If you’ve sustained an injury on private property – at a restaurant or a supermarket, for example, or even in someone else’s home – was it because the property owner was negligent? Can you take legal action and recover compensation? Will you need to be advised and represented by a Houston premises liability lawyer?
You could slip on a wet floor, trip on a cracked sidewalk, or become the victim of property negligence in a variety of other ways. Under Texas law, homeowners, landlords, and businesses must keep the properties they own reasonably free of potential risks to customers, employees, residents, and the general public.
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property because the owner was negligent, you’ll need to speak at once with Houston premises liability lawyer David McNeal.
Who May File a Claim for Premises Liability?
If you are injured in any of the following accident scenarios, you may be compensated for your medical expenses, injury-related lost wages, and more, but only a premises liability lawyer will be able to determine if you have sufficient grounds for bringing a legal action. Premises liability injuries include but are not limited to injuries arising from:
- Slip-and-fall incidents
- Hazardous property conditions
- Swimming pool incidents
- Dog bites
Slip-and-fall injuries: Slip-and-fall injuries are common. If you slip and fall, let’s say, on a wet floor at a grocery market, you might be able to walk away unharmed, or you might suffer some serious bruises and broken bones. Some slip-and-fall accidents, however, can cause catastrophic spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries that will require years of medical treatment and care.
Hazardous conditions: Property owners in Texas must ensure that their premises are reasonably free of hazards that might cause an injury, and the owners of business properties are held strictly accountable. If the sidewalk cracks in front of your home, you can warn friends and neighbors if you can’t repair the sidewalk immediately, but business owners don’t have that option. If the public has access to an area on a private property, that area must be reasonably hazard-free.
Swimming Pool Accidents: A property owner who allows others to enjoy his or her swimming pool is usually liable for whatever happens in the pool. This includes hotels and gyms as well as private homes. If you’re injured in someone else’s swimming pool because it has been poorly maintained, you may have grounds to pursue a premises liability claim.
Dog Bites: Dog bite injury cases are considered premises liability cases because a dog is a legal extension of its owner’s property. Texas has established a “one-bite” rule, so the first time a dog bites someone in this state, it can be difficult to recover damages. Houston premises liability lawyer David McNeal can review what happened and explain your options for seeking compensation after a dog bite injury.
What’s Fair and Reasonable?
The word “reasonable” is used a great deal in discussions of premises liability law. No one who owns property can possibly eliminate every potential hazard or prevent every potential accident that could happen on a property. The law seeks to establish a balance that is fair and just.
Premises liability statutes do not overlook a visitor’s own obligation to act safely and cautiously. If you’re injured while trespassing, or if you walk into your neighbor’s fire pit because you were looking at your phone, the property owner cannot be sued and has no liability.
To Be Compensated, What Does an Injury Victim Have to Prove?
In most premises liability cases, these are the three central questions that must be answered:
- When did the hazard arise?
- How long was the hazard there before the victim was injured?
- Did the property owner have adequate time to clean up or repair the hazard?
When a property owner learns about a cracked sidewalk, a leak, or any other hazard, locating and bringing qualified repair personnel to the property may take several days. Until a hazard is repaired, the owner should post warning signs.
How Will Your Premises Liability Case Be Resolved?
The majority of premises liability cases are resolved privately – that is, outside of the courtroom – before the start of a trial. While most premises liability cases are settled that way, if the property owner and the owner’s insurance company do not offer a reasonable settlement amount, Houston accident attorney David McNeal will take your case to trial and ask a jury to order the payment of your compensation.
If your lawyer can prove that you were injured because a property owner was negligent, you can expect to be compensated for your pending and projected future medical expenses, your lost wages and projected future lost earnings, your personal physical pain and emotional distress, and related losses and damages.
Contact the McNeal Law Firm promptly if you’ve been injured on someone else’s private property or if you are injured that way in the future. You can call our Houston office now at (832) 819-3281 to learn more, schedule a case review, or begin the legal process.