Houston Premises Liability Lawyers
Premises Liability Laws in Texas
When you visit a friend’s home, go to a retail store, or take a walk in a local park, you are entitled to a reasonable degree of safety. Texas property owners—including private homeowners, commercial landlords, and municipal entities—have a legal responsibility to conduct routine maintenance and ensure the removal of dangerous conditions or hazards. When dangerous conditions and hazards cannot be reasonably removed or repaired, property owners must warn potential visitors of their presence and the risk of injury.
If you were injured on someone else’s property, and you believe the property owner was negligent, you could have a premises liability case. At The Shellist Law Firm, PLLC, we are committed to holding liable property owners and landlords accountable. Our Houston premises liability lawyers have extensive trial experience and are prepared to aggressively advocate for maximum compensation on your behalf.
What Is Premises Liability Law?
Premises liability law refers to the responsibility landowners and building owners have to people who visit their properties.
In Texas, property owners owe varying duties of care to different types of visitors:
- Invitees: An invitee is someone who visits a property with the express or implied permission of the property owner for the mutual benefit of both parties. This typically includes commercial transactions, such as someone visiting a retail store to shop. In Texas, property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees. They are responsible for inspecting the premises and reasonably ensuring invitees are free from foreseeable risk of injury.
- Licensees: A licensee is someone who lawfully visits a property with the express or implied consent of the owner solely for their own purposes or the business of a third party, but not for the benefit of the property owner. This includes social guests, landscapers, delivery persons, etc. In Texas, property owners have a responsibility to make dangerous conditions safe, whether by fixing, removing, or warning of them.
- Trespassers: A trespasser is someone who enters a property without the knowledge, consent, or express/implied permission of the property owner. In other words, they are on the property illegally. In Texas, property owners do not have a duty to inspect properties or make properties safe for trespassers. However, they do have a legal responsibility to refrain from willfully or wantonly causing injury to trespassers or causing injury through gross negligence.
The nature of your visit to the property, as well as the circumstances of the injury-causing event, will determine whether you have a case. Don't wait to find this out, as there are legal deadlines every victim must meet. For instance, the statute of limitations for premises liability is only 2 years from the date of injury. If you don't file your claim before this statute expires, you will forfeit your right to compensation.
Is Premises Liability the Same as Negligence?
Yes and no — premises liability claims are centered around negligence, as they are a type of personal injury claim. That means you will need to prove that the property owner or manager was negligent in some way to win your case. "Premises liability" and "negligence" are not necessarily synonyms, though.
At The Shellist Law Firm, PLLC, we conduct exhaustive investigations to uncover and prove negligence. We also meticulously prepare every case for trial. While we strive to resolve these negligence claims in settlements, we understand that this isn’t always possible. Our attorneys are always ready to advocate for you in the courtroom.
How to Prove a Property Owner Is Liable for an Accident or Injury
In Harris County, Texas, there are several things you must prove to bring a claim against a negligent property owner:
- Duty of Care: First, you must prove that the property owner owed you a duty of care. This involves establishing that you were lawfully on the property as either an invitee or licensee or, if you were a trespasser, that the property owner had a legal duty to refrain from causing injury through willful/wanton conduct or gross negligence.
- Breach: Next, you must prove that the property owner breached the duty of care. This involves showing that they failed to inspect the property, failed to conduct proper maintenance, and/or failed to remove, repair, or otherwise make safe a dangerous condition or hazard that the property owner knew about or reasonably should have known about and which could cause foreseeable injury. The exact breach will vary by case, but you will need to prove that some kind of negligence was committed.
- Injury: You will also need to prove that you were actually injured and suffered measurable damages. This includes both economic and non-economic damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages/income, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, lost quality of life, and more.
- Causation: Lastly, you must prove that the property owner’s breach of the duty of care was the direct or proximate cause of your injuries. In other words, you will need to show that, had the property owner upheld the duty of care they owed to you (if they were not negligent), you would not have been injured and/or suffered damages.
If you've been injured on another's property, we strongly recommend that you contact our Houston premises liability attorneys for a free consultation. During this initial meeting, we can review the details of your case and provide personalized counsel on how to proceed.
Types of Premises Liability Cases We Handle
Our team can help you with the following and more:
- Slip, trip, and falls
- Dog bites and attacks
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Negligent security, leading to assault or injury
- Swimming pool accidents
- Attractive nuisances
- Structure collapses
- Defective conditions
- Building code and safety violations
- Unsafe stairs
- Failure to warn
- Improper signage
- Inadequate lighting
We help individuals who have been injured on all types of properties, including private homes, local businesses, large corporate premises, public spaces, parking lots, apartment complexes, restaurants, grocery stores, and more. Our team is available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and we do not collect any legal fees unless we recover compensation for you.
Car Accident $20,000,000
Illegal Sexual Recording $800,000
Dog Attack $750,000
Car Accident $300,000
Oil Rig Settlement $2,000,000.00
Practicing Law for Two DecadesHaving practiced law for 20 years, you can be confident attorney Steve Shellist can successfully handle your case.
Extensive Trial ExperienceAs a former chief prosecutor, Mr. Shellist knows how to present a compelling case in front of a jury.
Highly Personalized RepresentationAt Shellist Law, we believe every case requires tailored representation in order to achieve the best possible outcome for the client.
Legal Analyst on ABC-13Over the years, Mr. Shellist has been called on by ABC-13 News to share his expertise on many newsworthy cases.