If you slip and fall after stepping in a puddle at a Fort Worth supermarket, you could suffer severe injuries. Insurance companies promote the impression that slip and fall accidents are minor incidents that rarely cause serious injury. However, falls are the leading cause of death for people age 65 or older, as well as the leading cause of non-fatal trauma-related hospital admissions annually according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Despite the risk of serious injury from hazards on the property of others, our Tarrant County premises liability attorneys have a proven track record of overcoming the unique legal and factual challenges involved in these types of cases.
Elements Of Premises Liability
Premises liability is a type of negligence. However, the elements of premises liability are distinct from the elements of negligence. The elements of negligence are:
- An individual owed another person a duty to exercise reasonable care.
- The individual breached their duty of care.
- A person suffered harm.
- The individual caused the harm.
Premises liability cases are like negligence cases the property owner, lessee, or occupier owes a duty of care to other people. Liability can arise when the owner, lessee, or occupier breaches their duty of care, causing harm. For example, an owner or operator of a store may fail to keep the floors dry, and as a result, an individual may slip and fall, sustaining injuries. In that case, the slip and fall accident victim may sue the owner or operator of the store who was responsible for the premises.
Although premises liability is similar to negligence; however, premises liability may be more complex than general negligence claims. In premises liability cases, the duty owed by the property owner’s duty or similarly situated individual stems from the classification of the injured person. Indeed, individuals can be classified as invitees, licensees, and trespassers. For example, an individual generally has a greater duty to invitees and licensees than trespassers. The success of a premises liability claim or premises liability lawsuit can turn on the status of the victim—whether the victim is an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. It can also turn on the effectiveness of a premises liability attorney in advocating for you. This is why it is important to consult with an experienced premises liability attorney if you are injured on someone else’s property.
Premises Liability To Invitees
Invitees are invited onto the property and enter the property as a member of the public or for a business purpose. For example, a patron who enters a store to shop during business hours is an invitee.
In this kind of premises liability case, a person must establish:
- The property owner or person who controlled the property knew or should have known about a danger on the property.
- The danger posed an unreasonable risk of property damage, severe bodily injury, or death to the invitee.
- The property owner or controller did not take care to prevent or mitigate the risk or warn the licensee of the risk.
- The proper owner or controller’s failure was the proximate or legal cause of the harm.
Suppose a person slips and falls in a store because the floors are slippery. The individual, as a member of the public invited into the store, is an invitee. To establish that the owner or operator of the store is responsible for the individual’s injury, the individual must show that:
- The owner or operator knew or should have known the floor was slippery.
- Therefore, the slippery floor posed an unreasonable risk of harm.
- The owner or operator did not take care to clean up the slippery floors or put up a sign warning that the floors were slippery.
- But for the owner or operator’s actions, the victim would not have slipped, fallen, and sustained an injury.
Premises Liability To Licensee
A licensee is a person who enters premises with the owner or operator’s permission but not for a business purpose. For example, guests and invited solicitors are licensees. An owner or operator of land is liable to a licensee when:
- There was a danger on the property that carried an unreasonable risk of harm.
- The owner or operator knew about the danger.
- The owner or operator did not take ordinary care to make the property safe and did not warn the licensee of the danger.
Suppose an individual is a guest of a party held in a private residence. The individual slips and falls on the dance floor, causing injuries. In that case, the individual could sue the host of the party who was responsible for the premises.
Premises Liability: Trespassers
A trespasser is a person who enters land without legal rights. Generally, property owners and operators do not have a duty to inspect the property for trespassers, make the property safe for trespassers, or warn trespassers about dangers on the property. However, a property owner and operator may not intentionally and willfully injure a trespasser.
Generally, property owners and operators are unaware of trespassers’ presence. However, when an owner or operator knows that a trespasser is on their property, the owner or operator must exercise reasonable care to protect the trespasser from harm.
Texas law limits the liability of landowners, lessees, and occupants to trespassers in Section 75.007 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. The law provides that an owner, lessee, or occupant of a property owes no duty of care to a trespasser and is not responsible for any injuries the trespasser suffers on the property.
Suppose a person decides to go hiking on private property without permission to be there, trips, falls, and breaks bones. The trespasser may have costly medical bills and may have to take time away from work, losing wages. In that case, the property owner may not be liable to the trespasser because the owner owed the trespasser no duty of care to maintain safe trails on the property. As the property was private land, the trespasser had no legal right to hike on it.
Exception For Willful And Wanton Actions And Gross Negligence
Although property owners, lessees, and occupants do not owe trespassers a general duty of care, they cannot injure trespassers through willful and wanton actions or gross negligence. Property owners, lessees, and occupants are liable for injuring a trespasser by willful and wanton actions or gross negligence. Willful and wanton conduct constitutes intent to harm trespassers or reckless disregard for their safety.
Texas law provides that a property owner, lessee, or occupant may be liable to a trespasser if the owner, lessee, or occupant was grossly negligent, injuring the trespasser. Gross negligence goes beyond a mere mistake to an extremely reckless disregard for safety. In Texas, gross negligence consists of the four elements of ordinary negligence plus two additional elements. Thus, to prove that establish that a property owner, lessee, or occupant was grossly negligent and thus liable for a trespasser’s injury, the trespasser must prove the four elements of negligence:
- The property owner, lessee, or occupant owed the trespasser a duty of care.
- The property owner, lessee, or occupant breached their duty of care to the trespasser.
- The trespasser suffered an actual injury.
- The breach of duty was the cause of the harm.
Additionally, the trespasser must prove the two additional elements of gross negligence: objective and subjective tests.
- The objective test consists of showing that the defendant’s action constituted an extreme risk. The risk is extreme when an action or omission has a high probability and extent of harm.
- The subjective test consists of showing that the defendant was aware of the risk and acted with conscious disregard for the safety of others.
Gross Negligence Standard Of Proof
In Texas, an individual must establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning an individual must show that negligence occurred more likely than not. For gross negligence cases, however, the standard of proof is more stringent. Individuals must prove gross negligence with clear and convincing evidence. Thus, gross negligence requires that a jury or court firmly believe that the allegations are correct. Additionally, the jury must agree unanimously that the property owner, lessee, or occupant was grossly negligent and must agree on the number of damages.
Furthermore, in gross negligent cases, juries must examine:
- The character of the wrong
- The type of conduct, including whether it involved dishonesty or an unprovoked attack
- Whether the trespasser was also at fault for the accident
- The relationship between the trespasser and the property owner, lessee, or occupant
- Whether the property owner, lessee, or occupant demonstrated remorse
- Whether the conduct offends the public’s notion of justice
- The trespasser’s net worth.
Gross negligent cases can be complex. However, there are benefits to pursuing a gross negligence case after sustaining injuries on private property. Specifically, when an individual successfully proves a gross negligence case, the individual is entitled to compensatory and exemplary compensation or damages. Compensatory damages make an individual whole for the harm the individual suffered. For instance, compensatory damages could cover medical bills. Exemplary damages, in contrast, punish a wrongdoer. Thus, when an individual succeeds with a gross negligence case, the individual may receive compensation and additional money from the property owner, lessee, or occupant that harmed the individual. As gross negligence constitutes severe disregard for others, the compensation for victims of gross negligence can be large.
Slip And Falls
Slips and falls are a major type of premises liability case. When an individual enters an establishment, the owner or operator has a duty to keep the premises safe. Unfortunately, some owners and operators fail to uphold their duty of care to customers, and customers can suffer severe injuries as a result.
In many slip and fall cases, victims are invitees owed a high level of care. Texas’ premises liability law protects the right of victims of slip and fall accidents that take place at stores and restaurants.
Proving A Slip And Fall Case
In premises liability cases, victims of slip and fall accidents must establish the following elements to hold an individual liable:
- The individual knew or should have known the floors were dangerously slippery.
- The danger of slippery floors created an unreasonable risk of property damage, severe bodily injury, or death to the victim.
- The individual failed to clean up the floors or post a warning sign.
- Their failure was the proximate or legal cause of the harm. But for the individual’s actions, the slip and fall accident would not have occurred.
Premises Liability When Children Sustain Injuries On The Property
Texas law treats instances when children trespass on property differently than adults trespassing. Whereas adults should understand why they should not go on private property, children often lack this understanding. Additionally, features on private property may attract children to climb and play on the property, and children may suffer injuries as a result.
Attractive Nuisance Doctrine
In Texas, the attractive nuisance doctrine is a common law doctrine that holds property owners liable for injuries to children that occurred on their land. In Texas, property owners owe children a duty of care because children may not be able to detect dangerous items or places on properties.
For instance, suppose a property owner begins to build a house on the property and then takes a hiatus from the project, leaving construction equipment and scaffolding on the property where children can see it from the road. Rather than recognizing the dangers the equipment and scaffolding pose, children may see it as a playground. As a result, a child playing on the scaffolding falls and sustains severe injuries. In that case, the property owner can be liable.
Thus, the attractive nuisance doctrine provides that adults must keep the property safe to prevent children from sustaining injuries on the property and must keep the property free of dangerous objects on which children may want to play.
An individual must establish the following elements to hold a landowner liable under the attractive nuisance doctrine:
- The owner knew or had reason to know that children would likely enter the property.
- Children would not be able to understand the risk of trespassing on the property.
- The owner failed to maintain the environment and keep it safe from hazards.
- The owner knew or should have known that there was something highly dangerous on the property.
- The cost of maintaining the property was small compared to the risk of danger to children.
Codifying attractive nuisance doctrine, Section 75.007 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code states that owners, lessees, and occupants of property may be liable when children trespass on the property. Owners, lessees, and occupants can incur liability when there is a dangerous artificial condition, such as construction equipment, on the property, which injures a child. An individual must establish the following elements to hold an individual legally responsible for an injury to a child from an artificial condition on the property:
- The owner, lessee, or occupant knew or reasonably should have known that children were likely to trespass on the property.
- The owner, lessee, or occupant knew or reasonably should have known that the artificial condition was on the property.
- The owner, lessee, or occupant knew or should have known that the artificial condition could severely harm or kill children.
- The child did not know the risk of trespassing and interacting with the artificial condition.
- Maintaining the artificial condition to prevent danger was less burdensome than the risk of danger to the child.
- The owner, lessee, or occupant did not take reasonable care to prevent danger or protect the child.
Premises Liability For Recreation
Texas law protects landowners, lessees, occupants, and government entities from liability when people use agricultural and non-agricultural land for recreation. Indeed, Section 75.001 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code provides that landowners, lessees, and occupants of land that people use for recreation do not have to ensure the land is safe and are not responsible when people cause accidents on the land.
Premises Liability For Recreation On Agricultural Lands
Texas law limits the liability of agricultural landowners when people sustain injuries on their lands. Texas defines agricultural lands as land used for:
- Growing plants to eat, use for fibers, or cultivate ornamental plants
- Forestry and tree farming
- Raising farm or domestic animals.
Texas law states that agricultural landowners owe no duty of care to trespassers. Therefore, when a trespasser sustains injuries on agricultural land in Texas, the landowner is generally not liable to the trespasser. Landowners, lessees, and other land occupants are only liable to trespassers in wanton and willful gross negligence. Wanton and willful gross negligence requires the landowner, lessee, or occupant to be aware that their conduct will harm another.
Suppose a landowner sets booby traps for trespassers on agricultural land. If a trespasser sustains injuries from a booby trap, the trespasser may be able to sue the landowner. When the landowner set the booby traps, the landowner knew that the booby traps would harm a person and demonstrated a reckless disregard for others’ safety.
Even when an owner, lessee, or occupant of agricultural land gives someone permission to be on the land for recreation, they may not be liable for the person’s injuries. Recreation includes:
- Pleasure driving, including off-road driver
- Nature study
- Cave exploration
- Water sports
- Disc golf
- Dog walking
- Radio control flying
- Rock climbing
- Other outdoor activities.
According to Texas law, when an owner, lessee, or occupant of agricultural property permits another person to be on the agricultural property or invites another person onto the property, they do not have to guarantee that the property is safe for recreation. Additionally, the owner, lessee, or occupant does not owe the person a duty of care. Texas law states that the owner, lessee, or occupant does not owe the person any greater degree of care than a trespasser—essentially no degree of care. When the person sustains injuries on the property, the owner, lessee, or occupant is not responsible and does not incur liability. Ultimately, even when a person enters agricultural land with permission, the person does this at their own risk.
Limits On Damages
Property owners may have liability insurance coverage. However, when liability insurance coverage exceeds $1,000,000, Texas law imposes limits on monetary damages. Specifically, when an act or omission by a landowner, lessee, or occupant injures a recreationalist or their property on agricultural land, Texas law caps the number of monetary damages that the recreationalist may recover from the landowner, lessee, or occupant.
- Each person may receive no more than $500,000 for the death or bodily injury.
- Each person may receive no more than $100,000 for each occurrence of property damage.
- A property owner, lessee, or occupant may be liable for no more than $1,000,000.
Premises Liability For Recreation On Non-Agricultural Lands
Texas law also limits the liability of owners, lessees, and occupants of non-agricultural lands when people engage in recreation on their lands. An owner, lessee, or occupant who invites or allows someone onto their non-agricultural land to engage in recreational activities does not have to ensure that the land is safe for recreational activities and owes the recreationalist no duty of care. Additionally, when an individual enters the property with permission and causes an injury to people or property, the owner, lessee, or occupant who gave the person permission to be on the property is not responsible for the injury and does not incur liability.
Gross Negligence, Malicious Intent, And Bad Faith Exception
An exception to the rule that owners, lessees, and occupants are not liable to people they allow on agricultural or non-agricultural lands for recreation exists. If an owner, lessee, or occupant allows a person to enter the land in bad faith, has malicious intent, or is grossly negligent, then they may be responsible for injuries sustained on the land and can incur liability. Specifically, when an individual invites a person onto agricultural property knowing that the property is dangerous, the individual may be responsible when the visitor gets injured.
Suppose that an agricultural landowner knows that an area of their land has dangerous rock falls. But despite this knowledge, the landowner invites someone to hike and rock climb, hoping that falling rocks will harm the visitor. In that case, the landowner may be liable to the visitor because the landowner invited the visitor onto the land in bad faith.
Premises Liability For Recreation On Government Property
Texas law limits the liability of governmental units that own, operate, or maintain property that people use for recreation. Texas law defines governmental units in Section 100.001 of the Civil Practices and Remedies Code as:
- The state of Texas, including:
- Texas boards
- Political subdivisions of Texas, including:
- School Districts
- Junior college districts
- Levee improvement districts
- Drainage districts
- Irrigation districts
- Water control and improvement districts
- Water control and preservation districts
- Conservation districts
- Communication districts
- Public health districts
- River authorities
- Emergency service organizations
- Other Texas institutions, agencies, and organs of government with authority from the Constitution of Texas or Texas laws.
When a person enters a government-owned property for recreation and injuries people or property, the government entity that owns, operates, or maintains the property is not responsible. Specifically, the statute provides that the government unit owes the recreationist no greater duty of care than that owed to a trespasser.
For government property, recreation includes outdoor activities such as hunting and hiking but also includes:
- Soap box derby use
When a governmental unit owns, operates, or maintains property where recreational activities occur, the governmental unit must post a clearly readable warning sign in an easily visible location.
The sign must state: “TEXAS LAW (CHAPTER 75, CIVIL PRACTICE AND REMEDIES CODE) LIMITS THE LIABILITY OF A GOVERNMENTAL UNIT FOR DAMAGES ARISING DIRECTLY FROM HOCKEY, IN-LINE HOCKEY, SKATING, IN-LINE SKATING, ROLLER-SKATING, SKATEBOARDING, ROLLER-BLADING, PAINTBALL USE, OR SOAP BOX DERBY USE ON PREMISES THAT THE GOVERNMENTAL UNIT OWNS, OPERATES, OR MAINTAINS FOR THAT PURPOSE.”
Premises Liability For Electric Companies
Section 75.0022 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code limits the liability of electric utilities that enter into written contracts with the government to allow the public to use the land for recreation, exercise, relaxation, travel, or pleasure. These contracts may require government entities to provide liability insurance to electric companies.
What Is An Electric Utility In Texas?
Texas law defines an electric utility as a person or river authority that owns or operates for compensation in the Texas equipment or facilities to produce, generate, transmit, distribute, sell, or furnish electricity in Texas. Electric utilities include trustees, receivers of electric utilities, and some recreational vehicle park owners. Additionally, electric utilities may be owners, easement holders, occupants, or lessees of land.
When an electric utility agrees with the government to allow the public to use electric utility land, the following applies to the electric utility.
- The electric utility does not have to guarantee that the land is safe for public recreation.
- When a person enters the land for relaxation, exercise, recreation, travel, or pleasure, the electric utility owes the person no greater duty of care than that owed a trespasser—essentially no duty of care.
- When a person uses the land for recreation, exercise, relaxation, travel, or please, the electric utility is not liable for injuries or property damages the person sustains during these activities. Additionally, the electric utility is not responsible when a third person injures a person on the premises.
Willful Or Wanton Acts And Gross Negligence
Although Texas law shields electric companies from liability in some instances, electric utilities may be liable for gross negligence. Gross negligence is the deliberate disregard for others’ safety when an electric utility knows or has reason to know that people will sustain severe harm on the premises. Gross negligence goes beyond ordinary negligence—the failure to exercise reasonable care.
Recreation, Exercise, Relaxation, Travel, And Pleasure
Electric companies are only exempt from liability to people who use electric utility land for specific purposes. These purposes are recreation, exercise, relaxation, travel, and pleasure. For instance, an electric company could be liable to an individual who enters the electric-utility-controlled property to work on the electric lines even if the electric company has a contract with the government allowing the public to enjoy the property.
The doctrine of attractive nuisance holds property owners liable for failing to keep the property safe for children when there are dangerous objects on the property on which children may wish to play or explore. However, Section 75.0022 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code states that attractive nuisance does not apply to electric utilities that contract with the government to allow the public to enjoy their lands. Thus, when electric companies allow the public to enjoy their lands, they may not be liable when children sustain injuries playing on the lands.
Suppose a child attempts to play on an electrical line and sustains injuries in a space the electric company allowed for public use. In that case, the electric company may not be liable unless the electric company was grossly negligent.
Premises Liability For Community Gardens
Section 75.0025 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code limits the liability of owners, lessees, and occupants whose land is used as a community garden. A community garden is an area where community members grow produce collectively.
When an owner, lessee, or occupant allows people to enter their property to use it as a community garden:
- The owner, lessee, or occupant does not promise that the land is safe.
- Generally, the owner, lessee, or occupant is not liable for harm to people and property occurring on the property, including liability for serious bodily injuries and deaths of people engaging in community gardening, property damage caused by people gardening, and harm by a third party.
People who allow their property to be used for community gardens are not subject to attractive nuisance claims like electric utilities. Therefore, even if children see the garden as an attractive play area, they are not liable to children injured on community garden property under the attractive nuisance doctrine. In this way, Texas law protects people who share their land for community gardening from liability.
Willful Or Wanton Acts And Gross Negligence
Although the law protects people who share their property for community gardening from some liability, property owners, lessees, and occupants can nevertheless incur liability for gross negligence. Gross negligence goes beyond ordinary negligence. Gross negligence is the extreme disregard for the safety of others when there is foreseeable harm.
Suppose the property owner allows the community to use land containing toxic for a garden. Community members consume contaminated food from the garden, resulting in severe illnesses requiring medical treatment. As the property owner could foresee that the toxic waste would make people sick, the property owner may be liable for gross negligence.
Warning Signs On Community Gardens
Texas law requires that community gardens have warning signs. The signs must read, “TEXAS LAW (CHAPTER 75, CIVIL PRACTICE AND REMEDIES CODE) LIMITS THE LIABILITY OF THE LANDOWNER, LESSEE, OR OCCUPANT FOR DAMAGES ARISING FROM THE USE OF THIS PROPERTY AS A COMMUNITY GARDEN.”
Liability Limited For Actions Of Firefighter, Federal Law Enforcement Officer, Or Peace Officer
Section 75.006 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code protects landowners, lessees, and occupants in instances when officials such as firefighters, federal law enforcement officers, and police officers enter the property and cause damages.
- When a firefighter or police officer enters the property without the owner’s permission, landowners are not liable for harm to livestock.
- When a federal officer or police officer enters agricultural land or causes another person to trespass on agricultural land without the owner’s permission, property owners, lessees, and occupants are not liable for damages to people and property that occur on the land.
- When a federal officer or police officer causes another person to enter agricultural land without the owner’s permission, property owners, lessees, and occupants are not liable for resultant harms to people and property that occur on the land.
- However, Landowners, lessees, and occupants remain liable for their own acts of gross negligence.
Statute Of Limitations
The statute of limitations is the time period within which an individual must bring a lawsuit. After the statute of limitations elapses, an individual may not be able to sue a property owner, lessee, or occupant for liability for an accident occurring on the property.
In Section 16.003 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Texas law establishes the statute of limitations for premises liability cases. The statute of limitations for premises liability cases is two years. Therefore, an individual has two years from the day the accident took place to file a premises liability lawsuit against the person responsible for the property.
Suppose an individual is injured in an accident on private property. In that case, the statute of limitations begins to run on the day of the accident.
Premises Liability Deaths
When a person dies because of an accident that occurred on someone’s property, an individual has two years after the date of death to bring a premises liability lawsuit. Thus, the statute of limitations period for accidents resulting in deaths is different than the statute of limitations period for accidents resulting in injuries. Whereas the statute of limitations period for premises liability injuries begins to run on the day of the accident, the statute of limitations period for premises liability deaths begins to run on the day of the death, which could be later than the day of the accident.
Suppose an individual suffers an accident on private property. One week later, the individual passes away from injuries sustained in the accident. In that case, the statute of limitations begins to run one week after the accident when the victim passes away. Therefore, an individual wishing to bring a wrongful death case against the person responsible for the property where the accident occurred has two years after the victim’s death to sue the person responsible.
Premises Liability For Construction Contractors
Chapter 95 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code limits property owners’ liability for contractors who do construction work, repairs, or renovations. Indeed, according to Texas law, property owners may only be liable for injuries, deaths, and property damage of contractors, subcontractors, or the employees of contractors or subcontractors who do construction work, repairs, or renovations on their property in specific instances. For a property owner to be liable to a contractor, subcontractor, or employee of a contractor or subcontractor under a premises liability law, the victim must establish two elements.
- First, the property owner must have exerted some control over the work. The control must go beyond the right to order the work, stop the work, and inspect the results.
- Second, the property owner must have known about a condition on the property, which could cause property damage, injury, and death, yet neglected to warn the victim of the danger.
Workers Compensation Benefits
When a contractor, subcontractor, or worker holds a property owner liable for their injury and the court awards them monetary damages, the judge must consider any workers’ compensation benefits the victim has received. The judge must subtract the value of the workers’ compensation benefits from the damages awarded. Thus, if a worker already received workers’ compensation benefits for the accident, the worker will be entitled to a lesser amount of monetary damages from the property owner.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Can Be Sued For Premises Liability?
In Texas, a property owner can be liable for incidents occurring on their property. However, premises liability extends beyond owners. Premises liability applies to people in control of the property. Indeed, in addition to owners, lessees and occupants may be liable. Generally, a person who has control over the property may be held liable.
Can You Sue A Business Owner For A Slip And Fall Accident?
Victims of slip and fall accidents may sue business owners under premise liability law. Business owners and operators have a duty to keep their businesses safe for customers and provide warnings of dangerous conditions. When a business owner or operator fails to ensure that the floors are dry and fails to post warnings about wet floors, the business owner or operator has breached their duty of care to customers. Texas premises liability law protects the customer’s rights when a customer slips and falls and suffers injuries because of the business owner or operator’s lack of care. Indeed, the victim can sue the owner or operator of the store.
What Is An Attractive Nuisance?
An attractive nuisance is a dangerous object that looks appealing to children. However, children may not be aware of the dangers of playing with the object. Individuals who fail to mitigate the risks to children associated with private nuisances may face liability under Texas law.
What Is The Difference Between An Invitee, Licensee, and Trespasser?
Generally, an invitee has permission and an invitation to enter the property and enters the property for business. An example of an invitee is a patron at a store. A licensee has permission to enter the property but no invitation. Examples of licensees include guests and uninvited solicitors. Finally, a trespasser is a person with no right to be on the property.
Scope of Duty of Care: Invitees, Licensees & Trespassers
While property owners can be liable for the failure to warn of hazards on their premises, Texas remains one of the few states to determine liability based on the classification of individuals who come on the premises of another.
Invitee: Invitees visit the premises of a property owner for the mutual benefit of both parties, so this class of visitors have express permission to be on the premises. While the invitee is owed the highest duty of care, his or her status is not absolute and will be limited in scope based on the intention of the property owner. If the invitee intentionally visits an area of the property that is off limits, the visitor might lose his or her invitee status.
Licensees: This category of visitor is granted a license to come on the premises. The licensee may only remain on the premises with the landowner’s consent. The owner of the premises has a duty to warn the licensee of known hazards that the visitor does not know exists.
Trespassers: A person will be classified as a trespasser when the individual enters another’s premises without permission from the property owner. While the property owner has a duty not to cause trespassers to suffer injury, they are not required to keep the premises in reasonable safe conditions for a trespasser or to warn of known hazards. However, the owner of the premises must warn the trespasser of a dangerous condition on the premises once he learns the trespasser is present.
Important: Child trespassers are entitled to special protection. Because children might lack the ability to understand a hazard, the duty owed to child trespassers will be proportional to the capacity of the child to foresee the risk from the hazard. Child trespassers also benefit from the attractive nuisance doctrine. Since children might find certain hazards interesting but not be able to appreciate the danger based on their limited age and maturity, a property owner can be liable to a child trespasser injured by an “attractive nuisance.”
Factors in Evaluating Reasonableness of Property Owners
When a Texas court considers the foreseeability of injury to a visitor on the premises and the reasonableness of the landowner’s actions, the judge undertakes a fact intensive analysis of the following factors:
- Foreseeability of the incident
- Reasonableness of owner’s efforts to warn the party of the danger
- Purpose for the injured party’s presence on the premises
Our Fort Worth premises liability attorneys handle a broad range of premises liability claims that include:
- Slip and Fall Accident
- Swimming Pool Drownings and Injuries
- Spa Drain Entrapments
- Construction Accidents
- Injuries to Tenants in Common Areas of Apartments and Condos
- Negligent Security (Texas law only permits these claims when certain types of relationships exist between the parties.)
- Dog bites and other animal attacks
- Dangerous conditions created by property owners (gravel pits, trenches)
- Exposure to hazardous substances and chemicals
- Fire and smoke inhalation
- Injuries from falling objects or shelving in stores & other businesses
- Motor vehicle accidents on the premises of a third-party
- Other injuries on the property of another
Our Tarrant County law firm represents the victims of careless or indifferent property owners who endanger public safety. Generally, we use a contingency fee arrangement when representing clients in these cases, which means we do not get attorney fees unless we obtain a recovery for our clients. If you have been injured by an unsafe condition or accident on the premises of another individual, business, or government entity, I can review your situation and evaluate your case. The Fulgham Hampton Law Group assists clients in Tarrant County and the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Bedford, Benbrook, Colleyville, Euless, Grand Prairie, Grapevine, Halton, Hurst, Keller, Mansfield, North Richland Hills, Saginaw, Watauga, as well as other smaller incorporated and unincorporated cities throughout Tarrant County. We invite you to contact us today at (817) 697-4400 for a free case evaluation.
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The best car accident lawyers you could possibly find in fort worth! They really take care of you and make sure you get the best settlement you could hope for. You will not be disappointed if you work with these people. Super nice and they really care about your situation! Thank you!Kate H.
Excellent customer service throughout the entire process. I would highly recommend this firm. Although ALL of the interactions with the office staff were amazing, hopefully you will get the pleasure of working with Rachel. She was so helpful, kind and professional.Wendi S.
Professional, responsive and helpful. contacted Jeff's on the referral of a friend and not only has every contact with the office been prompt and courteous thanks to Trish and Rachel, Jeff has been a great help. He patiently listened to my explanations and asked me questions to better understand my need, things other attorneys have not done prior to him. He got me answers to issues I had approached me with.Obiora E.
Absolutely delivered exactly what Jeff said he would case dismissed anything you need I highly recommend them thank you again guys so much ????????????????????Jethro T.