Premises liability cases cover a wide range of situations in which people are injured or suffer a wrongful death on commercial or residential property due to the negligent operation, maintenance, use or design of property owned by someone other than the injured party. The term “premises liability” encompasses many events that cause injury and may give rise to liability such as:
- Slip-and-fall injuries such as when a customer or tenant slips on ice that forms on the surface of the parking lot due to the negligence of the property owner, such as by leaving a sprinkler system on when temperatures are below freezing.
- Slip-and-fall injuries such as when a customer or tenant falls due to failure to properly maintain railings, porches or stairs.
- Slip-and-fall injuries such as when a customer slips on a wet floor caused by mopping by an employee who failed to place signs warning the public of a dangerous condition.
- Trip-and-fall injuries when a customer trips on items placed on the walking surface by an employee of the property owner.
- Dog bites from a dog that had a history of biting and is not sufficiently restrained.
- Injuries caused by an employee of a business or property owner that drops an object or knocks an object into a customer.
- Suffering injuries from malfunctioning doors or elevators.
- Being sexually assaulted as a tenant because the property owner failed to provide adequate security or as a customer because the business owner failed to provide security.
- Dram shop liability because a bar owner or restaurant owner served customers drinks when it was obvious to the server that the person was intoxicated and the customer injured himself or another party.
Texas Premises Liability
Property owners and occupiers owe a different duty to their tenants than does an owner/occupier to people lawfully visiting the premises. In other words, a landlord may owe a different duty to a tenant, such as a contractual duty pursuant to a lease, than the owner of a store owes to a customer. For an injured person to be successful in a claim against a property owner/occupier, the person generally must prove the following:
- A condition existed on the property that posed an unreasonable risk of harm to a person present on the property.
- The owner/occupier knew, or should have known in the exercise of ordinary care, that the condition of his or her property posed an unreasonable risk of harm to the person present.
- The owner/occupier should have anticipated that a person on the property would not discover the danger or would fail to protect him or herself against it.
- The owner/occupier was negligent in that he or she created the condition, knew about the condition and negligently failed to correct it or should have known about the condition.
- The person present on the property sustained injuries caused by the condition of the property.
Condition No. 2 is generally one of the more difficult elements to prove. If the condition was created by the owner/occupier of the property, such as mopping a floor, it is not necessary to prove that the owner/occupier knew or should have known of the dangerous condition. If the condition was created by the owner/occupier, then the owner is on notice of the condition. In such cases, the owner/occupier has a duty to exercise ordinary care for the safety of those lawfully on the property. As notice of a dangerous condition is often the most difficult element of a premises liability case to prove, cases involving a defective condition on the property that was created by the owner/occupier may be more likely to succeed.
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If you were injured because of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, contact us immediately. Property owners and their insurance companies hire experts to determine how to get out paying legitimate claims. Hire someone to represent your interest. At the Law Offices of Robert N. Grisham II, we can help you get your claim resolved so that you can move on with your life. Call or e-mail us.
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