If you or a loved one has been injured on someone else’s property, understanding your rights and the responsibilities of property owners under Texas law is crucial. Our aim is to provide you with detailed insights into premises liability claims so that you can be well-informed about your potential case.
Premises liability in Texas encompasses a range of incidents where individuals are injured on someone else’s property due to the property owner’s negligence. As the sixth-largest city in Texas, El Paso, along with other cities like Houston, sees its fair share of these accidents. Adley Law Firm is dedicated to helping victims understand their rights and seek the compensation they deserve.
Overview of Premises Liability in Texas
Premises liability refers to the legal principles that hold property owners and occupiers responsible for injuries that occur on their property. Texas law mandates that property owners maintain a safe environment for visitors and can be held liable if their failure to do so results in an accident or injury.
Common Types of Premises Liability Claims
There are numerous incidents that can give rise to a premises liability claim in Texas, including but not limited to:
- Slip and Fall Accidents: Often caused by wet floors, uneven surfaces, or poorly maintained walkways.
- Dog Bites and Animal Attacks: When a pet or other animal causes harm due to the owner’s negligence.
- Construction-Site Injuries: Resulting from unsafe conditions at a construction site.
- Toxic Exposure Incidents: Involving exposure to harmful chemicals or substances.
- Fire-Related Injuries: Due to inadequate fire safety measures.
- Inadequate Security: Leading to assaults or other criminal acts on the premises.
- Swimming Pool Accidents: Including drownings or injuries from lack of proper safety features.
- Amusement Park Accidents: Stemming from improperly maintained rides or equipment.
- Escalator and Elevator Accidents: Resulting from mechanical failures or lack of inspections.
- Parking Lot or Garage Accidents: Due to poor lighting or maintenance.
- Building Code Violation Incidents: Where non-compliance with safety codes leads to injury.
Visitor Classifications and Owner Responsibilities
In Texas, visitors to a property are categorized into three groups, each with different levels of protection under the law:
- Invitees: Individuals who enter a property for the mutual benefit of themselves and the property owner. Owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees, including the responsibility to warn of non-obvious dangers and to regularly inspect the property for potential hazards.
- Licensees: Visitors who have the owner’s consent to be on the property but are there for their own purposes. Property owners must warn licensees of known dangers but are not required to inspect the property for them.
- Trespassers: Those who enter a property without permission. Generally, owners owe no duty of care to adult trespassers; however, the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine requires owners to ensure safety measures are in place to protect children from foreseeable dangers posed by certain features on the property, such as swimming pools.
When Property Owners are Liable
Property owners in Texas may be held financially responsible for injuries if they knew or should have known about a hazard on their property and failed to correct it or adequately warn visitors. This liability extends to owners of both commercial and residential properties. For instance, a grocery store that neglects to clean up a spill, leading to a customer’s slip and fall, could be held liable for resulting injuries.
Filing a Premises Liability Claim
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, it’s important to take the following steps:
- Seek medical attention immediately for your injuries.
- Document the scene of the accident with photos and notes, if possible.
- Report the incident to the property owner or manager.
- Collect contact information from any witnesses.
- Consult with a premises liability attorney before accepting any settlement offers from insurance companies.
In Texas, you typically have two years from the date of the incident to file a premises liability claim, although there are some exceptions to this statute of limitations. An experienced attorney can help navigate the claims process and work towards securing a fair settlement. If an appropriate settlement cannot be reached, your attorney can file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Compensation in Premises Liability Cases
Victims of premises liability accidents may be entitled to various forms of compensation, including:
- Medical Expenses: Costs for hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and any ongoing medical treatments.
- Lost Income: Wages lost due to time off work for recovery or medical appointments.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical pain and emotional distress caused by the injury.
- Loss of Earning Potential: If the injury affects your ability to earn income in the future.
The value of your claim will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. An attorney can help assess the full extent of your damages and advocate for the maximum compensation available.
Determining Responsibility and Fault
In premises liability cases, determining who is at fault is a critical aspect of the legal process. Texas courts will consider evidence such as:
- The condition of the property at the time of the incident.
- Actions taken by the property owner to prevent accidents.
- Whether the injured person disregarded any warnings or contributed to the accident.
Texas follows a comparative negligence rule, meaning that if the injured party is found partly at fault, their compensation may be reduced proportionally to their degree of fault. However, if they are more than 50% responsible for their injury, they may not be able to recover any compensation.
Choosing the Right Attorney for Premises Liability Claims
Premises liability cases can be intricate, often involving complex evidence and legal principles. It’s essential to choose an attorney with specific expertise in this area of law. Here’s why Adley Law Firm is the right choice:
- Specialized Knowledge: Our attorneys have in-depth knowledge of Texas premises liability law and are experienced in handling a wide range of premises liability cases.
- Contingency Fee Basis: We offer our services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win your case.
- Free Case Evaluations: We provide free consultations to assess the merits of your claim and discuss your legal options.
When selecting an attorney, consider their track record, client testimonials, and willingness to fight for your rights both in and out of court.
What should I do if the insurance company offers me a settlement?
Before accepting any settlement offer from an insurance company, it’s advisable to consult with a premises liability attorney. Insurers often attempt to settle claims quickly for less than they are worth. An attorney can negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Can I still file a claim if I was partially at fault for my injury?
Yes, under Texas’s comparative negligence rule, you may still be eligible for compensation if you were less than 51% at fault for the incident. However, your compensation will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
What if my child is injured on someone else’s property?
If your child is injured due to an attractive nuisance, such as an unsecured swimming pool, you may have a claim under the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine. Property owners have a duty to protect children from foreseeable dangers posed by certain features on their property.
Are landlords liable for injuries that occur inside a rental property?
Landlords can be held liable for injuries that occur due to their failure to maintain the rental property or address known hazards. Each case is unique, so it’s important to discuss the specifics with an attorney.
How long do I have to file a premises liability lawsuit in Texas?
You generally have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. However, there are exceptions to this rule, so it’s best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure your claim is filed within the appropriate timeframe.
Contact Adley Law Firm
For a thorough evaluation of your premises liability case, contact Adley Law Firm today. Our dedicated team is ready to help you navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Take the first step towards protecting your rights by getting in touch with our experienced premises liability lawyers. We’re here to provide the legal support you need.