Premises liability is a broad term that refers to any type of negligence on the part of a land owner or a lessee of a property. By law, it is a property owner’s duty to maintain their premises and make sure it is free of risks or hazards for anyone that comes onto the property. If a person is injured on the property, or premises, Texas law will be applied based upon whether the injured party was an “invitee”, a “licensee” or a “trespasser”.
- Invitee – this is a person who has been invited to enter and/or remain on the premises for the commercial benefit of the owner, such as a grocery store owner. The highest duty of care is owed to an invitee, and the property owner has a duty to keep them free from any risk or harm while they are on the property.
- Example: a grocery store owner must periodically inspect the premises for spills, broken products or fallen items, to be certain that there are no apparent risks or hazards that may harm an invitee.
- Licensee – this is a person who has been invited to enter and/or remain on the premises for a non-commercial benefit, such as a guest. The premises owner is responsible for any condition of risk but only if these three conditions are present:
- The injured party can establish that the owner knew, or should have known, of the condition or hazard;
- That the owner failed to exercise reasonable care to make sure the property was safe or to warn of the risk; and
- The licensee did not know of the condition or risk involved.
- Example: the property owner knew there was a bench on the property that did not appear to be broken but it was not safe to sit on, yet they failed to warn the invitee to avoid sitting on it. The guest sat on the bench, it collapsed and they were injured.
- Trespasser – this is a person who is on the property without the express or implied permission of the property owner; they are not there for the commercial or non-commercial benefit of the owner and have not been invited. While the property owner does have a duty to warn of any conditions of risk, they do not have a duty of care as long as they have no knowledge of the trespass.
- Example: while the property owner was at work, a trespasser came on the property for the purpose of stealing their tools. A rake was lying in the grass and the trespasser stepped on the tines and injured their foot. The property owner is not responsible as they did not invite the trespasser; they had no knowledge of the trespass, and thus, had no duty of care to warn of any risks or hazards.
If You Have Been Injured
For a free legal consultation with a premises liability lawyer serving Grand Prairie, call 800-863-5312
If you have been injured on someone’s property, the personal injury attorneys at Zinda Law Group have successfully represented many victims of premises liability and would like to represent you. Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free, no-fee consultation and let us help you.