obligated to maintain public areas, such as sidewalks and streets, but there’s no way for city governments to detect and repair every possible defect in such a vast area of land. Whereas a storeowner might be found liable for injuries due to a spill that remained on the floor for several hours, a city may fulfill its civil duties by warning the public of defects. Examples of that include using a barricade and signs to close a flooded road, or spray-painting an area of uneven sidewalk in a bright color to alert pedestrians of the hazard until it can be repaired. “If I’m injured on someone’s land, is the landowner responsible for my injuries?” Texas has a Recreational Use Statute that protects landowners from liability if people using their property for recreation are injured. But if the landowner were grossly negligent – aware of a serious hazard likely to cause harm – the court could side with the plaintiff in a premises liability case.
There are some exceptions to this statute. In general, landowners owe no duty of care to trespassers, unless those trespassers are children. Texas Attractive Nuisance Doctrine states that when landowners are aware of hazards on their property that could be attractive to children – such as swimming pools, or unstable structures – the landowner must attempt to mitigate hazards or prevent children from accessing them. The reason for this law is that young children, unlike adult trespassers, do not fully understand the consequences of their actions.
A landowner may also have an increased duty of care to recreational visitors if visitors pay a fee to use the land and the landowner’s fee income exceeds 20 times the amount of the previous year’s property tax bill.
Help for Injury Victims
In Texas, the law tends to favor businesses, so when people are injured in an establishment, they may feel they have little chance for getting compensation under a business owner’s insurance policy. If you’ve been injured and believe you might have a premises liability case, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side so you can achieve the best outcome possible.
Request a no-obligation case consultation by emailing the Evans & Herlihy Law Firm, or by calling us at 1-855-414-1012.