When you suffer an injury, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the recovery process. The time it takes to heal may make you miss work and important social events and disrupt your daily routine. Serious injuries can also have financial effects, including lost wages and steep medical bills. All these challenges can take a toll on your mental and emotional health, on top of the physical pain and discomfort you may feel.
However, if you were injured because of someone else’s negligence, you may have remedies available to you that can ease some of these burdens. Private property owners have certain responsibilities to keep their guests safe, and they could be liable for injuries caused by their failure to meet those responsibilities. The best way to know if you have a case against a private property landowner for your injury is to consult with a skilled local premises liability attorney. A Houston private property premises liability lawyer could help you fight for the compensation you deserve.
Ways Private Property Owners Can Be Liable for Injuries
Not every injury a person sustains on someone else’s property can be attributed to negligence. However, state laws outline situations in which a private premises owner can be liable for damages when someone is hurt on their land.
Most private premises liability cases are based on claims of negligence. In Texas, a person may be considered negligent if they had an obligation to act (or not act) in a particularly careful way, they did not satisfy that obligation, and someone was injured because of it.
As applied to private landowners, occupiers, and lessees, negligence can occur when dangerous conditions on the property, generally called “premises defects,” are not fixed, or someone acts in a way that creates a danger, known legally as a “negligent activity.” Premises defects are unreasonably dangerous conditions that the landowner knew, or should have known, about, but they neither fixed the problem nor warned their guests that it existed. As an example, this might include someone tripping on a broken step the property owner knew was defective but did not fix and then did not warn their guest to avoid that step.
Negligent activity claims arise when perhaps the property is in a safe condition, but someone’s dangerous conduct hurts someone on the premises. In these cases, it is the negligent act itself that caused the injury.
A Houston premises liability attorney could help potential plaintiffs distinguish between these theories of negligence so that the correct rule can be applied to the circumstances of that case.
When is a Landowner Not Liable?
One of the most significant exceptions to premises liability cases in Texas applies to trespassers. Under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 75.001, landowners have limited liability for injuries sustained by people who were trespassing on their land at the time of the injury. In this context, a trespasser is generally someone who went onto private property without either express or implied permission.
Standard negligence is not a qualified claim for injured trespassers. The action must amount to “gross negligence” as defined in Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 41.001. Gross negligence involves an extreme risk of harm, usually an unnecessary risk, and the landowner knew it was a severe risk but disregarded the danger they were creating. Landowners can also be liable if they intentionally hurt a trespasser.
Knowing the difference between “negligence” and “gross negligence” is an important distinction that a Houston private property premises liability attorney could help to identify.
Consult with a Houston Private Property Premises Liability Attorney
If you were injured on someone’s private premises because of their negligence, they may owe you compensation to assist in your recovery. Because private property liability laws can be quite nuanced, you may have a better understanding of your options if you consult with a Houston private property premises lawyer. Knowing how to present the strongest facts in support of the correct laws can make all the difference in how your case turns out.
Contact our office today to get started on your case. We are ready to get to work for you.