In Texas, businesses and property owners have a duty to keep customers and other guests safe. When they fail to do so, they can be held liable for an injured victim’s medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. That being said, navigating the claims process is challenging.
Property owners and insurance companies are aggressive. You need to be ready to anticipate the legal defenses that they will raise. Here, our Brazoria County premises liability attorney highlights the three of the most common defenses in premises liability injury lawsuits in Texas.
To prove fault in a premises liability claim, you must prove that the defendant (business or property owner) violated their duty of care. In Texas, property owners and property occupiers have a responsibility to take proper safety precautions to look out for the well-being of their guests. That being said, businesses and property owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers. Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Sec. 75.002, a business/property owner is typically “not liable for any injury to a trespasser.” The only exception is if the tresspasser’s injuries occurred due to the defendant’s willful acts and/or grossly negligent conduct.
2. No Actual or Constructive Knowledge
With premises liability claims, Texas generally requires the defendant to have had actual or constructive knowledge of the property hazard at issue in the case. Put another way, a business or property owner in Houston is typically only liable for a safety defect on their premises if they knew or should have known about it. Actual knowledge is sufficient to meet this element. Though, ignorance is not necessarily a valid excuse. A business or property owner could be liable if they should have known about a safety hazard. In many premises liability claims, defendants will argue that they neither knew nor reasonably could have known about the safety hazard.
3. Comparative Fault
Texas is a comparative negligence state for premises liability claims, including for slip and fall accident cases. In effect, comparative fault is much like a partial defense for a business or property owner. They can reduce their liability by pushing some of the blame for the accident back onto the injured victims. Under comparative fault rules, each party to an accident is liable for their share of the damages. If a business can hold you 30 percent liable for your own slip and fall – perhaps by asserting that you were “running recklessly” when you slipped—they can reduce their liability by a proportional 30 percent. Being held partial at fault for your own accident will take money out of your pocket.
Contact our Brazoria County Premises Liability Attorneys Today
At the Kolodny Law Firm, our Texas premises liability lawyers know how to get results. If you or your loved one was hurt on another person’s property, we can help. Contact us today to set up a no fee, no obligation consultation. We provide premises liability representation throughout Brazoria County, including in Lake Jackson, Pearland, Richwood, West Columbia, and Angleton.