Houston Premises Liability Lawyer
Brian White is an experienced and determined advocate who has worked with many slip and fall victims to establish liability for their injury and recover just and fair compensation. Often, a visitor to a property or a tenant in a commercial building who has suffered an injury isn’t aware of their rights. We are effective advocates for injured clients and work hard to establish liability for your injury. Often it takes a detailed investigation that includes the use of experts to establish a property owner’s negligence in not maintaining the premises. Just as it is good common sense to consult a physician regarding your injuries, it is also wise to consult an experienced slip and fall lawyer to understand all of your rights to recover damages under Texas State law.
Types of Premises Liability Cases Brian White Handles
Slip and Fall
Serious injuries often result when people slip on an unexpectedly slick surface and fall. Perhaps a roof leak results in a wet floor, an employee mops a floor and leaves no warning of the wet surface, oil from leaking equipment causes slick footing, or someone dropped something on the floor and store employees failed to clean it up in a timely fashion.
Apartment buildings, offices, and hotels must have reasonable safety measures to ensure only those who belong on the premises can access the property. People victimized by criminals who gained illegal entry to a building with poor security have a right to demand compensation from property owners who were negligent in taking adequate precautions to ensure the safety of those who occupy the building.
Commercial building and apartment owners have an obligation to maintain proper security to protect their tenants and visitors. This often includes adequate parking lot lighting, security gates, cameras and other safety features. If you’ve been injured in a crime or other accident that could be the result of inadequate security precautions it’s vital you discuss the details of your injury with an experienced premise liability attorney to protect your rights to recover damages.
Trip and Fall
Like slip and fall accidents, trip and fall accidents can occur when property owners or employees are negligent in ensuring the flooring conditions are safe. An extension cord stretched across a walkway can easily create a trip hazard. Poorly maintained flooring may crack or break, creating a dangerous situation for those who walk on it. Inadequate lighting may make it difficult to see trip hazards, as well.
Falls are the 3rd leading preventable fatality in America. We mean it when we say that these deaths are completely preventable. If you were recently injured by a preventable fall, contact Houston premise liability lawyer, Brian White now.
Swimming Pool Accidents
An unsupervised pool can pose a danger of drowning when someone, often a small child, can wander into the pool and fall in. Failure to secure the pool can result in a child falling into the water. Serious injury from almost drowning can occur when the brain has no oxygen for even a brief time.
What Are Property Owners in Houston Responsible For?
The law requires property owners to take reasonable care to ensure visitors to their properties are safe from injuries. A property owner or his or her employees must act to correct any dangerous condition in a reasonable period. In some cases, the property owner may not reasonably be expected to know about a problem or have time to correct it. If the person in front of you as you walk down an aisle spills their water bottle and you sli
p and fall, no reasonable property owner could have known about the problem or fixed it before your accident. However, if a leaking roof creates a wet floor condition that goes unaddressed for an hour, the property owner may be negligent in not taking steps to make the floor safe or at least warn visitors of the unsafe conditions.
Owners of office buildings, apartment complexes, and hotels have an obligation to take reasonable security measures. Doors that fail to close or whose locks malfunction create an opportunity for criminals to enter a building and do harm to those who occupy the premises. In many cases, it is reasonable to have someone stationed near the front door to ensure the people entering are supposed to be there. Proper lighting in the parking lot helps ensure the safety of guests entering or leaving the area after dark.
Like many municipalities, Houston has ordinances requiring owners of swimming pools to secure the pool from accidental entry. Houston requires a barrier at least four feet in height with a self-closing and locking gate to prevent accidental drowning. A property owner who fails to secure a pool is responsible for any injuries incurred.
Who Could Be Liable for My Premise Liability Case?
Depending on the exact circumstances of a premises liability accident, liability for the resulting damages may fall to one or more defendants. The jury hearing the case will assess the available evidence, witness statements, and testimony from all parties involved to determine liability for the claimed damages. It is possible for several parties to face liability for a premises liability claim.
- If a premises liability accident occurs purely due to the failure of the property owner to address a known safety issue on the property, the property owner will likely incur sole liability for the resulting damages.
- If a property owner installed a new structure on the property or completed a renovation with defective or dangerous building materials, the property owner may not absorb liability for a resulting injury if he or she did not know of the issue with the materials beforehand. The contractor who knowingly performed the work using dangerous materials could be liable, or the product manufacturer who sold the defective materials could face liability for a product liability lawsuit.
- A third party may absorb liability if he or she contributed to a premises liability accident in any way. For example, the visitor to the property uses the restroom and accidentally breaks the threshold at the doorway, notices this, but does not inform the property owner. The next visitor who needs to use the restroom trips on the broken threshold and suffers a head injury from hitting the sink. In this scenario, the injury occurred due to the first guest’s negligence and not the property owner’s, so the first guest would absorb liability for the resulting damages.
- It is also possible for the victim in a premises liability lawsuit to absorb partial liability. In states that follow comparative negligence laws like Texas, a plaintiff partially at fault for a claimed incident loses a portion of the award equal to his or her fault percentage as long as the plaintiff’s fault does not exceed the defendant’s. For example, if a guest runs down a hall that was just mopped, but the property owner did not put up a wet floor sign, the guest could slip and fall. The jury may decide that the property owner’s liability exceeds the plaintiff’s because the owner should have marked the wet floor, but also assign a portion of liability to the plaintiff because he or she should not have been running indoors at the time.
There are many possible injuries that can occur from a premises liability accident, and determining fault is not always easy. A premises liability attorney is a fantastic resource for anyone who recently suffered a premises liability injury in the Houston area.
What to Do After You Are Injured on Someone Else’s Property
An accident may traumatize and confuse you but taking the proper steps immediately after an injury can ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Let a store employee know about your accident and ask him or her to call for medical help. If possible, take photos of the accident area, including the conditions that caused your accident. Store employees can quickly clear spills and trip hazards after an accident, so photographic evidence of the problem can help establish your case. If possible, get the contact information of any witnesses, as they can be difficult to track down later.
The same rules apply if you sustain an injury on private property, such as at a neighbor’s house or while visiting a relative. Preserve as much evidence as possible from the scene of the accident while you wait for medical assistance. Even if the property owner is someone you know and trust, he or she may still attempt to avoid absorbing liability for your damages by cleaning the accident site or moving important evidence, such as a broken threshold or a crumpled rug that caused a tripping accident.
After preserving as much evidence as you can from the scene of your premises liability accident, taking photographs, and contacting emergency services for medical assistance, there are still several important steps you should take to ensure your ability to file a claim for damages. You may want to file a police report depending on the nature of your premises liability accident. This is especially true if your injuries occurred due to an assault or other crime on private property. Try to obtain a police report, an incident report from a commercial security officer at the location of your accident, and/or a report from the medical personnel who respond to your injury.
Remember to never sign anything related to insurance or a settlement offer from a property owner without consulting an attorney. Accepting a settlement typically means losing your right to pursue further legal action and accepting a settlement prematurely could result in much less compensation than you could have secured otherwise.
If the property owners’ insurance company contacts you with a settlement offer, politely thank them for the prompt response and respond by saying you are consulting with your attorney before going further with the matter. Your attorney can help you determine if the insurance company’s offer is acceptable for your circumstances.
Another important first step after any premises liability accident is to preserve any and all records pertaining to your damages and expenses. This includes hospital bills, invoices for other medical treatments, and all other expenses related to your accident. These documents will be crucial in a future lawsuit and help you prove the full extent of your damages, maximizing your recovery.
Common Injuries Sustained in Premise Liability Accidents
Most premises liability lawsuits for injuries pertain to injuries sustained by accident, but some involve intentional actions. Some of the most common injuries from premises liability accidents include broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries from slips and falls.
- Slips and falls may occur from structural instability, broken staircases, damaged floors, or slippery surfaces. Slips and falls are the leading cause of accidental injury among older adults.
- Failure to clear snow and ice from a property could lead to a visitor suffering serious injuries from a fall. Slipping and hitting hard, frozen concrete or pavement can cause bone fractures, head injuries, and a host of other wounds.
- Uneven or damaged grounds may create tripping hazards. For example, if there is a hole in the yard but the property owner neglects to mow the grass for a few weeks, it could become so overgrown that a visitor does not notice the hole and steps into it and falls, suffering a broken ankle. The property owner would have had a duty to warn the visitor of the known hazard.
- Internal injuries are also possible in a variety of circumstances. Falls from significant heights or down flights of steps can easily cause internal organ damage, possibly even hemorrhaging that can reach life-threatening levels very quickly.
- When a premises liability accident victim suffers a spinal cord injury or traumatic brain injury there is a high risk of permanent damage or disability. An individual who suffers such a severe injury could secure substantial compensation from a premises liability claim to cover his or her future medical expenses and the costs of necessary ongoing care.
- Attractive nuisances may also cause a number of injuries. An “attractive nuisance” is any structure on a property that a passing child may find too irresistible to avoid. Some of the most common examples of attractive nuisances include unfenced swimming pools, jungle gyms or playsets, fountains, statues, or other property structures children may find enticing. If the property owner has any foreseeable reason to believe a passing child may suffer an injury from such a nuisance, the property owner should take appropriate steps to prevent such injuries.
- Drowning injuries can occur if a property owner fails to take appropriate safety precautions with his or her pool. Public pool owners have a duty to provide rules for pool use and clearly mark different depths, maintain the safety of the water in accordance with state and local laws, and provide reasonable supervision for swimmers. Pool owners, both public and private, must address foreseeable risks and do everything they can to prevent injuries to lawful visitors to their pools.
It is also vital for property owners to appreciate the distinction between lawful visitors and trespassers. Invitees and licensees with a property owner’s express or implied permission to enter the property may file premises liability claims for injuries sustained on a property, but a trespasser cannot. If a trespasser illegally enters private property and suffers an injury, the trespasser would not have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner.
Houston Premise Liability Attorneys at Brian White & Associates
Call for a free consultation today. We never charge a fee until we win your case. The longer you wait to speak to an experienced attorney, the more difficult your case becomes to complete successfully. Premise liability injuries have strict time limits under the law to file your claim. Don’t compromise your rights to recover the compensation you need and deserve by waiting to act. We will listen to your concerns and answer your questions.