If you are injured on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to seek compensation for any damages suffered. Some of the most common types of premises liability lawsuits include swimming pool accidents, slip and fall injuries, and dog bites.
A premises liability lawsuit is based on the theory of premises defect. Unlike other personal injury claims, those based on-premises defect must arise from the conditions of the premises in question.
The primary determining factor to recovering damages in this type of injury is the presence or absence of negligence. If negligence played a role in your injuries, you can likely obtain compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other associated costs.
How a Houston Premises Defect Lawyer Can Help
If you have been injured on someone else’s property, the legal team at DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC can help you determine how to proceed. We will investigate the details of your case and ensure that you fully understand your rights and options before moving forward. Contact us today at (832) 745-4878 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.
There are several elements to a successful premises liability claim, and they are related to the type of visitor who is injured and the property owner’s legal duty to protect that type of visitor from harm.
Premises liability lawsuits are highly complex and should not be attempted without the assistance of an experienced injury lawyer. A Houston premises defect attorney will help you gather evidence to substantiate your claim, negotiate with insurance companies and all involved parties, and position you for the most favorable outcome possible.
Duty of Care
Negligence isn’t the only factor to consider in a premises liability case. Whether or not the property owner can be found liable is also dependent on your “classification” as a visitor, and whether the property owner owed you a duty of care as a result. In order for a premises liability claim to be successful, the following three factors must exist:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff
- The defendant breached that duty of care
- The breach caused the plaintiff’s damages
Classification of Visitor
To determine the duty of care, it is essential to first determine your classification as a visitor. Were you invited onto the property, or were you trespassing at the time of the incident? The question of whether or not the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff is directly tied to this classification. According to Texas premises liability law, the three types of visitor classification are as follows:
- Licensee—The owner has given consent for this individual to enter the property. Common examples of licensees include salespeople and social guests. As the property owner has given consent, it is his/her duty to ensure that the property is safe, and to warn the licensee of any potential hazards.
- Invitee—The owner has given permission to this individual to enter the property. An invitee (meter reader or groundskeeper, for example) provides mutual benefit to both parties, and is therefore owed the utmost duty of care.
- Trespasser—The owner has not given permission for this individual to enter the property. As such, the owner does not have a duty of care to ensure that the property is safe for the trespasser. The only duty owed by the owner is to not willfully harm the trespasser.
If you are unsure of your visitor classification at the time of your injury, a Houston premises liability lawyer can help.
The Law of Attractive Nuisance
Although a property owner generally has no duty of care to protect a trespasser from harm, there are certain exceptions to this rule. The law of attractive nuisance states that the property owner may be liable if a child is injured when trespassing if the child was drawn to the property by something that is likely to attract children. Swimming pools are the most obvious example.
If a swimming pool is not adequately secured and a child enters without permission and is injured due to a hazardous condition, the property owner may be liable.
According to the law of attractive nuisance, the property owner must install adequate barriers to prevent children from entering due to the attractive nuisance. This may be fencing, gates, locking doors, secured pool covers, or any combination of the above.
If an independent contractor (roofer, plumber, etc.) is injured while working on your house, are you liable? According to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, property owners are not liable when an independent contractor is injured on the job unless the property owner had knowledge of the danger and failed to mention it, or the property owner is directly in control of the job.
The process of Filing a Premises Defect Claim
If you were injured on someone else’s property due to negligence, you may wish to file a premises defect claim against the at-fault party.
In order to have a successful claim, you must be able to show that the defendant legally owns the property and was negligent in its care and that you were permitted to be on the property at the time of the incident.
You will also need to prove that you suffered actual damages as a result of the plaintiff’s failure to provide a reasonably safe environment.
Your attorney will help you gather the evidence to substantiate your claim, and will file the premises defect injury claim on your behalf. Contact DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC today if you have been injured due to another’s negligence.
Damages You Can Receive After a Premises Defect Injury in Houston
As with any personal injury case, damages are largely dependent on the type and severity of your injuries. The most common damages awarded in premises liability cases include:
- Medical expenses—current and future
- Lost income—current and future
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Permanent disability
- Property damage
- Wrongful death
Punitive damages may also come into play if the defendant was grossly negligent or the actions were intentional.
Texas Tort Claims Premises Defect Act
With regard to governmental property, the Texas Tort Claims Premises Defect Act states that:
If a claim arises from a premise defect, the governmental unit owes to the claimant only the duty that a private person owes to a licensee on private property, unless the claimant pays for the use of the premises.
The types of properties, and scenarios to which the Texas Tort Claims Premises Defect Act apply include:
- Street design and construction
- Bridge design, construction, and maintenance
- Trash removal
- Regulation of traffic
The list above is far from exhaustive. A Houston premises liability lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.
Contact DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC Today
If you or a loved one has been injured on another’s property, the skilled legal team at DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC can help.
Premises liability lawsuits involve injuries that occur on all types of properties, including shopping malls, churches, private homes, sidewalks, pharmacies, and hospitals. These claims can be particularly complicated.
Our experienced lawyers understand the complexities of premises liability cases, and we have an impressive track record of obtaining compensation for our clients. Don’t go through this difficult time alone. Contact DeHoyos Law Firm, PLLC today at (832) 745-4878 for a free and confidential consultation about your case.