Premises Liability Holding Property Owners Accountable for Dangerous Conditions

Houston Premises Liability Lawyers

Getting injured on another person’s or company’s property due to their negligence can be frustrating and confusing. What are your options? Do you have a claim? For this reason, understanding premises liability is important. You may be able to pursue compensation for your damages.

There's a simple reason why:
Property owners have a responsibility to keep their space maintained and safe for guests—whether a retail store, restaurant, home, or another type of facility. They also have a responsibility to ensure that the land is designed in a safe manner. For example, should the layout leave you with limited visibility that leaves you defenseless in the wake of a violent crime, they could be partially liable.

What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability law states that property owners have a duty to ensure that their property is safe and free of obvious hazards for people who enter their property. If a property owner invites a visitor to his or her property and that visitor is injured by a hazardous condition, the property owner could be held liable for the visitor’s injury. For example, property owners have a duty to ensure that the flooring of the property is not slippery and is free of debris that a person could easily trip over. They also must make sure that their property has good lighting conditions and is properly maintained (ex: no broken staircases, loose floorboards, etc.) However, in order for the property owner to be held liable, it must first be shown that he or she was negligent. In order to prove negligence, you must show that the property owner knew (or should have known) of the hazardous condition that caused the injury and that he or she failed to take steps to remedy the problem.

Elements of a Premises Liability Claim

These following elements must be proven to make a successful case:

  • The defendant is in possession of the premises.
    This is more than just proving the defendant owns the land. In some cases, ownership is not even required. All that must be proven is that they are in control of the premises. For example, someone renting an apartment could be held liable.
  • The plaintiff was allowed to be on the premises.
    There is no claim if the plaintiff did not have the lawful right to be on the property. It must be proven that the plaintiff had clear right either by being invited or by being licensed. A trespasser doesn't have rights to file a claim.
  • The defendant failed their duty to safely maintain the premises.
    The final element is often considered to be the most important. This is often the crux of the case - it must be proven that the defendant had a duty to maintain the property to promote safety and they failed to do so.

To put it simply, you must be able to demonstrate that the defendant owed you a duty, they breached that duty, this breach was the cause of your accident, and finally, the accident caused you damages. Proving those four key elements lends to an effective premises liability claim.

Common Examples of Premises Liability Cases

Here are a few of the most common types of premises liability cases:

  • Slip and fall cases are the most prominent type of premises liability cases. This is when a visitor is injured after slipping (or tripping) on another person’s property. This could be from slipping on an unmarked wet floor, tripping over a poorly placed extension cord, falling down an uneven staircase, or any other number of ways a person might slip or trip.
  • Swimming pool accidents can lead to serious, even life-threatening injuries. From the potential of drowning accidents to slip and falls due to slippery surfaces, what started as a fun pastime can quickly become extremely dangerous. If the owner and manager of the pool failed to properly care for and maintain the pool, they could be held liable for the accidents that occur.
  • Although known as man's best friend, things can become life-threatening when dog bites occur. In the state of Texas, dog owners are held to the "one bite rule" and victims of vicious animal attacks have legal rights to pursue financial compensation.
  • Inadequate supervision can also leave a property owner liable for accidents that occur on his or her property. A prime example of a property owner being negligent due to inadequate supervision might be a homeowner who leaves young children unattended to play near a backyard swimming pool. If an unsupervised child falls and drowns, the homeowner could be held responsible.

What About Negligent Security?

Many don’t realize that negligent security is another form of premises liability. Everyone who resides in or stays at someone else's property is entitled to reasonable security measures. If you were injured or assault due to a lack of security, your case could fall under premises liability law. This may include cases such as a battery or armed robbery, sexual assault, or any other crime that involves violent force.

A property owner may be liable if they failed to take security measures such as the following:

  • Inadequate or lack of security cameras
  • No security guards or personnel
  • Lack of safe lighting in parking lots or structures
  • Broken locks or damaged fencing

Let Arnold & Itkin Stand Up for You. Call (888) 493-1629 for a Free Case Review.

One of the most important steps you can take following an accident on another’s property is talking to a Houston premises liability attorney. The team at Arnold & Itkin is well-versed in the complexities of such cases and knows how to identify a fault and other necessary elements. We know how challenging premises liability claims can be and how difficult they can be to successfully litigate. Our unwavering commitment to injury victims includes guiding them through the whole process from start to finish, maximizing their chances for victory. If you have been injured, it is in your best interests to get our involvement. Our attorneys have been successful in recovering billions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. We do not rest until our clients get the answers they deserve and the financial recovery they need.

Contact Arnold & Itkin at (888) 493-1629 for a free initial consultation. We are here to help you.

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