The term “premises liability” refers to the responsibility that every property owner has to reduce the likelihood of injury-causing accidents on his or her property. This responsibility includes removing hazards – such as repairing broken steps and trimming back overgrown hedges – or clearly marking hazards if he or she cannot remove them within a timely manner. An example of this might be wrapping yellow caution tape around a broken pool ladder before a pool technician can come to repair it.
If a victim is accidentally injured on a property because of a hazard which the owner failed to remove or make apparent, the victim may file a premises liability claim to seek monetary compensation for his or her damages as a result of the accident.
Duty of Care
Duty of care is a key component of premises liability. It refers to the level of responsibility that a property owner has toward others on his or her property based on why they are on the property.
The group to whom is owed the highest duty of care is known as invitees. Invitees are individuals who enter a premises for their own benefit as well as the benefit of the property owner. For example, customers who enter a store to make purchases are known as invitees. Property owners are required to to protect invitees and practice reasonable caution in order to avoid accidents. They can do this by taking preventative steps to remove potentially dangerous materials from their property. Invitees who are injured on a property that is exercising good duty of care practices generally cannot hold the property owner liable.
The second group to whom is owed duty of care is licensees. Licensees are individuals who are lawfully on a piece of property for reasons other than conducting business with the owner. Examples of licensees include social guests or individuals hunting on private property with the owner’s permission. Property owners still must take steps to protect licensees from harm, but they are only required to remove hazards or notify licensees of them. Property owners also refrain from willfully engaging in any activity, due to negligence or otherwise, that could reasonably harm the licensee.
The group that is owed the lowest duty of care, trespassers, is comprised of individuals who unlawfully enter the property. The only responsibility a property owner has toward trespassers is to avoid acting in any way that would wantonly, willfully, or, through gross negligence, harm the trespasser.
Seeking Compensation through a Premises Liability Claim
Like other types of personal injury claim, you must provide evidence that your injury was caused by the property owner’s failure to protect you from harm by providing you with the duty of care you are owed. This can be through photographs, eyewitness, and your doctor’s testimony regarding your injury. In Texas, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident.
Work with an Experienced Austin Premises Liability Lawyer
When a property owner fails to make his or her property safe for visitors and clients, he or she may be held liable for any damages a victim faces as a result of an accident on the property. If you find yourself in this situation, consider working with an experienced personal injury lawyer to pursue a claim for monetary compensation to cover your damages. Contact our team of experienced Austin personal injury lawyers at Buford & Gonzalez today to set up your initial legal consultation with us.