The State of Texas requires property owners to maintain a level of care in the maintenance of their property. It is important to know that a property owner is not always held responsible in premises liability cases.
You May Not Have Permission to be on the Premises
Numerous factors are considered when determining the property owner’s liability, including the reason the victim was on the property. Determining your status on the property is imperative to determine whether you can recover and what you must prove to recover on a premises liability claim.
The types of property visitors can be broken down into three main categories:
They are individuals who enter the owner’s property with permission and for the mutual benefit of both parties. Examples of invitees include business patrons, office clients, etc. Invitees are owed the highest duty of care, which entails surveying the property to ensure there are not any hazards that can cause injury. The property owner must warn of any unreasonable risks of harm on the property or make such risks of harm safe as long as the risk of harm is not open and obvious.
Those who have consent to enter the owner’s property and are there for their own benefit. Examples of licensees include salespersons, social guest, contractor, etc. The owner has a duty to warn the licensee of any dangerous conditions on the property known to the owner, but is not required to warn the licensee of any hazards that the property owner is unaware of.
Those that do not have permission to be on the owner’s property. The only duty owed by the owner to a trespasser is to not cause intentional or willful harm or gross negligence.
So another important aspect to making a recovery is determining and then proving invitee status to ensure the property owner owes you the highest duty of care possible under the law. It is often very hard to recover if you are determined to be a licensee or a trespasser.
There are numerous facets that must be considered and proven when making a successful premises liability claim under Texas law. One of the attorneys in our firm is happy to have a free strategy session with you, whether in person or by phone, to go over your potential case and strategize with you on whether you have a claim and, if so, the best way to pursue that claim and the evidence that needs to be gather to have the best chance of success in Texas.