Suppose you’ve been injured at an individual’s house or place of business. Under Texas premises liability law, the owner or occupier of the property could be responsible for your injuries. Whether you have a right to compensation or not may depend on why you were on their property and why exactly the accident occurred.

Unfortunately, premises liability law in Texas is legally complex and has many variables that can either help or hinder your demand for compensation. Within the last few years, the Texas Supreme Court has made critical decisions regarding the state’s premises liability laws. Recently, Texas premises liability law has been evolving, and only with the knowledgeable and professional help of a San Antonio premises liability lawyer can you be sure to learn all the facts you need to know to win your case.

A Texas landowner or occupier has a legal duty to maintain their premises and keep them in a safe condition. A “safe condition” means many things and depends on many variables. Any parcel of land, corporate building, or any type of property does not have to be in pristine condition. There can and usually will be defects and some disrepair.

One of the main factors is that a defect is hidden and not noticeable to the casual eye. The owner is responsible for fixing it swiftly, posting a warning, or blocking access to the damaged area. If you were injured because the owner (or occupier) did not uphold this legal duty after their property fell into disrepair, then you may have a premises liability case.

However, property owners in Texas are not responsible for all individuals who set foot on their land and may not owe them the same legal duty.

When you enter another’s home or are on their land, you are classified as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.

Examples of these classifications are:

  • You are an invitee if the owner had knowledge of your coming onto the land and your presence was expected or requested or mutually beneficial to you both.
  • You usually would be a licensee if you entered and stayed on the land with the owner’s permission, but you were there for yourself or someone else’s benefit. Social gatherings commonly fall into this category.
  • You are a trespasser if you were on the owner’s property without their implicit permission. This could mean remaining in a business after hours or being in their home or on their land without consent.

If you’re an invitee or licensee, the owner owes you a duty and may be held responsible if they fail to uphold that duty and you are injured. However, the owner may owe you nothing if you are a trespasser. If you were on any owner’s property without permission, it is far less likely that they will be held responsible for compensating you for any injuries you incur.

What Are Some Things That May Be Considered For the Owner to Provide a “Safe” Environment?

There are numerous injuries you can suffer in a premises liability injury. Legally proving fault for a premises liability lawsuit is a complicated legal process, which may involve witnesses, photos, medical documentation, and more. You and your lawyer must prove that you were injured (and to what extent, etc.). You also must validate that your injury was due to some hazard that existed (or still may exist) on someone else’s property.

You know that a property owner has a legal responsibility to maintain a safe place for visitors. There are several factors, however, that can determine the “reasonable level of care” standard, and proof of these items will affect your case and who is at fault.

Some of these factors are:

  • Could your accident have been foreseen?
  • What is the intended use of the property on which you were injured?
  • The circumstances that caused you to enter the property, and more.

In some instances, a property owner might be held liable, but the court may also find that you, as the injured party, were negligent as well.

So, many factors, documents, and testimony may come into play to make proving your case (no matter how clear you feel it may seem) challenging, but certainly possible. Consulting with an experienced San Antonio premises liability lawyer is the best way to find the answers you need and how to proceed to win your case.

What Is “Comparative Negligence” in a Texas Premises Liability Case?

After your injury, and before you file a premises liability lawsuit, you can be sure that the property owner will argue that you should share some blame for your accident. If this argument is successful, you could see a substantial chunk of any court award diminished, and any finding of a shared fault will reduce the value of your settlement.

For example, the property owner could argue that:

  • You were on the part of the property where visitors aren’t usually allowed or aren’t usually expected to be.
  • You weren’t paying attention to where you were walking (using your phone, etc.)
  • You were wearing footwear that was inappropriate or unsafe in the situation.
  • The dangerous condition was cordoned off by cones and signage, and reasonable precautions were taken to protect you from the area.
  • The dangerous condition should have been evident to you.

Comparative negligence is one of the prime legal battles you will usually come up against in most premises liability cases. It’s also a battle where your professional, knowledgeable premises liability lawyer will be vital to you in winning your case.

Is There a “Statute of Limitations” in Texas to File My Premises Liability Case?

The simple legal answer is that there commonly is a “Statute of Limitation,” or deadline to file your premises liability case. Typically, you must file on premises liability claims within two years from the date of your accident. There are exceptions though, for example, your injuries may not be evident at first but manifest themselves weeks or months after your accident. Often this is the case in head trauma injuries

So, what may seem like a firm “deadline” to file, and with the professional help and guidance of your lawyer, could be extended by the court and still allow you to file and receive the compensation you deserve.

I Do Need To File a Premises Liability Case, What Should I Do First?

Some of the first things you need to do are:

  • Get proper medical treatment and documentation immediately.
  • Do NOT admit fault at the scene.
  • Collect evidence.
  • File a police report (if necessary).

Most importantly, get the professional advice of a qualified San Antonio premises liability lawyer as soon as possible. The San Antonio Firm of Matthew Norris will professionally, aggressively, empathetically, and effectively help you file and win your case. Consult with them first, and legally receive the compensation you need to heal and move ahead with your life.