Houston Premises Liability Lawyers
Protecting Your Rights After an Accident on Someone Else’s Property
When someone slips and falls on a puddle outside of a store or trips and falls on a stairwell that has no handrail, we may be tempted to call these events accidents. In actuality, most of these events are the result of a negligent property owner failing to address hazardous conditions on their premises.
Property owners have a duty to keep their grounds safe for visitors. When property owners fail to carefully maintain their premises, and you’re injured as a result, you have a right to seek compensation for your expenses and losses.
If you’ve suffered harm while on someone else’s property, turn to the Houston premises liability lawyers of Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC. Our legal team has decades of combined experience helping injured accident victims pursue financial recovery and accountability from those responsible for their injuries. As a full-service personal injury law firm, our focus is always on our clients’ needs. We work to get you the medical treatment you need for your injuries and the assistance you need to begin repairing your life. When you choose our firm to represent you in your premises liability claim, you pay no upfront fees. In fact, we only get paid if we recover money for you.
Contact us online or by phone at (713) 609-1930 today to learn more during a free initial consultation. Hablamos español.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability refers to a type of legal claim arising from an injury caused by an unsafe or defective condition on someone else’s property. In a premises liability case, an injured person claims that the property or business owner was negligent in their ownership and maintenance of the premises and failed to use reasonable care to keep the premises free of dangerous or hazardous conditions.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Premises Liability Claim?
Most importantly, you must establish that the accident and your injuries were caused by the property or business owner’s negligence in failing to reasonably maintain their premises. To do this, you must show that the property or business knew of the defective or hazardous condition, either because they created that condition or because they had already discovered or been told about it.
For example, a grocery store that installs a leaky frozen foods case creates the hazardous condition of puddles of water that customers may slip on. Or the grocery store may learn of a puddle of liquid when it is discovered by an employee or reported by a customer.
You can also prove premises liability by showing that the property or business owner reasonably should have known about the defective or hazardous condition that injured you. You can prove this by showing that the condition existed long enough that a property owner or operator exercising reasonable diligence would have discovered the condition before you were injured. For example, the grocery store in the above example should be conducting regular maintenance checks for hazardous conditions.
Finally, you must prove that the property or business owner failed to take reasonable steps to remedy the condition or warn you of the existence of the condition. You will also need to prove that you were lawfully on the property when the incident occurred. If you were trespassing, meaning you were not legally allowed to be there, you could have a difficult if not impossible time proving the property owner’s liability.
What Is the Difference Between an Invitee & a Licensee?
Texas law designates different types of property visitors based on their reason for visiting the property.
There are three main types of property visitors:
While most people know what it means to trespass, fewer know what it means to be an “invitee” vs. a “licensee.”
The difference between an invitee and a licensee is fairly straightforward: an invitee is someone who visits a property for business purposes, whereas a licensee is someone who visits a property for social purposes or for another reason that is not related to business or for the benefit of the property owner. For example, a customer in a grocery store is an invitee. A guest at someone’s home or a meter reader would be an example of a licensee.
The reason the law distinguishes different types of visitors is because property owners owe different duties of care to invitees, licensees, and trespassers. In Texas, property owners must remedy dangerous conditions by removing, repairing, or warning of them and conduct routine property maintenance to identify any potential hazards. However, this duty of care only applies to invitees. For licensees, the standard is lower. Property owners must only remedy dangerous property conditions and warn of potential hazards when it comes to protecting licensees.
For trespassers, the duty of care is even lower. The only duty of care Texas property owners owe to trespassers is to refrain from causing intentional injury or harm. The only exception to this is when the trespasser is a minor (someone under the age of 18) who is drawn to the property due to an “attractive nuisance.”
What Is an Attractive Nuisance?
Texas’s “attractive nuisance” law is a law that assumes minors (anyone under the age of 18) cannot reasonably identify dangerous conditions and hazards. As such, property owners have a responsibility to ensure that such dangerous conditions do not put children and young teens at risk. This responsibility holds even when the minor does not have the property owner’s permission to be on the premises.
Certain features are generally considered to be “attractive nuisances.” These include:
- Swimming pools
- Playground equipment
- Construction sites
Because a young child cannot understand the risks of certain dangerous features, it is the property owner’s responsibility to make sure the child cannot access these features. For example, property owners must install appropriate barriers around swimming pools, including locked gates, to ensure that children do not fall or jump in unsupervised.
If a property owner failed to follow attractive nuisance laws, leading to your child being injured or killed, we can help. At Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, we provide compassionate, personalized legal representation and aggressively fight for the rights of children, parents, and families.
How Can a Premises Liability Attorney Help?
When you’ve been hurt on another person’s or business’s property, a Houston premises liability attorney from Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC can help you by:
- Meeting with you in a free consultation to discuss the details of your case and advise you on your legal right to compensation
- Investigating the facts and circumstances of the incident to recover all available evidence, including accident/incident reports, scene photos, witness statements, or surveillance footage
- Reviewing the evidence, in collaboration with experts in fields such as accident reconstruction, engineering, or security, as necessary to determine how the incident occurred and to identify the responsible parties
- Helping you find the right medical treatment for your recovery, along with any other necessary assistance to help mitigate the impact your injuries have on your life
- Confirming all available sources of compensation, such as insurance coverages held by the property or business owner and filing claims on your behalf
- Aggressively negotiating with the insurance company representatives for a fair and full settlement
- Fully preparing your case to go to trial, if it becomes necessary, to ensure that the other side understands the strength of your claim
At Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, we understand how much of a burden an injury can place on you. That’s why, with our firm, you never owe any upfront fees for our advice or our services. We only get paid if and when we win compensation in your case.
Common Types of Premises Liability Cases We Handle
At Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, we can help you pursue a legal claim for compensation if you have been injured in accidents such as:
- Slip and Fall Accidents: We can help you hold property and business owners accountable for injuries and losses when they fail to remedy slipping or tripping hazards they knew or reasonably should have known about.
- Dog Bites: Our firm can help you file claims with the homeowners’ or renters’ insurance of a dog owner if a dangerous or vicious dog bites or attacks you.
- Negligent Security: We can help you pursue a legal claim when a property or business owner’s negligent security facilitated criminal or violent activity or behavior that led to injuries.
- Swimming Pool Accidents: We can help you seek fair compensation for injuries and losses caused by swimming pool accidents, including slip and fall accidents and drowning.
- Fires on Dangerous Property: Fires may start due to dangerous or hazardous conditions on someone’s property, or a fire may spread from someone else’s property to yours. If you were hurt in a fire that was caused by someone else’s negligence, we can help you pursue financial compensation for your losses.
We have the experience, resources, and knowledge to effectively investigate and pursue all types of premises liability claims. Contact Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC today to learn more.
Demanding Full Compensation for Your Injuries
When you’ve been injured by a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses, such as:
- Costs of medical recovery and long-term treatment, including ER and hospital bills, surgeries or other medical procedures, prescription pain medication, physical and occupational rehab, mental health therapy, home health care services, and other out-of-pocket costs, like transportation to appointments
- Lost wages or earning potential when you miss time from work while recovering from injuries, or if your injuries leave you with disabilities that prevent you from returning to full-time work or earning the same level of income as you did pre-injury
- Lost quality of life, due, for example, to disabilities that interfere with daily living or participation in activities, or physical scars or disfigurement that cause you embarrassment and humiliation
- Pain and suffering, or the emotional distress and physical anguish caused by your injuries
Our team is dedicated to maximizing your recovery and securing the full amount you are owed for all your economic and non-economic damages.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt on Someone Else’s Property
There are certain steps you can take immediately after an accident, as well as in the days and weeks that follow, to protect yourself, your rights, and your future recovery.
If you were hurt due to unsafe conditions on someone else’s property, we recommend that you:
- Report the incident to the property owner or business. If your injury takes place at a commercial establishment like a store or restaurant, a manager or employee may fill out an accident or incident report for the business or for its insurance company. Request a copy of this report. If you are asked to give a statement for an accident or incident report, stick to the facts as you remember them.
- Get treatment immediately. See a doctor at the emergency room or urgent care clinic or visit your own primary care physician. You should get examined for all the injuries you may have suffered in the accident or incident. Be sure to attend all follow-up appointments and follow your doctor’s orders.
- Save all documentation and potential evidence. Keep copies of all your medical records, receipts, communication from the insurance company, contact information for any witnesses to your accident, and the clothes and shoes that you were wearing at the time, if they may contain evidence such as liquid residue from a slippery spot on the floor.
- Stay off social media. Any posts, comments, or replies on social media about your accident, your injuries, how you are feeling, and what activities you are doing can be used against you by the insurance companies and the attorneys on the other side.
- Contact an attorney: As soon as possible, speak with a Houston premises liability lawyer from Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC to discuss your legal right to pursue compensation. We offer completely free consultations with no obligation for you.
If you have been injured on someone else’s property, the statute of limitations in Texas generally gives you two years from the date of the accident to file a premises liability lawsuit. Minor children have two years after turning 18 to file suit.
Filing a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired means the court can permanently dismiss your case without even considering the merits of your claim. If the court dismisses your claim, you lose the right to pursue financial compensation for your injuries and losses.
Don’t wait to get the legal advice you need. Contact Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC today for a free consultation with our experienced premises liability attorneys. We will discuss your legal rights, answer your questions, and outline your next steps in pursuing your legal claim. You owe no upfront fees to talk to us about your case or to retain our legal representation. We get paid only if and when we win compensation for you.
Reach us online or by phone at (713) 609-1930.
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