Holding Property Owners Accountable for Hazards on Their Premises – Fort Worth Premises Liability Lawyers
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.
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 Law Firm has recovered millions of dollars for our 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.