What Is Premises Liability?
Every day unsuspecting victims are injured after tripping, slipping, or falling in a public place, at someone’s home, or inside a business. These injuries can occur anywhere, including the sidewalk in your neighborhood, a friend’s home, an amusement park, a grocery store, a hotel, a shopping mall, etc.
Objects or hazardous conditions such as a broken staircase, loose carpeting, etc., can lead to a slip and fall case. Property owners have a duty to keep their premises relatively safe for visitors. If the property owner knew or should’ve known about the hazard, they could be financially responsible for your injuries.
It’s critical to involve an attorney early in the process because the responsible party could destroy evidence. If they suddenly repair the hazard that has existed for months, it’s harder to prove your case. This is especially true if there are no photos from the time of the accident.
Types of Injuries in Lewisville Premises Liability Cases
Slip and falls and other types of premises liability accidents can cause serious and potentially lifelong injuries. Some of the most common injuries accident victims experience after a premises liability accident include:
- Broken bones,
- Bumps and bruises,
- Chipped teeth,
- Spinal disc injuries,
- Knee injuries,
- Wrist injuries,
- Head and brain injuries (including traumatic brain injuries), and
- Sprains and strains.
These injuries often result in chronic pain and loss of mobility, which can seriously impact your ability to work and live your life the way you did before the accident. However, a Lewisville premises liability lawyer can assist you in bringing a lawsuit to recover monetary compensation for your injuries.
Premises Liability Laws in Texas
Every state has its own premises liability laws, but the general understanding is that property owners owe a duty of care to people they allow on their property. The duty owed varies based on the classification of the visitor. There are three main categories of visitors that property owners may owe a duty to —trespasser, licensee, and invitee.
In most situations, property owners don’t owe a duty to a trespasser. A trespasser is someone on the property without express or implied permission from the owner. There are some exceptions when a property owner does owe a duty to a trespasser. Property owners cannot intentionally harm trespassers by setting traps, for example. If the landowner is aware trespassers are on the property, they must post a warning sign for known dangers.
Additionally, there is a legal situation known as an “attractive nuisance.” An example of an attractive nuisance is a child trespassing on a property because they are attracted to a swimming pool. Fountains, wells, construction equipment, and trampolines are a few other examples of nuisances that can be attractive, especially to kids. Landowners can be liable to trespassers under the attractive nuisance doctrine and must take proper precautions to keep children safe.
A licensee is on the property with permission for their own convenience but without express or implied consent. This includes people who enter the property for non-commercial reasons, such as friends, family members, and neighbors. Owners can be liable for a licensee’s injuries in some cases. But the injured party must show the owner knew of a condition that posed an unreasonable danger to visitors. They must further prove that the owner failed to take ordinary care to protect you or adequately warn you about the danger.
The third classification is the invitee. An invitee is someone who enters another person’s property with implied or express permission, usually for commercial reasons. This includes when you visit a retail store, go to a restaurant, or shop at a shopping mall. It does not matter whether you intended to buy anything or not—you are still classified as an invitee.
Landowners owe the greatest duty to invitees. They must ensure their property is free from hazardous conditions. This duty also requires a property owner to warn invitees about any potential dangers that have not been repaired yet. Property owners must take reasonable precautions. They must routinely inspect their property to ensure no latent hazards exist that aren’t immediately identifiable to an invitee.
The owner could be liable for your injuries if:
- The hazard posed an unreasonable danger;
- They knew about it or should’ve known about it; and
- They did not exercise ordinary care to protect invitees from this condition.
The main difference between the duty owed to a licensee and an invitee is the owner doesn’t have to know about the condition to be liable for an invitee’s injuries.
Determining Damages in a Lewisville Premises Liability Lawsuit
One of the most challenging parts of any personal injury claim is identifying the appropriate amount of damages an accident victim should recover. In Texas, courts allow for accident victims to recover two types of damages: compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages focus on making you “whole” again after an accident. There are two types of compensatory damages. Economic damages refer to the out-of-pocket costs you incur as a result of the accident. For example, economic damages awards commonly include amounts for the following:
- Past medical bills,
- Future medical expenses,
- Lost wages while you cannot work (or work a light-duty job for less income), and
- Decrease in earning capacity.
However, premises liability accidents—especially those involving serious injuries—take a major toll on an accident victim’s life that is not covered by economic damages. That’s where non-economic damages come into play. Non-economic damages compensate you for the psychological injuries stemming from an accident. While every case is different, the following types of non-economic damages may be available:
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of familial relationships,
- Disability and disfigurement, and
- Mental anguish.
At the Harley Law Firm, our respected Lewisville premises liability lawyers understand the importance of identifying the full extent of your losses. That way, you can rest assured that, at the end of your case, you will recover exactly what the law entitles you to.
Frequently Asked Questions:
I Don’t Know Who Owns the Property Where I Was Injured. Can I Still Pursue a Claim?
Yes, it is common for accident victims not to know who owned the property where they were injured, especially when the accident occurred at a business, sports area, amusement park, or construction site. Even if you were injured in a store parking lot, for example, it may not be the store that controls that particular area. A Lewisville premises liability attorney can help you identify who is responsible for your injuries and prepare a compelling claim for recovery on your behalf.
Is a Property Owner Liable for Criminal Acts of a Third Party?
It depends. However, Texas law allows for those injured due to a third party’s intentional acts to hold a property owner accountable in certain situations. Generally, the question in these cases is whether the criminal act causing your injury was foreseeable by the property owner. For example, if there were other reports of similar crimes occurring on the property, the property owner should be on notice about the danger and respond accordingly. If you’ve suffered injuries due to another’s criminal act, a knowledgeable Lewisville premises liability attorney can help you determine if you have a legal case against the property owner.
Contact Hartley Law Firm TodayChoosing the right Lewisville premises liability attorney is essential. At Hartley Law Firm, we understand what a frustrating and stressful time this can be for you. We have nearly a decade of experience successfully representing clients for premises liability cases. Let us put our expertise and knowledge to work for you.
Our experienced lawyers also handle other types of injury cases, including:
Contact our Lewisville premises liability attorneys today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. A premises liability incident can have lifelong consequences. Let us help ensure the property owner is held liable and fight for the compensation you are owed.