Were you hurt on someone's property?
Injuries which result from defects, or dangerous conditions in or on real property (stores, houses, apartments, swimming pools, golf courses, etc.) can give rise to a premises liability claim.
Texas law provides that landowners owe varying duties of care to visitors, depending upon the legal status of the visitor. There are three types: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
Invitees enter the premises of another with the owner’s knowledge and for the mutual benefit of both.
Common examples of invitees include customers and hotel guests. Landowners owe invitees the highest degree of care. A landowner owes an invitee a duty to exercise ordinary care to protect him from not only those risks of which the owner is aware, but also those risks which the owner should be aware of after reasonable inspection.
A landowner’s liability to an invitee depends upon whether he acted reasonably in light of what he knew or should have known about the risks accompanying a condition on the premises.
Licensees enter the property of another for their own convenience, pleasure or benefit pursuant to the express or implied permission of the owner (dinner guests).
A landowner owes a licensee the duty to warn of concealed and unanticipated dangers, which are known to the landowner. A licensee is imputed with knowledge of conditions on the premise which are perceptible to him/her, or the existence of which can be inferred from facts within present or past knowledge.
A landowner is under no duty to warn of or make the premises safe if the licensee knows of the dangerous condition.
Trespassers enter the property of another without right, lawful authority or permission, for their own purpose, pleasure or convenience.
With certain limited exceptions, such as the existence of artificial conditions, which are highly dangerous to trespassing children, a landowner owes the trespasser only a minimal duty of care not to injure the trespasser in a willful or wanton manner.
It’s important to remember that a visitor’s status can change, and a person who is an invitee to one portion of the premises, may be considered a licensee or trespasser to another.
To prevail on a premises liability claim, the injured party must prove each of the following elements by a preponderance of the evidence:
• The landowner had actual (licensee) or constructive knowledge (invitee) of some condition on the premises
• The condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm
• The landowner did not exercise reasonable care to repair or eliminate the risk; and
• The failure to exercise reasonable care proximately caused the visitor’s injury