A slip and fall is a serious injury that can leave victims with severe, long-lasting pain and disability. It also often carries high financial costs and other consequences that negatively impact the victim’s quality of life.
When these accidents happen on someone else’s property, that person may be liable for the victim’s injuries. That’s where a Houston slip-and-fall attorney can help.
Property owners have a duty to keep their property safe
Property owners have a legal duty to keep their premises safe under the circumstances. This includes keeping walkways free of ice, elevators and stairs in good repair, and ensuring premises are secure from foreseeable criminal acts.
Many states’ laws have categorized people who enter another’s property into invitees, licensees and trespassers. The level of responsibility owed to each category is different and should be analyzed by an attorney before pursuing a premises liability case.
Traditionally, property owners owed more of a duty of care to invitees than to licensees or trespassers. However, New York law abolished this distinction and created a single standard of care for all property owners and possessors.(1)
Property owners have a duty to warn of hazards
People who own real property owe a duty to warn others of dangers and hazardous conditions. That includes warning signs and other means of communication.
Whether the hazard was known to the owner is not always a factor in determining liability. Rather, it is more important to determine whether the dangerous condition existed for such a long time that the owner should have discovered it during a reasonable inspection.
The law also considers whether the danger was foreseeable and how a reasonable person would have acted in a similar situation. This can be a challenging area of premises liability law, but it is important for property owners to understand.
Under most jurisdictions, property owners owe the highest level of care to invitees and licensees who enter the property with permission. In general, this means that property owners have a duty to inspect their properties and take reasonable precautions to ensure their guests are safe. (2)
Property owners have a duty to repair dangerous conditions
A property owner has a duty to repair dangerous conditions that may cause injury. This is known as premises liability.
However, the level of care a property owner must provide differs depending on who is visiting. Generally, there are three categories of visitors who are owed different levels of protection.
People who have been invited to a property for business purposes, such as customers at a store or job applicants, are owed the highest standard of care. They have a duty not only to repair and fix known hazards but also to actively inspect for and discover unknown dangers in those areas of the property to which they have access.
Unlike an invitee, a property owner does not have a duty to repair and correct hazards on their premises for people who can visit the property for social or other non-business purposes. Instead, they must only take reasonable steps to protect licensees from any known hazardous situations.
Property owners have a duty to maintain their property
Property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition and to repair any known hazards within a reasonable amount of time. When this duty is breached and someone gets injured, the owner can be held liable for the injury.
While a property owner is responsible for making their property reasonably safe, that duty is not absolute. It only requires that the owner make reasonable efforts to avoid foreseeable harm.
This standard is measured against what an ordinary person of intelligence and judgment would do under the same circumstances.
Typically, this means inspecting the property regularly for dangerous conditions, repairing them or putting up a warning so that lawful visitors don’t get hurt.
Three main categories of people may enter a property: invitees, licensees and trespassers. Depending on the visitor category, the legal duty to a property owner varies.
Find Experienced Legal Representation After a Slip and Fall Injury in Houston with The Adley Law Firm
Are you injured in a slip and fall accident in Houston? If so, you need to pick up the phone and call The Adley Law Firm. Our experienced Houston slip and fall attorneys have a long history of successfully defending the rights of accident victims.
We understand your situation and will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. We will fight to get you fair and just damages from the responsible party.
Don’t hesitate! Call The Adley Law Firm today and schedule your free consultation. Our experienced attorneys will fight for the justice you deserve!
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