Austin Premises Liability Lawyers
When a property owner’s carelessness leaves you with injuries, you shouldn’t be left holding the bill for your injury-related expenses. A skilled premises liability attorney can help you recover compensation for your losses. Premises Liability is an area of law that deals with the rules property owners must follow to protect the safety of tenants or guests on their property. If unsafe conditions result in someone’s pain and suffering, the property owner may be liable for the injuries.
Legally, property owners must meet a certain standard of care. This duty often involves at least warning property visitors of any hazardous conditions which the owner would be expected to be aware of. Premises liability cases often involve situations in which property owners knew some sort of danger was present but failed to act quickly enough.
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we focus on personal injury cases and have the legal know-how to pursue a premises liability case successfully. We investigate our clients’ claims and help them seek just compensation. These cases can be complicated and challenging since there will be several claims that must be proven in court. However, you don’t have to go through this legal process alone. Hiring an experienced lawyer you can trust will significantly strengthen your case. Don’t hesitate to contact us today at (737) 249-6300 to discuss your situation.
Why Hire a Lawyer for Your Premises Liability Case?
Successfully receiving compensation for your claim will depend on several factors. You must establish that there were hazardous conditions on the property, these conditions cause or significantly contributed to your injury, the property owner was aware of the conditions (or should have been aware of the conditions), and the owner failed to make their property safe prior to your injury. Making these claims and proving them in court can be extremely difficult without the help of a skilled lawyer.
While fighting for you, your attorney will work to prove that a property owner’s negligence resulted in your injuries. Negligence in these cases might be a failure to maintain a reasonable level of care or safety when it was apparent that unsafe conditions were present. Premises liability rules do not mean that if you are injured on a dangerous property that the owner owes you compensation. The specifics of your injury matter, and seeking compensation from a property owner may be dependent on proving they knew about the danger present on their property.
Navigating the legal system alone is a complex and stressful endeavor especially when you are dealing with an injury. Having a lawyer by your side will significantly improve your chances of recovering compensation. A lawyer will help research your claim by investigating what caused your injury, who was aware of it, and if the owner failed in their legal duties. Lawyers bring their experience with the legal system and process to the table to help clients receive compensation. Law firms can help by performing legal research, hiring expert witnesses, and creating compelling arguments to support your case.
Why Hire Gibson Hill Personal Injury for Your Austin Premises Liability Case?
At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we handle Austin injury cases. We always work to secure our clients the compensation they deserve so they can receive complete medical treatment and move on with their lives. Our top priority will still be serving the needs and interests of our clients. By tirelessly advocating for you, we will increase the chances of you receiving compensation and likely increase the total amount of payment you could receive.
We understand that your injuries can have long-lasting, life-altering effects. In serving you by defending your legal rights, we hope to help you make a recovery by taking away some of the stress and worry that unfortunately comes along with seeking compensation. Our firm has worked with hundreds of clients in the Houston area since we opened in 2012. By specializing in personal injury law, we have built up the experience and knowledge you need to help successfully make a claim.
Premises Liability Cases We Handle
Premises liability cases can take many forms. Some instances which may qualify as premises liability include the following:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Bites from dogs and other animals
- Swimming pool accidents
- Poor or inadequate security leading to injury
- Flooding or water leaks that cause bodily injury
- Fume, gas, or chemical leaks
- Electrical hazards
- Accidents related to equipment
- Elevator accidents
- General poor maintenance leading to injuries
- Ice related accidents
- Defective conditions
As such a broad category, there are many injury claims which may result because of a dangerous property. It should also be noted that in Texas, there is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This means that you can only seek compensation in the two years following an injury, but there may be exceptions to this rule which a lawyer can explain if they apply to your case.
Common Premises Liability Scenarios Examined
One area in which premises liability cases are common is between tenants and landlords. Landlords must maintain the properties they are leasing. When tenants request that maintenance be performed or repairs are made to fix unsafe conditions, the landlord has to ensure these repairs are completed promptly. If the landlord fails to do so, and the tenant is injured, the tenant may be eligible to file a premises liability claim.
For example, if a tenant files a request to fix a hazardous condition like black mold if the landlord fails to address the issue, and the tenant becomes ill; the tenant may be able to seek compensation. Because of this duty landlords have to individuals renting their property it is not uncommon for tenants and landlords to become involved in premises liability cases.
Another common type of premises liability case is slip and fall cases. A slip and fall case involves an individual being injured after some hazard caused them to slip or trip and fall. When the owner of a property knowing allows dangers that could cause someone to fall and become injured, they may be responsible for an individual’s injuries if they do fall.
For example, if a property owner places an extension cord in a walkway without taking precautions to prevent someone from tripping on it, and someone does trip on it and become injured, the property owner may be liable for their injuries. Other common causes of trip and fall injuries include broken stairs, wet or slick floors, broken floors, thresholds without warnings, and the presence of unmarked hazards in walkways.
Premises Liability Laws in Texas
If you’ve been injured in a premises liability accident in Texas, there are a few things you need to know about how premises liability cases are handled.
Like other personal injury claims, the statute of limitations for filing a premises liability claim in Texas is two years. If you wait too long after your accident to contact an attorney and file a claim, you won’t be able to pursue compensation or damages through the court system.
To build a premises liability case against a property owner, you need to prove the following:
- The owner of the property owes you, the visitor to the property, a duty of care
- That duty was breached, meaning a condition on the property was potentially dangerous
- Their breach of that duty caused you damages, meaning you were injured because of the dangerous condition
- The owner knew or should have known about the condition causing the breach of duty
The last point is the most important. You must be able to prove that the property owner knew or should have known about a substantially hazardous condition and did not take steps to fix the condition.
The amount of compensation you are due also depends on what kind of visitor to the property you were at the time of your accident. There are three types of classifications in premises liability law:
- Licensees: A licensee has a legal right to be on the property, usually via a verbal or written contract. They are on the property for their benefit, and the owner is aware that they are there. The owner of the property has a legal obligation to notify any licensee of dangerous conditions on the property, i.e., falling tree limbs or front porch steps that need repair. A licensee could be a member of the household, a guest of a member of the household, an off-duty employee, or a person like a firefighter or police officer.
- Invitees: An invitee is anyone that the owner has invited onto their property for the benefit of both parties. Good examples would be a mail carrier, delivery person, tenant, or customer.
- Trespassers: A trespasser is anyone on the property without the owner’s permission. The owner has no obligation to notify trespassers of potential hazards and has no liability unless those hazards represent willfully gross negligence.
Texas also has an attractive nuisance law, which states that if a property has a hazardous object or condition and a child trespasses and injures themselves, the owner may be held liable for the injuries. The hazardous object could be a swimming pool, a vacant home, or construction equipment, anything that poses a risk to a child who may not appreciate the level of danger. The owner has a responsibility to remove or prevent access to the hazard or condition.
Comparative Negligence in Texas
Something to be aware of when filing a premises liability case in Texas is comparative fault. Comparative negligence rules adjust the amount of compensation one person can receive if they played a role in contributing to their injuries. For example, if someone is carelessly running around a building and they fail to notice a defect in the floor and trip. As a result, they may be considered partially responsible for their injuries. If the defect in the floor was unmarked, both the property owner and the injured individual could have been negligent.
The property owner’s negligence may come from the fact that they left a hazard in the walkway, while the injured person may have acted negligently by running and not noticing the danger. The court may find that both parties contributed to the injuries that occurred since both people took negligent actions that lead to injury. The court would then seek to assign fault as a percentage to both the owner and the plaintiff (injured person). For example, they may find that the property owner was responsible for 80% of the fault, and the plaintiff was responsible for 20% of the fault.
Under Texas comparative negligence rules, the victim would still be able to recover damages covering 80% of their losses. Texas follows a modified version of comparative negligence rules which includes the 51% rule. This rule indicates that to receive compensation, the injured individual must be responsible for less than 50% of the fault, or they are not entitled to damages. So in our example from above, if the injured person suffered $10,000 in losses, but the property owner only contributed 80% to their injuries, the injured person would only be entitled to $8,000 in compensation.
What to Do After a Premises Liability Accident
If you’ve been injured while on another person’s property and believe the owner may be liable, here’s a plan of action:
- Get to safety. Get to a safe place away from any hazardous conditions, and assess any injuries.
- Get medical care. If you’ve been seriously injured, call 911 or contact emergency medical services immediately. Even if your injuries don’t appear serious, have a doctor or other qualified personnel assess them to make sure. Internal injuries like concussions and internal bleeding can occur with no visible signs.
- Contact the property owner. Advise them that you’ve been injured on their property and that it was due to a hazardous condition.
- Watch what you say. Do not admit fault or apologize to the property owner. This can be taken as an admission of fault by an insurance company.
- Document everything. If possible, take photos of the property, the hazard that caused the accident, and the injury itself. Collect written statements from anyone that witnessed the accident and the condition that caused it. Obtain a copy of any medical report detailing the severity of your injury.
- Contact an attorney. An experienced premises liability attorney can start the process of filing your personal injury claim immediately and help you determine how Texas premises liability law can work for you.
How Premises Liability Investigations are Handled
Although premises liability law encompasses many different types of accidents and injuries, the investigation process after an accident will usually follow the same procedure. This may include the following:
- Informal discovery: This initial step is the basis for the foundation of a personal injury claim. During this phase, we will ask you to give your side of the story. You would describe your relationship to the property owner (if any), the day of the accident, how the accident occurred, what conditions led to the accident, and provide any supporting information, such as medical records detailing injuries received or written requests to the property owner to remedy the dangerous condition that caused the accident. We may also ask questions to verify that you were on the property legally.
- Evidence gathering: This is the phase of the investigation that involves collecting additional evidence aside from what you have provided. This can include surveillance camera footage of the incident, incident reports, information on the condition of the property, construction or building permits, or any information relating to the hazardous condition that caused the accident. We will seek to preserve the evidence and make sure it is not destroyed.
- On-site inspection: During this phase, we would physically inspect the site of the accident to assess the danger of the condition that caused your accident. We may engage investigators or experts to provide context on the possible dangers.
- Interviewing witnesses: This phase entails formal interviews with anyone who witnessed the accident. These interviews may be via written statement or recorded interview.
- Deposition/Formal Discovery: This final phase is the most important. We would take a formal deposition, an interview under oath, of your experience the day of the accident. We would also make formal written requests to the property owner for any documents that were not willingly provided. This can include building permits, inspection logs, HOA minutes, policy documents, rental or lease contracts, or video footage.
Following this procedure, an attorney with experience in premises law can build a strong case for your personal injury claim and start the process of compensating you for medical bills, lost wages, or mental hardship.
Contact an Austin Premises Liability Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one suffer as a result of a property owner’s negligence carelessness, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your losses. At Gibson Hill Personal Injury, we understand the impact such injuries can have on your health, finances, loved ones, and life overall and take these cases extremely seriously. Call our office today at (737) 249-6300 to set up a free consultation with a member of our team. We know that taking the first step in seeking justice is never easy, but we are here to make sure that you are supported every step of the way.