What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability cases can be tricky. When a person becomes injured on someone else’s property, that does not automatically open the owner up to a premises liability case. In order to pursue a premises liability case, three things must be proven.
- There must be some duty of the property owner to keep the plaintiff safe.
- The property owner has to breach that duty.
- And finally, that breach of duty has to lead to the plaintiff becoming injured.
In order to receive payment for damages, you will need to prove these three things in a premises liability case.
Types of Guests
When you are pursuing a premises liability case, the plaintiff is placed into one of three categories: Invitee, Licensee, and Trespasser.
- Invitee: An invitee is someone who is invited onto the property by the owner. This invitation could be explicit or implied. An invitee is someone who is on the property for a mutually beneficial relationship. This usually means the invitee is on the property to purchase or partake in a service provided by the property owner. Examples of invitees include hotel guests, diners at a restaurant, shoppers at a store, and clients.
- The property owner is responsible for warning or fixing any problems that they discover on the property. This includes inspecting the property and promptly fixing the problem or warning the invitee.
- The duty owed to invitees is higher than those due to licensees or trespassers.
- Licensee: A licensee is someone who has been invited onto the property by the property owner’s explicit or implied invitation. However, unlike the invitee, the licensee is on the property for the purpose of the licensee’s business or pleasure. This would include food deliverers, house guests, lawn care workers, salespersons, or friends.
- The property owner is not expected to inspect the premises, but they are responsible for warning the licensee of any problems that they are aware of that the licensee may not be aware of.
- Trespasser: A trespasser is someone who enters the owner’s property without permission—explicit or implied.
- The only duty owed to a trespasser is that the property owner must refrain from purposefully or recklessly causing injury.
Common Premise Liability Cases
Many premises liability cases are brought to court by a licensee or an invitee. Because of this, the most common types of premises liability cases are slip and fall cases, swimming pool accidents, dog bites, staircase falls, gym injuries, lack of security, amusement park accidents, and elevator accidents.
Proving Premises Liability
In order to prove a premises liability case you will need:
- Proof that the defendant is the legal owner of the property.
- Proof that the defendant did not meet their duty to keep you safe or failed to warn you of problems on the property. This includes gathering proof that the property owner was notified of the dangerous conditions, and then consequently failed to remedy the situation.
- Proof that their breach of duty led to your injuries or damages. This includes gathering photo evidence, medical exams, patient charts, ER visit summaries, x-rays, and even MRIs. It is important to take pictures and video evidence of these injuries as soon as they are sustained. This can also include witness statements and other documentation.
- Evidence that you were an invitee, licensee, or trespasser at the time of the injury.
- And finally, evidence that you had no prior knowledge of the danger on the property.
Premises Liability Defense
Nobody wants to be held responsible for someone else’s injuries. That is why a good lawyer is essential. A few common defenses in premises liability cases include:
- The condition was “open and obvious.” An open and obvious condition is one that the court deems that a reasonable person could have foreseen and avoided.
- The plaintiff was distracted—reading a book, texting, etc. when they suffered the injuries.
- The plaintiff was not wearing the proper attire for the situation.
- The plaintiff was in a part of the property that is not open to the public.
- The defendant had exercised reasonable care (i.e. placed down a wet floor sign), but the plaintiff did not pay attention.
Damages in a premises liability case are not limited to physical injury. They can include:
- Past and future medical care
- Property Damage
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
Pursuing a Premises Liability Case in Texas
Have you, or someone you know, suffered injuries on someone else’s property? At the Paxton Law Firm, we have over 20 years of experience in premises liability law. We can help you fight for damage due to you. We have helped people recover money for past medical bills, lost wages, future medical bills, disfigurement, impairment, and pain, and suffering. Call us at (281) 978-2244, or visit our website for a free consultation. Don’t suffer in silence, let the attorneys at Paxton Law Firm fight for you.