Injuries in Apartments, Hotels, and Dangerous Buildings
Premises liability, sometimes called slip, trip, and fall law, generally deals with injuries that happened on the land/property of another person. Our Austin Premises Liability Lawyers are experienced in helping those injured on the premises of someone else get a fair settlement or verdict for their injuries.
In other words, if you slip, trip, or fall on the property of another person, you may be able to bring a claim for personal injury. This is because Texas law holds, in general, the owner or occupier of a property responsible for accidents that happen on their property.
Status of Visitor | Invitee
The most important thing we have to determine when you’ve been injured on someone else’s property is what your legal status was on that property when you were injured. If, for instance, you were injured on the premises of a retail store, and you were visiting that store to shop, then you’re most likely an invitee. This means the landowner you visited, invited you onto their land and owed you a duty to protect you from certain dangerous conditions on the land. The invitation doesn’t have to be to you specifically. It could simply mean they were open to the public and invited everyone from the public to visit them.
It’s important to understand that landowners do not owe you a duty to protect you from every danger on their land. They only owe you the duty to protect you from “unreasonable conditions” on the land. Some conditions are clearly unreasonable – for instance, a big hole in the middle of a walkway that has not been covered up or warned against. Many times, however, we will have to work hard to prove the dangerous condition was unreasonable. Our Austin Premises Liability Lawyers are skilled and experienced in investigating and pursuing damages for people injured on the property of another.
Status of Visitor | Licensee
If you enter the land of another for your own purposes, but not necessarily the purpose of the landowner, you will likely be considered a “Licensee” by Texas law. If you’re a licensee, the landowner has to warn you of hidden dangers on his property but is generally not under any obligation to repair those dangers. Licensees have fewer legal protections than an Invitee. Examples of Licensees might be a salesperson or a social guest.
If you were visiting someone else’s property for your own purposes and were injured by a hidden danger on the property, then contact our Austin Premises Liability Lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation. We will carefully walk through your case with you and help you recover the money you need for your injuries!
Status of Visitor | Trespasser
The third category is that of a trespasser. If you entered someone else’s land without permission, and without a legal right to be there, you are likely a Trespasser. This can be different than a criminal trespasser, and the two should not be confused. Generally speaking, a landowner does not owe you any duty to protect you from dangers on his land if you are a trespasser. That does not mean, however, that he never owes you a duty.
Even if you’re a Trespasser, a landowner still owes you a duty to not intentionally injure you, or injure you through gross negligence. A common theme of these cases is when a landowner knows people are likely to trespass on his land so he sets some sort of trap to injure the trespassers. The law does not allow landowners to set traps that might injure others, as that violates public policy.
Status of Visitor | Attractive Nuisance
The law has a long-standing doctrine called the “attractive nuisance doctrine.” An attractive nuisance is an artificial condition on a property that makes it more likely someone will trespass on the land. Most of these cases involve children being drawn to a swimming pool or other attraction on the property. It is important to remember that this exception to the general rule that landowners owe no duty to a Trespasser only applies to artificial conditions. It doesn’t apply, for instance, to a cliff or a natural pond used as a swimming hole.
If your child has been injured as a result of an artificial condition of the property of someone else, please contact our Austin Premises Liability Lawyers for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Employees and Premises Liability Law in Texas
A case from 2015 has somewhat reshaped the landscape of when an employee can sue an employer under a premises liability theory. In Austin v. Kroger, the Texas Supreme Court essentially overturned what had been Texas law since the 1970s. In that case, an employee of Kroger Foods was injured while mopping a floor he knew to be slippery because of a leak from an air conditioning unit. He fell while cleaning the floor and ended up in the hospital for nine months while having six surgeries to repair injuries to his leg. He was left with one leg two inches shorter than the other as a result of his injuries.
The Texas Supreme Court held that an employer does not owe an employee a duty to warn or protect the employee from dangers that were obvious or that the employee clearly saw as a danger. The Court did state, however, that their ruling does not prevent an employee from suing for injuries arising from a danger the employer was aware of – or should have been aware of – but, that the employee was unaware of. It should be noted that Kroger did not subscribe to the Texas Worker’s Compensation system, which would have been Austin’s exclusive remedy had Kroger so elected.
Austin Premises Liability Lawyers are here to help!
We understand the sometimes complicated laws of when a landowner is responsible for the injuries when someone is injured on their property. We will talk with you and uncover the facts of what happened and carefully evaluate whether the landowner failed to protect you while you were on their land. We have experienced Austin Premises Liability Lawyers on hand to evaluate your case right now. As always, we provide confidential, cost-free case evaluations! Contact us now!