“Premises Liability” is a legal theory that holds owners and occupiers of property legally responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on that property. This includes not only commercial premises, i.e. grocery stores, gas stations, strip centers, malls, etc., but also personal residences and/or private property.
In Texas, courts have held the following elements must be present for a person injured on a premises to have a cause of action against the property owner:
- The property owner had actual or constructive knowledge of some condition on the premises;
- The condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm;
- The property owner did not exercise reasonable care to reduce or eliminate the unreasonable risk of harm; and
- The property owner’s failure to use reasonable care to reduce or eliminate the unreasonable risk of harm proximately caused plaintiff’s injuries.
“A condition presenting an unreasonable risk of harm is defined as one in which there is a sufficient probability of a harmful event occurring that a reasonably prudent person would have foreseen it or some similar event as likely to happen.”
Those usually subject to premises liability claims are landlords, employers, elevator/escalator companies, and mass transit authorities. The basis of most injury claims is whether the property owner failed to manage or maintain the property and/or failed to give warning of a dangerous condition on the property.
An obstacle sometimes faced by an injured person is the legal standard applicable to the property owner and its obligation to insure the premises was safe. A person’s legal status is determined based on the reason why he/she was on the property and what business he/she conducted while on the property. Overall, the level of responsibility and liability imposed on the property owner will be determined by the parties involved and the type of activities that were occurring on the premises at the time of the accident.
If you or a loved one was involved in an accident while on another’s premises contact Gilman & Allison, LLP for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.