Elements of Premises Liability in Dallas

Imagine that you are visiting a grocery store. You're browsing through the produce, picking up and testing fruits and vegetables when you take a step to your right. The next thing you know, you're on your back with a fractured pelvis and contusions. You hadn't known that the floor had been slippery - there was no warning sign and no way to tell with the shiny tile. Now, you have medical bills, difficulty getting around and are struggling to maintain a normal lifestyle. Now what do you do?

Unfortunately, the hypothetical scenario described above is all too real for too many. You, however, don't need to worry - there is hope for you. Premises liability describes an area of the law which holds property owners responsible for injuries that occur on their premises which they could have prevented. By working with a knowledgeable lawyer, you can work to determine fault and help to file a claim.

The primary question, however, is always: Who is at fault?

At Zinda Law Group, we know that for people who have been injured while on someone else's land, this will always be their number one concern. While we cannot give you specific answers on this page, we can help explain the primary elements of a premises liability claim, as well as what will need to be proven to determine fault. If you have been injured and need help, do not hesitate to give our firm a call today.

The three main elements of a premises liability claim include:

  • Does the defendant own the land? If not, the defendant needs to be in actual, lawful possession of it. They must also have clear intentions of controlling the land.
  • Was the plaintiff on the land legally? To have grounds to file a claim, the plaintiff must have been an "invitee" or "licensee" on the land. Trespassing and suffering an injury, makes any claim invalid.
  • Did the defendant behave negligently? The defendant must have somehow acted wrongfully or negligently in some manner for them to be considered at fault for an accident.

Going back to the original scenario, keeping in mind the above elements, a personal injury lawyer will be able to help determine fault. Addressing the first element, the claim would likely be pressed against either the owner or manager of the grocery store as they are legally owners and in possession of the land. So, first step, check. The second step is easily fulfilled as everyone is welcomed to come into a grocery store to shop and "invited." As long as it was during normal business hours, they were there legally. Second step, check.

The third, however, can be a little trickier to prove. The manager may have been considered negligent if they had known about the spill but failed to clean it up. They may also be considered negligent if they should have reasonably known about the spill, but did not and therefore did nothing about it. Determining "reasonably," however, is complex. What is reasonable? Should they have known? What if the spill happened 30 seconds before the plaintiff fell? Are they responsible then? These are the things your attorney will need to prove in your claim.

Protecting the Victims of Violent Crimes

Most people attribute premises liability to accidents, such as slip and falls, that occur to people who are visiting someone else's property, but the truth is that violent crimes may fall into this category. For example, a property owner may be held liable for having inadequate security measures (not enough patrol, no security cameras, etc.) or even by maintaining property in a way that leaves visitors vulnerable. For example, if the property leaves visitors in an area which invites violent crime, the owners could be partially responsible for the injuries that were sustained - even if the criminal is also held accountable in a criminal case.

If you have been injured on someone else's property, no matter whether it was because of a slippery or torn flooring, lack of handrails, poor construction or poor visibility, you deserve to have your rights protected. At Zinda Law Group, we are well-versed in premises liability law and we know the questions to ask. You can trust that should you choose to work with our firm that we will do everything that we can to helping you pursue maximum compensation so that you can put your life back on track once more. We will take a comprehensive approach to your case to ensure you are recovered for all damages that have been sustained, as well as future costs that could be suffered as a result. Call to learn more and speak with a Dallas Personal Injury Lawyer.