Texas Accident Attorney

Premises liability

So there you are, minding your own business in the supermarket, casually strolling from aisle to aisle, carefully selecting recipe-driven spices and ingredients for the family evening meal. You turn a corner, and suddenly an unstable and poorly built display of two-liter diet soda comes tumbling down on you. You find yourself sprawling on the floor of this retail business, full of fright, shock, and pain.

So much for the evening meal.

Premises Liability covers numerous areas: Liability of Government, including Municipalities; Acts of Independent Contractors, Landowner, Proprietor, and/or Corporate Liability, and Liability of Highway, Road, and Street Contractors. Depending on the severity of the injury and status of the defendant, all of the above have corresponding limitations.

However, to determine the validity of your case, we must first identify your type of class as a plaintiff. We then determine at what level the landowner and/or proprietor owed you a “duty of care” while you were on the premises.

Texas law recognizes three different type of people who enter upon property:

  • Trespasser: You entered the property with no legal authority, and without permission, nor were you invited. The property owner’s duty of care to a trespasser is only to prevent potential harm or injury by intentional, deliberate, or willful conduct.

  • Licensee: You enter the property with the owner’s permission - either express or implied – but not by invitation. Example: a pool technician makes weekly calls to service his customer’s swimming pool; the property owner or occupant has provided said technician with an implied license to enter the premises for that purpose. The owner/occupant’s duty of care is not to cause injury by willful or wanton conduct or by gross negligence. The owner/occupant must warn you of hidden dangers known to him/her (IE; he/she must have actual knowledge of these dangers).

  • Invitee: The general class of most clients. You enter the property with the owner/proprietor’s knowledge or consent, and you do so for the purpose under which the premises are held open to the public (the supermarket story that led off this category is a good example). You are also considered an invitee if you enter the premises for a purpose connected with activities that may result in a mutual benefit (IE; a salesperson on commercial premises). To summarize, an invitee is usually a customer, tenant, vendor, merchant, or service provider to the facility. The owner/proprietor’s duty of care is as follows: exercise of ordinary care to make the premises reasonably safe. The owner/proprietor need not know that a danger actually exists on the premises, and you can show that a reasonable owner/proprietor would have had advanced knowledge of such a dangerous condition.

Contributory Negligence: Texas is a Comparative Negligence state; so any award you may receive will be reduced by the amount of fault you are deemed to have contributed. If you are more than 50% at fault, you would collect nothing.

Know the facts associated with your premises liability case. Give us a call for a free consultation.

Setterberg Law Office