Understanding Texas Premises Liability Law
If you are injured on another person’s property and that injury occurred due to unsafe conditions or negligence, the property owner can be held liable for damages under premises liability law.
Premises liability cases are some of the hardest types of cases to pursue in Texas, as they are often complex and necessitate that the plaintiff prove many elements to make a successful case. Below we’ve provided a breakdown of Texas premises liability law, including what elements must be proven to make a successful case.
A knowledgeable Texas premises liability attorney can help you better understand if you have a strong case for premises liability and help you determine how best to move forward.
Types of Premises Liability Cases in Texas
Premise liability cases encompass several different types of liabilities. It is important to identify what kind of case you’ll be making, as different elements must be proven for each.
Standard Premises Negligence Case
A standard premises negligence case typically involves a claim that a dangerous condition or circumstance involving the property caused an injury to the plaintiff. For example, tripping over an unsecured extension cord strung across a room would be grounds for a standard premises negligence case.
In order to prove liability in this type of case, the plaintiff must establish that:
- A dangerous condition was present on the property
- The condition caused an injury
- The operator of the premises created, knew, or should have known about the condition
- The operator of the premises failed to correct the condition before the injury occurred
A negligent activity case involves a claim that one of the defendant’s employees injured the plaintiff while working on the premises. For example, an employee hitting someone with a forklift would be grounds for a negligent activity case.
In order to prove liability in a negligent activity case, the plaintiff must establish that:
- The employee did not act as a prudent person would have acted under the circumstances
- This behavior resulted in an injury to the plaintiff
A negligent undertaking case involves a claim in which the property owner assumes an obligation or duty where he or she would not otherwise have one. In premises liability law, this most often involves a landlord/tenant relationship.
For example, if a tenant complains of a maintenance concern that the landlord fails to fix, and the problem results in an injury, this could be grounds for a negligent undertaking case.
In order to prove liability in a negligent undertaking case, the plaintiff must establish that:
- The premise operator assumed a duty to the plaintiff
- The plaintiff relied on the premise operator to perform that duty
- The plaintiff was injured as a result of the premise operator’s failure to perform that duty
Premises Liability Versus Negligent Activity Cases
One of the most important distinctions to draw in Texas premises liability law is the difference between a standard premises liability case and a negligent activities case. This is important because there are more elements to be proven in a standard liability case than in a negligent activities case.
The most important distinction is that a negligent act occurs when there was an ongoing activity that caused injury to a plaintiff. If the act is not ongoing at the time of the injury, the case can be considered a standard premises liability case.
For example, if an employee spills something on the floor and fails to clean it up before walking away, resulting in the later slip and fall injury of a customer, this would be considered a standard liability case, as the negligent action was not ongoing at the time of injury.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to the negligence of another, consider seeking compensation for your injuries. A skilled Texas personal injury lawyer can help you fight for justice while holding the responsible party accountable for their actions.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU, and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor. Now, he uses that knowledge to anticipate opposing counsel’s arguments and protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth. He has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.