Personal Injury Law FAQ: What is Premises Liability?

by Tim O’Hare

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Liability refers to an entity or individual being held responsible for an accident that results in an injury. Property owners have a specific responsibility to manage their property in such a way that others are not at risk of injury while on the property. When injured on someone’s property, the injured party may file a premises liability claim against the owner if the owner was negligent. A common misconception is that property owners are responsible for medical bills if someone is injured on their property.  That is only true if the property owner was negligent. Though owners of both commercial and private properties may be held responsible for injuries occurring on their property, most claims are brought against owners of commercial properties.

For example, if an individual falls in a grocery store and suffers injury as the result of a leaky roof that the owner knew or should have known about, they may file a premises liability claim against the owners of the store. An example of a premises liability claim on private property is an individual tripping and falling on a broken stair in a home and suffering injury as a result. In such a case, the injured person may file a premises liability claim against the owner of that home.

It is the responsibility of property owners to maintain their property in such a way that there are no dangerous hazards on the property that are hidden or not easily visible.

Generally, to have a successful premises liability lawsuit in the state of Texas, there are five elements that must be proven:

  1. A condition existed on the property in question that posed an unreasonable risk of harm to other individuals on the property.
  2. The property owner knew or should have known his or her property was in such condition to pose risk of injury to others.
  3. The property owner should have anticipated that others not discover the danger of the property or be able to protect themselves against it. (Thus taking action with necessary maintenance or changes to the property to avoid injury to others.)
  4. An individual was injured on the property in question.
  5. The injury was a direct result of the dangerous condition on the property in question.

If you have suffered injury or harm due to a hazard on a private or commercial property, it is important that you document the accident with photos. Take pictures of the hazard. Get the names and phone numbers of as many witnesses as possible. The witnesses will play a significant role in the success of your case.

If you or a loved one has been injured on someone else’s property, contact the experienced legal team at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare. We will provide you a free initial consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys.

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