Accident Versus Premises Liability

When an accident is not just an accident

A slip and fall in a grocery store. A trip and fall on a neighbor’s driveway. Accidents like these happen to people every day and can have devastating consequences. But could the accident have been prevented? There may be grounds for a premises liability case.

No liability = no claim

A successful premises liability claim hinges on proving that an injury on someone else’s property resulted from the property owner’s negligence. This is called establishing liability. Unless liability can be established, the law will likely view the injury as merely an unfortunate accident.

Duty of the property owner

When you enter someone else’s property, you have the right to expect you will not incur personal injury while there. If a property owner does not take reasonable measures to maintain the safety of the property, they may be held liable for any injuries that occur there. However, if a person is on the property unlawfully (i.e. is trespassing), the property owner does not owe them the duty to keep the property free of potential danger. There are occasionally some exceptions to this, such as when the trespasser is a child.

Comparative fault

Like many other states, Texas has the “comparative fault” rule. This means if a person makes a premises liability claim and was partly at fault for their own injury, their damages may be reduced by the percentage for which they were at fault. Some actions that may be taken into account when determining partial fault include:

  • Ignoring the property owner’s attempt to warn (e.g. “wet floor” signs)
  • Not using the property for its intended purpose
  • Being intoxicated on the property

If you were injured on someone else’s property and believe you may have a premises liability claim, contact an experienced San Antonio personal injury attorney.

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