Although premises liability claims must be handled on a case-by-case basis, there are common accidents that may leave an individual eligible for premises liability compensation.
What is Premises Liability?
Generally, premises liability encompasses the legal responsibility a property owner owes to a person on their premises based on the individual’s legal status at the time of an injury. Most states, including Texas, categorize individuals on-premises as either a “trespasser”, “licensee”, or “invitee”.
In Texas, an “invitee” is defined as “one who enters the property of another with the owner’s knowledge and for the mutual benefit of both.” For example, a grocery chain runs ads on television inviting you to shop at their store at discounted prices so that they can sell you items that you mutually benefit from purchasing those items.
Property owners owe different responsibilities to people on their premises based on the legal classification.
Common Causes of Premises Liability
Some of the common instances of premises liability include but are not limited to:
Slips and falls.
Dog bites and animal attacks
Swimming pool accidents.
Drowning and near-drowning accidents.
Icy or wet walkways, sidewalks, or stairs.
you may be entitled to compensation
Such injuries can lead to medical bills, ongoing therapy, or lost wages. Our team of attorneys has years of experience going up against the big insurance companies that represent retail chain stores and apartment complexes, and we can help get you the compensation you're entitled to.
What Duty do Store Owners Owe to Customers on their Premises?
In Texas, as a customer at a store premises, you will most likely be classified as an invitee.
Duty Owed to Invitees.
In a typical circumstance, a landowner owes an invitee two legal duties: 1) a duty to keep the premises “reasonably safe” and 2) a duty not to injure the invitee through contemporaneous negligent activity (e.g. an employee striking you with a broom handle while sweeping). A premises owner’s duty only extends to hazards not open and obvious to the invitee (concealed) but of which the owner is aware, or reasonably should have been aware (e.g. via periodic inspection). Generally, a landowner can satisfy their duty to invitees to keep a premise reasonably safe by either: a) getting rid of the dangerous condition; b) minimizing the condition so that it is no longer unreasonably dangerous; or c) warning invitees about an unreasonably dangerous condition on the property—even if the condition remains (e.g. putting out a yellow caution sign). Ordinarily, a landowner does not have to make their premises reasonably safe and warn invitees about an unreasonably dangerous condition on the property— they can choose one or the other solution.
Exceptions to the Duty Owed to Invitees
A premises owner’s duty to invitees is not absolute. In that regard, there is an instance when a premises owner can reduce its responsibility. This includes the following: Unreasonably Dangerous Condition is Open and Obvious. Generally, premises owners do not owe invitees a duty when the dangerous condition is open and obvious. For example, if the store owner has placed a yellow caution sign near an orange liquid on the floor. The Supreme Court of Texas has stated that: when a condition is open and obvious or known to the invitee, the landowner is not in a better position to discover it. When invitees are aware of dangerous premises conditions—whether because the danger is obvious or because the landowner provided an adequate warning—the condition will, in most cases, no longer pose an unreasonable risk because the law presumes that invitees will take reasonable measures to protect themselves against known risks, which may include a decision not to accept the invitation to enter onto the landowner's premises However, despite a dangerous condition being open and obvious, the Texas Supreme Court had also held that a landowner still owes a duty to invitees when the use of the premises was necessary (i.e. “necessary use exception”). For this exception to apply, the facts must demonstrate that: 1) it was necessary that the invitee use the unreasonably dangerous condition, and 2) the landowner should have anticipated that the invitee was unable to avoid the unreasonable risks despite the invitee’s awareness of them. For example, using a necessary, but poorly lighted staircase in a common area. The necessary-use exception applies to a landowner’s proportionate responsibility for a customer’s injury (e.g. 51% responsible for the damage). Texas also recognizes a “criminal activity” exception to the generally open and obvious exception to landowner liability. It applies in cases involving dangers resulting from a third party’s criminal conduct. The landowner should have anticipated that the harm would occur, despite the invitee’s knowledge of the risks. This too applies to a landowner’s proportionate responsibility for a customer’s injury.
If you have recently suffered injuries at a business premises and need assistance with filing a claim, contact a skilled premises liability attorney to fight on your behalf. The attorneys at the Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm are experienced and ready to push to get the results you deserve.
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What to do After Suffering an Injury on a Business Premises
Premises liability cases in Texas are notoriously fact intensive. Evidence is required to establish the existence of the dangerous condition and the events that led to the incident. Following an injury on a business premises, certain measures may assist with establishing a record of what occurred and preserving evidence. The following should be considered:
Contact Emergency Response/Report the Incident.
If the injury is severe, it is essential that you or someone at the scene contact a local agency responsible for emergency response, if available (e.g. 911).
Notify the Store Personnel/Manager.
Immediately after you suffer an injury on a business premises, it is essential that you notify the appropriate supervisor or manager on duty of the incident. This may be done through lower-level employees, but make sure that a superior on duty is notified.
Give the Store Personnel Your Information/Account of Events.
Stores often have internal incident reports when customers report injuries.
Store personnel may also ask you about the events leading to the injury and how it occurred. It is important to let them know the details of how it occurred and indicate who/what was at fault if known.
Human memory is notoriously unreliable over time. The details of an event may escape you. so it is important to document the scene.
Identify Witnesses/Collect Evidence
The more documentation that you have to support your account of events, the stronger your claim. So, it’s important, if possible, to gather witness information (name and contact) and/or record a witness’s first-person account.
Seek Treatment Immediately
It cannot be overstated how important it is to seek treatment for injuries incurred at a business premises. The adrenaline after a crash may mask any injuries, but as early as you begin to experience symptoms (which may be the same evening), you should see a qualified health care professional evaluate your condition.
Do Not Speak with the Other Driver's Insurance Company
Statements made to an insurance company representing the person that hit you, can and will be used against you if your statements hurt your case.
Contact The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm
To prevent having to speak with an insurance company and to protect your rights, it is best to contact an attorney immediately following an injury at a business premises. An attorney will direct all communications away from you so that any misstatements cannot be used against you in later proceedings.
Additionally, each state has its own laws regarding mandatory reporting following a car crash. Some states require immediate reporting following all car crashes. Others, such as Texas, require immediate reporting when the car crash results in death, injury, or property damage of more than $1,000. Other states have various lengths of time in which to report a car crash.
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Legal Remedies After Suffering an Injury on a Business Premises
Premises liability claims are very fact-intensive, and the elements of proof are nuanced. For this reason, insurance companies are notorious for delaying, denying, and diminishing premises liability claims. If a landowner refuses to offer a reasonable settlement, you will need a skilled premises liability attorney to file a lawsuit on your behalf.
Generally, following an injury at a business premise, there may be an assortment of defendants; the occupier of the premises, the owner, any contracted maintenance companies, and a responsible employee may all be potential tortfeasors.
It is also important to distinguish if the injury was caused by an unreasonably dangerous condition or a contemporaneous negligent activity. The distinction is important to any legal allegations that may be included in any subsequent lawsuit. You will need a skilled premises liability attorney to navigate you through your case and get you the recovery you deserve.
At law, a tortfeasor is required, to the extent possible, to make you whole again. As such, there is an assortment of legal remedies, known as “damages,” that may be recoverable, including: •Past Medical Expenses •Future Medical Expenses •Past Pain and Suffering •Future Pain and Suffering •Past Mental Anguish •Future Mental Anguish •Past Physical Impairment •Future Physical Impairment •Past Physical Disfigurement •Future Physical Disfigurement •Loss of Consortium •Loss of Earnings •Lost Earning Capacity •Property Damage; •Exemplary Damage
Each of these damage categories has specific legal requirements of proof before you can recover damages. A skilled personal injury attorney can assist you with maximizing your recovery. Contact a skilled premises liability attorney at the Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm today and let us help you recover what you deserve.
Schedule your FREE case review here.
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That means that when a case is taken on, we use our own money and resources to fight for clients. We will investigate, go to court, hire experts, and do whatever is necessary to win your case. We will never ask for any money upfront for contingency matters. No money is owed by the client to us if no monetary recovery is made. That is our promise.
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premises liability lawsuits
The experienced personal injury attorneys at The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm want to help you get back on your feet. We will keep you updated throughout the entire legal process and will work to bring you the justice and compensation you deserve as quickly as possible.
It's important that your attorney know where to look to find the evidence that will prove your case and maximize your recovery. After a traumatizing slip or fall, our desire is to remove as much stress from you as possible and take care of all the investigation, paperwork, phone calls, insurance, and other issues so that you can recover from your injuries.
How to prepare for a disaster
Know your evacuation zone and route.
Build your emergency kit.
Review your policy and confirm coverage.
Complete your home/business inventory checklist.