Imagine being a guest in someone’s home or a visitor to a local Fort Worth business and suffering an accident that leaves you with significant personal injuries.
Whether it’s a slip-and-fall, a dog bite, a fall on a broken step or railing, or an injury due to some other dangerous condition on the property, if you have been injured on the premises of another person or business, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages.
Put simply, premises liability is the way to hold a property owner responsible for their negligence in causing injury to a victim on their property. Premises liability is generally predicated on a negligence claim, which means you will need to prove liability by the property owner and prove the full extent of your damages.
In other words, you will need to prove that the property owned owed you a duty of reasonable care and breached that duty, directly causing you damages.
Generally, premises liability law recognizes certain categories of guests, which determines what type of duty the property owner owes to them:
- In the case of trespassers, there is no duty on the property owner to provide for safety. This means that if the victim was trespassing, it will be very difficult to recover compensation for their injuries, unless a recognized exception applies. For example, in the case of children under some circumstances.
- In the case of social visitors, such as guests in someone’s home, a duty exists to warn the visitor of any known dangers and generally make the premises safe. For example, if a homeowner knows that there is a missing front step by the door, they have a duty to warn social guests of that step, or they may face liability if someone is injured.
- In the case of business patrons, such as customers, the property owner has an even higher duty — to thoroughly inspect the premises for dangers and fix any that they find. For example, if a customer is injured when slipping on a wet spot in a restaurant, the business may be liable for the customer’s injuries if they failed to follow the requisite duty of care to business visitors.
There are many different scenarios that can lead to a Fort Worth premises liability claim. For example:
- You may be a guest in someone’s home and injure yourself due to a dangerous or defective condition, such as a missing step or railing.
- You may be bitten by a dog or attacked by another type of pet in someone else’s home.
- You may be injured while swimming in someone else’s pool.
- You may slip and fall on a wet spot in a store or restaurant, or ice outside the premises.
- You may be struck by heavy machinery or equipment while visiting a local business.
If your injuries were the result of a property owner’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for the damages you have suffered. Those damages can include the expenses of your medical care and treatment, such as hospitalization, doctor visits, physical or occupational therapy, and the costs of medical equipment.
They may also include lost income or wages if you are unable to work as a result of your injuries. Moreover, your damages may include your pain and suffering and the impact of your injuries on your quality of life. Though these are harder to calculate, they may be included in the full assessment of your financial losses.
You should keep in mind that you will need to file a premises liability claim within the applicable statute of limitations; in Texas, this is typically two years from the date of your injury.
Your claim will likely be one of negligence, where you will need to prove liability — that the property owner is responsible for your injuries. Depending on whether you were hurt while a guest in someone’s home or as a customer at a business, you will need to prove that the property owner owed a reasonable duty of care to you. Additionally, you will need to prove that the property owner breached that duty, whether by failing to fix a dangerous or defective condition or failing to warn you about it.
Premises liability is a complex area of the law, often involving complicated issues of liability and damages. You may need to negotiate not only with the property owner but also with their insurance company, which can be a daunting task. Insurance companies tend to have significant resources to fight a premises liability claim, and their goal is to pay out the minimum amount possible.
To help your case, consult with an experienced premises liability lawyer as soon as possible: they will offer you legal advice and negotiate with the other party and their insurance company on your behalf.
You shouldn’t let the property owner and their insurer have all the advantages in your Fort Worth premises liability case. Contact an experienced, knowledgeable attorney who will focus on dealing with the insurance companies, so that you can focus on getting better. We will not only work to obtain a fair and reasonable settlement but will also build a strong case on your behalf if a settlement is not possible and you need to take your claims to court.
Our experienced personal injury lawyers will inform you of your legal rights and options, and we will work with you to make sure you receive the medical care you need. Reach out to us today for a free, no-obligation initial legal consultation online or by calling 817-329-9001. With our office in Southlake, we serve communities throughout the state of Texas.